First off, let’s get nostalgic.
As a kid, I always knew it was a special occasion when we had a certain treat tucked away in the fridge. It would be be painstakingly made over an entire day, all 12 layers. It was a beautiful rainbow – a layered jell-o cake, and it was famous in my family, and my other Ukrainian friend’s families too. I remember eating it slowly, in layers of course. Red, white, orange,white, yellow, white, green, white, blue, white, purple, white. I’m not sure if each layer really tasted any different than the last, but it was amazing. I don’t think I really ever appreciated the work that went into this 12 layer delight!
Now let’s do this!
When my sister told me she was going to do a jell-o cake smash for my niece’s one-year birthday photo, I was thrilled! I love photographing a normal cake smash, but it’s always fun to see how a little one will react to something different. Something jiggly, something squishy!
Since my niece had not had any real sugar before her first birthday, my sister made a modified, three-layer, lower-sugar jell-o recipe. That is what I’m going to be sharing with you today!
Layered Jell-o Cake Recipe
This recipe is for a quick, mom-friendly, three layer cake. You can do more layers, so just adjust accordingly.
Before you begin, find a bowl or mold that will hold about six cups of liquid. If you are doing a photoshoot with me, ask me for the mold and I can borrow it to you!
3 packages of Knox Gelatin
Food colouring (found at bulk barn in teal, but you can choose any colour you want)
3 cups of clear fruit juice
One can of condensed milk
Cooking spray (optional)
- Spray six-cup mold with cooking spray. If you don’t use the spray, just be careful when un-molding.
- Layer one. Add one cup of boiling water to one package of gelatin. Add a few drops of food colouring. We used a teal “frosting colouring” found at bulk barn. Stir to dissolve, then add one cup of fruit juice. Stir this and pour into your mold.
- Let this layer sit for at least 15 minutes in the fridge. If you give it a wiggle and it looks too jiggly, leave it in the fridge. You don’t want to pour a new layer on top of a non-set layer. It will ruin your hard work!
- Layer two. Add one cup of boiling water to one package of gelatin. Stir. Add roughly 1/4 of the can of condensed milk. Stir. Add a few drops of food colouring. Add one cup of juice. Carefully, and slowly, pour this over the first set translucent layer. The colour of this layer should be a slightly whiter but bright version of your first layer.
- Let this layer sit for at least 15 minutes in the fridge.
- Layer three. Add one cup of boiling water to one package of gelatin. Stir. Add roughly 1/2 of the can of condensed milk. Stir. Add a few drops of food colouring. Add one cup of juice. Carefully, and slowly, pour this into the set mold. It should be a fairly white layer. This gives the treat a lovely ombre effect.
- Let this layer sit in the fridge until set. Cover with saran wrap.
To unmold the “cake”, place in a hot water bath for no more than 30 seconds. I made the mistake of leaving it in the water for too long and it started to really melt and get goopy! Transfer the cake onto a plate or directly onto a clean floor for some cake smashing fun!
Option: If your little one likes oranges or blueberries, try adding those into a layer. But don’t use pineapple. It doesn’t allow the cake to set!