Vintage baking: a 1950s stained glass cake

I’ve fancied making a retro stained glass cake for a while now, ever since stumbling across different photos of it online. Apparently it was a recipe which was printed on the back of jello packets in the 1950s, it’s also sometimes called a broken glass cake but I think that sounds a lot less appealing for obvious reasons! I looked for an original recipe for it but just couldn’t find one, so I’ve made my own version up from a mixture of different recipes I found online.

It tastes great, and I think it looks particularly spectacular too (although I can’t claim it’s sophisticated). Give it a try and tell me what you think! Recipe below:


  • 300ml double cream
  • 2.5 leaves of gelatine
  • 50ml pineapple juice
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon good quality vanilla essence
  • 3 packs of different flavour jelly (I used strawberry, orange and blackcurrant)
  • 150g digestive biscuits
  • 50g butter

The first thing you need to do with this cake is make the jelly and leave it to set over night. I made 3 different flavours but obviously you can vary this. I made the jelly stronger than the packet instructions to make the colour more vibrant (gone are the days of jelly with bright artificial colouring) and left it to dry in flat trays so I could easily cut it into little cubes when it was set.

I used Hartleys jelly and made the jelly with half the normal amount of liquid. You probably won’t end up using ALL the jelly you make, but its nice to eat any leftovers anyway – I should have thought and piled the leftover jelly on top of the cake like a pile of jewels which would have looked pretty!

Leave the jelly to set (I left mine overnight but it probably didn’t need that long) then cut into cubes. Whip your cream until stiff, add the vanilla essence and sugar and fold gently together.

Soak your gelatine leaves in cold water (follow the packet instructions). Heat your pineapple juice in the microwave until nearly boiling then add the gelatine leaves and let them dissolve.

Meanwhile blitz your biscuits and butter together in a food processor and press into the bottom of a 7″ cake tin with a loose base to make your biscuit base.

Once the pineapple mixture has cooled mix it into the cream and add in your jelly cubes.

Pile the mixture on top of the base, and chill for a few hours to set.

1950s stained glass cake


broken glass cake


stained glass cake