With the holidays right around the corner, I thought I’d share one of my favorite recipe ideas to send our troops…jar cakes! Some of you may already know how to make these, but for those who want to learn, read on! These cakes are super easy to make, creative and economical as well. All you do is bake your cakes in glass mason jars, seal them shut and ship them off! The glass jars lock in moisture and can keep them fresh for weeks, assuring that your cakes will arrive in one piece and ready to eat. Sounds simple enough, right?
What Jars to Use?
When it comes to deciding on what mason jars to use, you can either use the regular ones (like in my picture) or the wide-mouthed straight sided jars (which don’t have rims that are smaller on top). The advantage of using the wide-mouthed jars is that you can slide the cake out and eat it on a plate instead. The disadvantage is that they’re harder to find (in my opinion). I haven’t come across pint sized wide-mouthed jars yet and I’ve tried several grocery stores. Don’t fret if you’re using the usual skinny-mouthed jars though; eating cake FROM the jar is the fun of it!
Finished Confetti Cake Jars with sprinkles on top.
I used a recipe from AllRecipes.com, which can be found here: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/cake-in-a-jar/Detail.aspx
Chocolate cake mix batter with different sprinkles on top!
Tips for Baking
If you notice that the cake is starting to bake higher than the jar lid line, that is OKAY, unless it is actually running over and touching the outsides of the jar. When the cakes cool, they will go down and they will not be as tall as they look in the oven.
I’ve found that one box of cake mix can make about 6 pint-sized cakes. I just recently sent out 12 jar cakes and used exactly two boxes of cake mix. You can also bake these cakes in the larger mason jars, although I found that they do not bake as evenly and the bottoms and tops can get harder than intended. For every two large sized mason jars you use, you will use an entire box of cake mix. So it’s better and more affordable to stick to the pint-sized jars!
Looking to make a more personalized, homemade recipe? Look no further. Practically any homemade cake recipe you can think of can be used. For some ideas, check out these links:
Carmel Nut Cake - http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Caramel-Nut-Cake-in-a-Jar/Detail.aspx
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake, Carrot Cake and Spice Cake recipes can be found on this page: http://www.scoutingweb.com/scoutingweb/SubPages/BakedJar.htm
Not a Fan of Cake?
If your military member is not a cake fan, no worries! There are other great recipes you can make using jars. Try this recipe from AllRecipes.com:
Banana Nut Bread - http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Banana-Nut-Bread-Baked-in-a-Jar/Detail.aspx
Carrot-Raisin Bread, Gingerbread, & Zucchini Bread recipes can all be found on this page:
Decorating Your Jars
Whether it is for a birthday or holiday, or just because, jar cakes are the perfect addition to any care package and are a favorite among the troops. If you’re feeling more creative, try making lid decorations, adding ribbon or stickers, or buy a jar decorating kit from a craft or grocery store (the kits I use are from Ball and are called Jar Art, only $1 for a kit!) These decorating ideas are great for holidays and birthdays. Here’s a link to some ideas for decorating your jars:
Jar Art kits by Ball
Here's an example of the birthday jar decorating kit I used.
Don’t Forget the Frosting!
Just remember to send forks, napkins and plates along, as well as a tub or two of frosting. If you’re sending a lot of cakes at one time and you know all the guys will eat them up fast, it is fine to send a regular tub of frosting since it will get used up right away. However, it’s also a good idea to send a spray can of frosting along (not the
decorating kind), since the spray cans do not have to be refrigerated, therefore your loved one can enjoy cakes for several days in a row and not worry about the frosting going bad after opening it.
They come in great flavors and are easy to use and store!
If you’re really becoming a fan of all the delicious recipes you can bake in a jar, this website allows you to download their e-recipe book called “Pint Sized Cakes” for only $5. Just a few of the additional recipes they include are: Red Velvet Cake, Chocolate Chip Cake, Applesauce Cake, Almond-Cherry Bread, Pumpkin Bread, Raisin Bran Bread and Brown Sugar Bread. Definitely worth a look! Here's the link:
Send Your Love
I hope you can find use for this awesome recipe idea. My fiancé and the guys he’s deployed with can’t get enough of them. Sending something homemade and original like jar cakes are an easy and fun way to put a smile on your loved one’s face. So try different recipes and send the troops a mixed package of different breads or cakes. It will surely be appreciated and requested for months to come!
Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to you all! :)
Right out of the oven!
Here's an example on how to decorate the lids. In this case, mine says "Happy 24th Birthday, Nic!"
All packed up and ready to send! :)