Strawberry Angel Cake Dessert

by Nancy on June 28, 2011

in Desserts

When summer comes, I think about this strawberry refrigerator dessert from my youth that is light, fluffy, and cool.  I’ve been trying to find the recipe or remember how to make it for several years. It features angel food cake pieces, strawberries, whipped cream, and strawberry gelatin. My mom didn’t remember it at all. Eventually I asked my sister and she did remember it. She said it was made with Dream Whip and suddenly how it was made all fell into place. I wondered if Dream Whip (a powder that you mix with milk to make a whipped cream substitute) was still made but when I went to the store it was right there on the shelf next to the gelatin and pudding mixes.

As you know, I’m big on taking a basic recipe and varying it according to what’s on hand. In this recipe, the Dream Whip could be replaced with Cool Whip (a frozen whipped cream substitute) or real whipped cream. Using real whipped cream seems like a good idea but Dream Whip is lighter and lightness is what I want in a summer dessert. Also this recipe makes a large batch and I suspect that prepared Dream Whip has a longer refrigerator life than whipped cream. Frozen strawberries could be replaced with fresh strawberries but fresh strawberries often aren’t available in summer. You could also substitute the strawberries and strawberry Jello with another fruit.

I grew up in a family where eight people usually ate together. I’m trying to cut all of my old family recipes down to serve about 4 but this recipe doesn’t reduce well. It uses a whole angel food cake which is hard to divide. If you can’t use the whole dessert in a few days put part of it in the freezer.

Strawberry Angel Cake Dessert

makes one 13″ x 9″ pan, 12 to 16 servings

  • 1 angel food cake
  • 1  3 ounce box strawberry gelatin
  • 2 cups water
  • 1  10 ounce box frozen sweetened strawberries
  • 2 envelopes Dream Whip
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Make gelatin according to package directions. Refrigerate until a thick syrup, not fully set.
  2. Break angel food cake into bite sized pieces and place in large bowl.
  3. Prepare Dream Whip according to package directions.
  4. Beat gelatin with electric mixer until fluffy. Add thawed strawberries.
  5. Fold Dream Whip into gelatin mixture.
  6. Fold into angel food cake. Place in 13″ x 9″ cake pan and refrigerate.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elyse July 11, 2012 at 11:01 pm

One of the ladies I work with made this dessert and I couldn’t believe how heavenly it was. She gave me an ingredient list, but no real instructions so I set out to find it online. Well, I’d all but given up, nothing matched. Your’s is by far the closest as far as the ingredients list goes, but judging from the picture, this is exactly what I was looking for.

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2 Lisa July 28, 2012 at 11:01 am

Trying this recipe now. Just curious — 2 pkgs of dream whip only calls for 1 cup of milk. What is the other cup of milk for?

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3 Nancy August 3, 2012 at 8:49 am

Typo! Have corrected it in the recipe. Thanks for letting us know.

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4 Melissa August 25, 2012 at 6:01 pm

I have been making this since I was 10, with my mother then – so it’s been about 35 years. This is also my oldest daughters choice for her birthday dessert every year, June Birthday, she is now 23. This is also requested at many summer family gatherings as well. Cool Whip has always been what we have used – for no reason other than that is what my grandmother started using in 1967 when she wrote this recipe. She also used frozen berries in syrup, sometimes substituted were berries that had been canned. Fresh berries and fresh fruit do not hold up, as they age (even by mere hours) their liquid begins to breakdown the Cool Whip. The recipe begins by thawing the berries and separating the juices from the fruit, using the juices and adding enough boiling water to equal enough liquid for the Jello. The berries and Jello are refrigerated separately until the Jello reaches thick syrup and the fruit is folded in, then the Cool Whip is folded in, then the Jello Whip mixture is poured over torn angel food cake in a 9×13 and refrigerated over night, or at least 8 hours. This is where the fresh fruit would begin to give you issues. We always serve with additional Cool Whip. You are right about other fruit working nicely…mixed berries are nice. peach is nice. But nothing is really and wonderful as the strawberry.

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5 Cindy September 2, 2012 at 8:39 am

I was looking for a dessert recipe yesterday on Pintrest to take to a family BBQ today and I came across your post. My mom used to make this dessert in the mid 60′s. I searched through her old recipes today and found the one she used to see if it was the same as yours. The only difference is she added about 8 ounces of small marshmallows to it. Thank you for the memory of one of my childhood favorite desserts!

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6 Candice Leyland February 6, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Was trying to find details for one of my grandma’s recipes for “Heavenly Dessert.” Her Instructions are a bit sparse but your recipe seems very close. She uses marshmallows, lemon jello and maraschino cherries and almonds. Glad I found your post.

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