Growing up, I wanted one thing for my birthday each year: my great grandma's Jell-O cake. Nobody knows for sure, but the story goes that my great grandma found a recipe in Better Homes and Gardens magazine that inspired her to create a vanilla cake soaked in flavored gelatin and covered in homemade whipped cream. She passed the recipe down to my grandpa, who regularly made Jell-O cake for my mom and her siblings. It is my mom's favorite cake, and she loves making it for my brother and me, as it allows her to share a piece of her childhood with us. 

Zoe Malin

Because Jell-O cake is made with strawberry and lime Jell-O, it is red and green: Christmas colors. Ironically, my family and I had never made Jell-O cake for Christmas before this year! We make a Jell-O cake to celebrate birthdays and special occasions, like graduations, but never thought to make it during the holiday its coloring represents.

Zoe Malin

Baking Jell-O cake on Christmas this year felt quite fitting, and it occurred to me that making this unique, red and green dessert any time of year may evoke the holiday spirit we all miss after the Christmas season. While Jell-O cake is a marker for a special occasion in my family, it can serve as a symbol of the joy and festivity felt during Christmas to others.

Zoe Malin

Beyond its vibrant coloring, Jell-O cake has a spongy, moist texture due to being soaked in gelatin, which makes it different from other cakes. It tastes like vanilla cake with hints of strawberry and lime, flavors that are not over-powering at all. The strawberry and lime Jell-O is an exciting, unexpected flavor combination that perfectly complements the sweetness of the homemade whipped cream. I also like to add sprinkles on top of the cake for a bit of crunch.

Zoe Malin

Making my family's Jell-O cake involves many steps, but is completely worth it. My biggest piece of advice? Be patient, and handle the cake with care! The Jell-O cake is super delicate when you construct it, but by the time it's finished, it's ready to be devoured!

Jello Cake

  • Prep Time:2 days
  • Cook Time:40 mins
  • Total Time:2 days 40 mins
  • Servings:12
  • Medium


  • 1 box vanilla cake mix
  • 1 3-ounce box Strawberry Jell-O gelatin
  • 1 3-ounce box Lime Jell-O gelatin
  • 2 pints heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • Red and green sprinkles
Zoe Malin
  • Step 1

    Make the cake mix as directed on the box. Pour it into a greased bundt pan and bake as directed.

    Zoe Malin
  • Step 2

    When the cake is finished baking, allow it to cool for 10 minutes. Then, remove the cake from the bundt pan and let it cool for an additional half hour. Cool the cake in the fridge for best results, but you can cool the cake to be room temperature as well.

    Zoe Malin
  • Step 3

    When the cake has cooled, slice it in half so two layers are created. Set the two layers aside on two different plates/dishes.

    Zoe Malin
  • Step 4

    Next, make the Strawberry and Lime Jell-O as directed on the box. Make each flavor in a separate bowl. Place the two bowls of Jell-O and the two layers of the cake next to one another on a flat surface.

    Zoe Malin
  • Step 5

    Soak the two layers of cake with Jell-O. Pour the Strawberry Jell-O evenly over one layer of the cake and the Lime Jell-O evenly over the other layer of the cake. To aid you in soaking the layers of cake evenly, use a ladle to pour the Jell-O flavors.

    Zoe Malin
  • Step 6

    After you have poured Jell-O over the layers of cake, allow them to soak in the Jell-O for a few minutes. Do not touch or try to move the cakes; they are very delicate and unstable.

    Zoe Malin
  • Step 7

    Move the cake layers to the refrigerator. Refrigerate overnight or for a full day, if you have time. Chilling the cake layers in the refrigerator for this extended period allows the Jell-O to solidify inside of the cakes.

    Zoe Malin
  • Step 8

    After the cake layers have been chilled in the refrigerator and you are ready to construct the cake, make the whipped cream. In a bowl, combine the two pints of heavy cream, vanilla, and sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form.

    Zoe Malin
  • Step 9

    Remove the cake layers from the refrigerator when you have finished making the whipped cream. Spread a thick layer of whipped cream over one layer of cake (it does not matter which one). The layer of cake that you spread the whipped cream over is the base of your cake.

    Zoe Malin
  • Step 10

    Take the layer of cake that has not been coated in whipped cream, let's call it the "naked" layer, and slice it in half. Doing so will help you place the naked layer of cake over the base layer.

    Zoe Malin
  • Step 11

    Place both halves of the naked layer of cake over the layer of cake with the whipped cream. BE CAREFUL!! The cake is VERY delicate.

    Zoe Malin
  • Step 12

    When both halves of the naked layer have been placed over the layer with whipped cream, allow the constructed cake to set in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

    Zoe Malin
  • Step 13

    Remove the constructed cake from the refrigerator and coat it entirely in whipped cream.

    Zoe Malin
  • Step 14

    Top the cake with red and green sprinkles, or any decoration of your choosing.

    Zoe Malin
  • Step 15

    Slice and marvel at your Jell-O cake! Layers of Strawberry and Lime Jell-O and lots of homemade whipped cream... what could be better? Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

    Zoe Malin

Hopefully, by making this cake any time of year, you will be able to feel the Christmas spirit before the holiday season is upon us. Jell-O cake is a staple of my childhood, as it is my mom's, and sharing my great grandma's creation allows her recipe to live on forever.