Jul 26, 2013

Bake a Cake IN a Jar

I don't just mean PUT and SERVE a cake in a jar...I mean actually BAKE it in the jar.  No really!  It's SO easy, you don't even know.  Well, after you read this you will.  Super, super easy and so, so fun.  Here's how you do it...

First you'll need mason jars.  I purchased a dozen at my local grocery store.  I chose half pint size because that's the size I wanted.  I've seen recipes that use full pint jars as well.  Really, it's up to you.  Wash your jars thoroughly and allow them to dry. 
Next, mix your cake batter.  Any cake batter will do.  I used our favorite Betty Crocker Yellow Cake mix.  Feel free to make something from scratch (you'll have to explain to me later WHY you would actually do this instead).

Using a narrow serving spoon, fill the jars 1/4 of the way. (You'll notice that in the pictures, my jars were a little more full.  This ended up being too full and didn't leave enough room at the top after they baked.)  Wipe any excess from the sides.  
Place the jars on a cookie sheet and bake them according to the instructions for cupcakes. (approximately 13-15 minutes based on my experience).  I cooked just 4 at a time, just to make sure I was doing it right, but you could fill the cookie sheet if you wanted to.  Allow them to cool completely.  (Notice how these are too full?  I just cut some off the top to make room and made the next batch smaller.)

Now it's time to let your imagination go wild!  The rest of the jar can be layered with all sorts of toppings, from fruit to candies and frosting to decorations.  For my daughter's cakes, I decided to go with a strawberry shortcake style jar.  I sliced fresh strawberries and tossed them with a bit of sugar.  I made homemade whipped cream (This is my favorite, tried and true recipe.  You'll see it at the bottom of the page, after the shortcake recipe.)
Once they were full, I used scraps of fabric I already had to cut squares and decorated the tops with them.  
I've seen others use decorative paper, stickers, glitter or anything you like to add a little something.  You can tie ribbon and create personal labels.  They can be as fancy or as rustic as you choose. 

This was a HUGE hit for my daughter's birthday. 
I will do this again soon, maybe for a dinner party or book club. Oh, check out my other "in a jar" posts for jam and butter.  Apparently, food in a jar is my schtick!!