Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Cake Alternatives

Last week Todd asked what kind of birthday cake I wanted, or even if I wanted one at all considered the amount of cake I’d just dealt with.

Have you ever considered a birthday non-cake for your celebration?

Here’s some ideas we came up with:

  • Cupcakes (good if gourmet, less run of the mill)
  • Cheesecake
  • Ice Cream Cake

Of course, those are still cake-like and, therefore, too close for comfort for some. Plus, we’d recently had cheesecake for Todd’s birthday, last month. One year, though, I decided I wanted an ice cream cake, ordered it, then ended up winning the cake giveaway on the radio that year–what are the odds?

  • Pie (but not a traditional fruit pie–maybe a French silk or a chiffon?)
  • Cobbler
  • Tart
  • Brownies
  • Cookies

. . . and so forth. Of course, there are non-cake alternatives, too. What about a birthday lasagna or celebratory cheese plate? Anniversary quiche?

What we went with was a Strawberry Torte from Fresh Market. Layers of cake, sure, but only a few thin ones, plus custard and strawberry filling and loads of whipped cream (stabilized with something, surprisingly enough) on top.

You know, it reminded me a lot of a Poke ‘n Pour cake Mom used to make for any special occasion when I was a kid. Case in point: my 6th birthday party at school.

My 6th Birthday
My 6th Birthday

In case you’ve never heard of this dessert, before, it’s pretty simple to make. First, bake a box-mix cake of the flavor of your choice in a 9×13 pan. Pyrex was the best choice because it looked nice for serving, though a deep metal pan would also work well. Once it’s out of the oven and had a moment to cool, take the handle of a wooden spoon and poke several holes in the cake.

Second, mix up a box of Jell-o with the hot water but not the cold. Pour the dissolved mix evenly over the cake, making sure some gets into each hole from the previous step.

Next, make a box of Jell-o pudding according to the package directions then combine it with half a tub of Cool Whip. Can you tell that this cake was obviously printed on a package insert, back of a box or in a magazine advertisement? Spread the pudding mixture over the soaked cake, chill until set.

Finally, spread the remaining Cool Whip over the pudding layer before serving.

Our usual combo was yellow cake, strawberry jell-o and vanilla pudding. I still get a craving for one every now and then.

Jennifer Walker
Jennifer Walker

  1. We varied it according to the season –
    ie – 4th of July was white cake, red jello with blueberries and whipped cream for decorations.
    Green for St. Patrick’s Day
    You get the idea – endless combinations!

  2. I like banana cake with cream cheese frosting or carrot cake with cream cheese frosting or red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. Actually, you can hold the cake and just whip up the frosting. Pass the spoon.

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