Frosting, for many, is the best part of the cake. There's not much to dislike about it, after all—there's a type of frosting for every person. Whipped frostings for those who like it light, dense buttercream for indulgent sugar fans, cream cheese frosting for the tangy crowd... and so on. But I'll bet you've never made or tried frosting made with Jell-O packages before!
Infusing your frosting with the sweetness and bright color of Jell-O changes both its taste and appearance, and using Jell-O as a base flavor means that your frosting flavors are only limited by the varieties on sale.
In addition to its versatility, Jell-O frosting also sets very well; the gelatin in the packages means that your frosting won't lose its shape if piped or spread onto cupcakes. Jell-O gives your frosting structure without density, which is perfect for those who prefer lighter consistencies.
Making Jell-O frosting is relatively easy: the only step that may deter people from trying this recipe involves mixing the frosting with boiling water for a few minutes. However, if you own a stand mixer or hand mixer, this won't be much of an issue.
It's worth noting that other recipes exist that simply blend Jell-O into whipped cream and sugar; while these achieve the same versatility of flavor and bright shock of color, they are often grimy—without boiling water, the gelatin crystals do not dissolve.
The best and easiest recipe for Jell-O frosting (obtained from Happier Than a Pig in Mud) involves the following:
- 3 oz. package of Jell-O (or other jello brand)
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1 egg white
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ cup boiling water
(Using a raw egg white may give people pause, but don't worry—as long as you follow the directions, any bacteria in the egg while will be killed by the prolonged exposure to the boiling water.)
- Mix everything except the boiling water in a large bowl.
- Add the boiling water gradually while mixing the contents of the bowl on medium.
- Once the water has been added completely, continue to mix for 5 minutes on high.
And that's it—you've created a frosting of whatever flavor you prefer, thanks to Jell-O!
I mentioned earlier that frosting made with Jell-O has structure because of the gelatin it contains; this is both a good thing and a bad thing for us. On one hand, it allows us to create beautiful piped designs that won't melt or slide; on the other, it means that we must work quickly with the frosting before it becomes too hard.
In the end, however, I find this to be a minor inconvenience when looking at the grand scheme of things. Think of how many different flavors of frosting you can create with this recipe... and how many different cakes you can pair each frosting with! The possibilities are almost endless—not to mention endlessly fun.
Do you think you'll give Jell-O frosting a try the next time you bake a cake? If so, let us know how it turns out!