How to Bake a Watermelon Cake

January 6th, 2010 by katie

My kids have long been fascinated by watermelon cake.  I don’t know why.  One day, I told them we could make any flavor fruit cake they wanted and of course their first choice was watermelon cake-probably the only fruit cake I couldn’t imagine making.  I have been putting them off for sometime but when my now five year old’s birthday was approaching it was all watermelon cake all the time.

Me: What kind of cake do you want for your birthday?

Her: Watermelon Cake!

Me: Ok but if I can’t make watermelon cake, what do you want?

Her: Watermelon Cake!

Me: Ok so you just want a cake decorated like a watermelon right? What flavor do you want the cake to be? Strawberry? Chocolate?

Her: Watermelon!

Me (several hours later): So, um what kind of cake do you want for your birthday?

Her: I already told you.

So with that, watermelon cake it would be.  Watermelon cake that tastes like watermelon.  We make strawberry cake all the time which is basic yellow cake with either strawberry puree or strawberry jello (or both) blended in.  So the watermelon cake follows the same concept.  I did not add the additional watermelon puree this time because it is the dead of winter and any watermelons I could find just tasted like water.  However if making this cake during watermelon season you might want to add it.

Watermelon Cake

makes 1 large 9 inch round cake, prep 10, cook time 40 minutes
  • 1 3 oz package watermelon flavored jello
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter melted, at room temperature
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup watermelon puree (optional)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • pink and red food coloring
  • 2 cups white frosting
  • green food coloring
  • green decorating sugar
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9 or 10 inch springform pan or 2 inch deep round cake pan and dust lightly with flour.
  2. Combine dry ingredients (powdered jello, sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt) in a mixing bowl.
  3. Beat in melted butter for about 2 minutes and until mixture resembles cornmeal (pink cornmeal).
  4. Combine eggs, vanilla, milk, and watermelon puree, if using, in a bowl.
  5. Add liquid mixture to dry mixture, beating constantly for 2 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl mid-way.
  6. Stir mini chocolate chips into batter and tint with a few drops at a time of pink and red food coloring until you achieve a suitably hot pink color.
  7. Pour batter into pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
  8. Allow cake to cool briefly in the pan before removing the side of the springforn pan or turning the cake out onto a rack to finish cooling.
  9. Position cake on a serving tray or cake stand so that the bottom is on top. Use a serrated knife to cut off a thin, flat layer and expose the pink cake and chocolate chips beneath.
  10. Mix a few drops of green food coloring into frosting until you get the desired rind color.
  11. Place strips of parchment paper under the edge and frost the sides of the cake.
  12. Press sugar onto the sides and refrigerate until the frosting sets.
  13. Remove parchment and serve in wedges.

I used the kid’s favorite marshmallow frosting tinted Kelly green but any stiff white frosting will work.  You can also make this cake with a box of yellow or white cake mix, simply add the jello and/or watermelon puree along with the rest of the ingredients called for on the box and stir in the chocolate chips before baking it in the springform pan.  By the way, the chocolate chips will fall to the bottom of the cake and only be on the bottom layer (which becomes the top when you flip the cake).  If you want fewer “seeds” you can reduce the amount to 1/4 cup.

The verdict? “Wow, it really tastes like watermelon.”  “It’s different-but good!”  “Tastes like watermelon jolly ranchers.”  “This is the best birthday cake I ever had.”

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Posted in Desserts

5 Responses

  1. DailyChef

    Wow!! This is incredible – the first time I’ve ever seen a recipe for watermelon cake. I especially love the way you presented it. Your daughter looks incredibly happy. Good job!

  2. noble pig

    How cool! I bet it was a big hit!!

  3. Karly

    What a cute idea!

  4. Melissa

    So sweet Katie. I remember being fascinated by the photo when you posted it and Steve walked by and stopped in his tracks – “what is THAT?” 🙂 You’re a great mom.

  5. Sook

    What a cute idea!!

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