Russian layered jello cake (jeleinyi tort)

It’s September. Students and teachers are back to school. Halloween candy and decorations are on display at every retail store. Mornings have become a little more brisk, and everyone around me seems eager for fall to be in full swing. On the food related front that means lots and lots of pumpkin. How many pumpkin lattes and pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting recipes have you seen this month alone? Pinterest is sure buzzing with those! Even those that mourn the summer (nearly!) ending appear to be unable to contain the excitement of all that is pumpkin. Are you one of them?

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I didn’t grow up drinking pumpkin lattes and eating pumpkin muffins, so I am not as anxious to move into fall just yet. For me, fall always meant going back to school and a little less playing time in the yard with my friends (our food didn’t change much… except for maybe less okroshka and more borscht and shchi). Even now that I’m an adult, fall means getting closer to winter so I want to savor every last sunny summer day… until I can no longer be in denial that fall is indeed upon us. Smile

This layered jello cake is fantastic for just that. It’s cool and refreshing. I know that jello isn’t uniquely Russian but the use of sour cherries and sour cream sure gives it that Russian flair. I love the contrast between the sweetened sour cherry jello and the creaminess of the milk and chocolate layers. Make this cake while summer is still upon us (and any other day when I wish it still was)!

Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 10 envelopes of unflavored gelatine (1/4 oz each), divided
  • 1 cup sweetened cherry juice
  • 1 cup cherries, pitted
  • 1 2/3 cups sour cream, divided (400 grams)
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

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Instructions:

Layer #1 – Cherry

  • Whisk cherry juice with 4 envelopes of gelatine. Let stand for 1 minute.

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  • Add 3/4 cup of boiling water to the gelatinous cherry juice. Whisk to combine.

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[Pre and post boiling water mixtures]

  • Pour into a medium-large bowl with a smooth interior.

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  • Mix in cherries (this will be your top layer so make it pretty).

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  • Refrigerate for approx. 1.5 hours, until firm. [This is a good time to make the sour cream mixture!]

Layer #2 – Milk

  • Whip half of sour cream with half of sugar, until nearly dissolved.
  • Whisk in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Let rest until the first layer is solid.

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  • Whisk 1/4 cup cold water with 3 envelopes. Let stand for 1 minute.
  • Add 1/4 cup boiling water to the gelatin mixture.
  • Add gelatin mixture to the sour cream mixture.

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  • Make sure the first layer is really solid before proceeding, otherwise the cream layer will “bleed” into the cherry layer. See, it doesn’t move when the bowl is tilted!

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  • Pour the cream mixture over the first cake layer.

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  • Refrigerate for approx. 45 minutes, until firm.

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Layer #3 – Chocolate

  • Whip remaining half of sour cream with remaining half of sugar, until nearly dissolved.
  • Whisk in cacao powder + 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.
  • Let rest until the second layer is solid.

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  • Mix 1/4 cup of cold water with 3 packets of gelatin. Let rest for 1 minute.
  • Add 1/4 cup boiling water to the gelatin mixture.
  • Add gelatin mixture to the chocolate mixture.

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  • Mix in chopped walnut pieces.

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  • Pour over the two-layer cake.

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  • Refrigerate for approx. 45 minutes, until firm.

Inverting the cake

  • Prepare serving plate.
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  • Dip in the cake bowl into the pot several times. This should loosen the jello.

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  • Invert the jello cake over the serving plate. You may need to go over the edges with a knife to help it out (see picture above).

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  • Slice and serve. Enjoy :)

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Printable recipe

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