Metro-East Living

20 years later, this popular recipe is still being passed around

Punch Bowl Cake. Use pie filling instead of strawberries and it’s called Cherry Pineapple Delight.
Punch Bowl Cake. Use pie filling instead of strawberries and it’s called Cherry Pineapple Delight.

In May of 1997, I wrote a story about the 100th anniversary of Jell-O gelatin and pudding. Funny how 20 years go by so quickly!

I mention this because one of our reporters, Cara Anthony, stopped by my desk to tell me that her mother, Dianne Anthony, has made and shared for two decades a dessert recipe that I put in the paper. I’m always glad to help, though I can’t take credit for the recipe itself. Cara called it Punch Bowl Cake and it resembles a trifle. Dianne said she’s altered the recipe over the years, and friends she’s shared it with have done the same. Such is the life of a go-to recipe; incarnations know no bounds.

I’m pretty sure the original recipe was Cherry Pineapple Delight. That’s what the archives say and the ingredients match up. It popped up in a story I did on the Jell-O anniversary. (It has instant pudding in it.) I’d asked readers to submit their favorite Jell-O gelatin or pudding dish.

I got the recipe back in 1997 from Gerry Meyer, of Cahokia, who said it was always a hit and serves a crowd.

“I take this to all church dinners and everyone loves it. What I especially like is, it’s so simple to fix,” she told me.

Dianne took the recipe and switched the cherry pie filling to frozen strawberries, and added sliced bananas. You can do the same.

Jell-O is now 120 years old and still going strong. Here’s the Cherry Pineapple Delight recipe; I’ve rewritten it to explain the steps a bit better.

The second recipe was sent to me way back then by Toni Luszowski, of Fairview Heights. Graham Cracker and Jell-O Dessert is insanely simple and delicious. It too is layered and must be refrigerated overnight so the flavors can blend.

Contact me at, 618-239-2664 and follow me on Twitter @BoyleSuzanne. Write to 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427.

Cherry Pineapple Delight (Punch Bowl Cake)

Angel food, pound cake or prepared yellow cake from a box mix

1 can cherry pie filling*

1 large can crushed pineapple, drained

16-ounce container whipped topping, thawed

2 small box, or 1 6-ounce box instant vanilla pudding

1. Break up into bite-size pieces of cake and layer half the pieces in the bottom of a large punch bowl.

2. Then layer the following: 1/2 of the pie filling, 1/2 of the pineapple, 1/2 of whipped topping and 1 small box, or 1/2 of a large box, of dry pudding. Use the pudding straight from the box, just shake it in.

Repeat. Refrigerate overnight. For a finishing touch, before serving top with extra whipped topping.

Serves 15 to 20 people.

*Or, substitute two 10-ounce containers of frozen strawberries, thawed.

Option: Add 2 sliced bananas to the layers, in between the pineapple and the whipped topping. Make sure to cover the bananas completely with whipped topping so they don’t turn brown.

Graham Cracker and Jell-O Dessert

1 1/2 pints sour cream

3/4 cup sugar

1 large package Jell-O gelatin, any flavor

Graham crackers

1. Line square or oblong pan with graham crackers.

2. Combine sour cream and sugar. Spread half over graham crackers.

3. Place another layer of graham crackers over the sour cream mixture.

4. Spread prepared Jell-O that has thickened slightly over grahams.

5. Place another layer of grahams over Jell-O, then spread rest of the sour cream over that.

6. Sprinkle crushed grahams or nuts over top. Refrigerate overnight, before serving.