Monday, July 11, 2011

Meet the Contributors: Jonathan Schkade

I must confess it: I love food. No, not all foods, and I'm even on bad terms with many highly respected delicacies, but by and large, food and I get along very well.

Okay, that might not be a shocking statement on a cooking-related blog. Maybe this second confession will seem stranger: there are few things that relax me more than chopping vegetables. Seriously. If I’ve had a long day and want to unwind, it’s not uncommon for me to pull out some carrots or peppers or—my favorite—onions and get chopping. Often this is before I have any idea what I’m going to cook. But that’s half the fun.

I usually write the same way. First, I pull out my current manuscript and sees what’s in the “veggie drawer.” Generally there are characters who have to be in the next scene, a setting to put them against (think cutting board), and hopefully a problem that can cut my characters to the core. Still, until I finish attacking them with that problem, I have no idea how the concept will change. I can’t blame the ingredients. I’m the one who chose them. Sometimes I fail, but sometimes, in both the manuscript and the kitchen, something magical happens. Voila!

Thinking about a recipe to share here, I realized that my most recent book is packed with people eating and being eaten by gross and scary critters. There are even sticky recipes for kids on my site. But since Pots 'n Pens readers are a lovely, high-class bunch, I thought I’d start out with something more pleasant: rainbow cake.

This dessert and I go back to when I was a wee thing. Through birthdays, dinner parties, and sassy summer evenings, if I’m looking for a refreshing snack and a bit of inspiration, rainbow cake never fails me. And, of course, rainbows are symbols of hope and promise—intangibles that all writers can use in abundance.


1 (3-oz. pkg.) strawberry gelatin
1 (3-oz. pkg.) orange gelatin
1 (3-oz. pkg.) lime gelatin
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
¾ cup blueberries, drained
1 large angel food cake (Here’s a recipe link if you want to make it from scratch.)
2 quarts vanilla ice cream, slightly softened

Divide cake into 3 equal parts. In medium-size bowls, break up cake into small pieces. Mix dry gelatin into cake pieces (1 part strawberry, 1 part orange, 1 part lime).

Layer ingredients in angel food tin with removable bottom in following order: strawberry cake pieces, thawed strawberries, 1/3 of the ice cream; orange cake pieces, mandarin oranges, 1/3 of the ice cream; lime cake pieces, blueberries, final third of the ice cream. (I suggest using your clean hands to mash the ice cream evenly.)

Cover with foil and freeze overnight or longer. To serve, unmold. If fully frozen, I recommend pulling it out of the freezer 5 minutes before serving. Can be refrozen. Beautiful and delicious.

Note: I like them, but the blueberries get a little hard, so feel free to substitute pineapple, kiwi, peaches, or whatever fruit strikes your fancy.

Eat and enjoy!


  1. Wait a second, cake, Jello, AND ice cream?!? What you have here, my friend, is a trifecta of awesome. I can't wait to make this!!!

  2. This sounds like a lot of fun to make with my kids too. Thanks!

  3. My pleasure. Apart from employing the universal trump card of chocolate, this is my absolute favorite dessert.

  4. Oh, fun! I can see this going over really well with my kids. Also, my husband is another guy who enjoys chopping fruits and vegetables because it's relaxing.

  5. I consider myself a pretty good cook, but baking is not my thing. I'm inspired to try this, though. Can I blame you if it doesn't work? Haha. Great post, and I really liked how you compared writing to cooking.

  6. Love how your writing style comments. You so rock!

  7. Sorry about the lame wording. I haven't had my second cup of coffee yet.

  8. Oooh reminds me of a cake my mom used to make when I was a kid that also combined Jell-O and cake to wonderful effect!

  9. Okay, I'm definitely trying this one. I'm going to have to buy an angel food tin though. I have a cheesecake pan with a removable bottom... hmmm. Maybe cut the recipe?
    Either way this looks yummy!