You guys, I was covered in flour and was on my feet all day. I’m tired…but really happy. The Jar Cakes I made for the National Food Bloggers Bake Sale took some time, but they turned out really well, don’t you think?
Some of you may have found your way to my blog after seeing instructions written on a Jar Cake you bought this weekend. Welcome to my patch of the world wide web! You’ll find lots of curly, crafty, delicious ideas here. I hope you have as much fun with them as I have.
If you’re interested in making these Jar Cakes yourself, they aren’t as daunting as you think. The concept’s pretty simple: It’s like making cupcakes, but your cupcake liners are actual mason jars. I’ve taken the guesswork out of cooking times and measurements in making them with two recipes: Swirled Nutella Cupcakes and Blueberry Sour Cream Coffeecakes. They take a dash of patience, but absolutely worth it to make!
Here are the two recipes I used for these Jar Cakes:
Note that for the Coffeecakes, I decreased the sugar by half a cup. It comes with a brown sugar streusel, and I thought it would be just as good with a little bit less sugar. (And it is!)
Step #1: BUY THEM JARS.
I found these at Smart & Final for $7.99 a dozen. They’re 1/2-pint mason jars by Kerr.
Step #2: BOIL THEM JARS.
I do this to sterilize them. I boil the rims and lids as well. It’s probably not necessary, but my mother is a nurse and I can already hear her sage’s wisdom about hygiene. (My mother’s voice is part of the running commentary in my head while I’m cooking most times!)
Dry jars, rims, lids.
Step #3: FIRE UP THE OVEN, MAKE YOUR BATTER.
Step #4: GREASE THEM JARS.
I use one or two spritzes of PAM For Baking. That’s all you really need.
Step #5: MANTRA THOSE JARS.
FOR THE NUTELLA CUPCAKES, REMEMBER THIS MANTRA: BATTER, NUTELLA, BATTER, NUTELLA.
If you’re lazy, you can just plop the batter in and put all the Nutella on top. But I did it this way so that when you’re eating the cake, there’s enough Nutella-to-cupcake ratio distributed all throughout. Swirl the Nutella into the batter each time you place a layer of it in the jar.
You’ll need a 1/4 measuring cup and a small ice cream scoop for this step. I did the cupcake layers this way: 1/4 cup batter, 1 scoop Nutella, (swirl), 1/4 cup batter, 1 scoop Nutella, (swirl). I used a chopstick to swirl the Nutella.
It may seem a little laborious, but trust me, reciting the mantra helps. Remember, “Wax on, wax off?” It worked for Mr. Miyagi and Daniel in Karate Kid, it will work for you, too! Mantras will help you kick some kitchen a**!
FOR THE BLUEBERRY COFFEECAKES, YOUR MANTRA IS: BATTER, SUGAR, BATTER, SUGAR.
Use a 1/3 measuring cup and a small ice cream scoop for this step. Layers go: 1/3 cup batter, 1 scoop streusel mix, 1/3 cup batter and 1 scoop streusel mix. Pat down the last streusel mix layer.
Remember: The mantra is your friend.
Step #6: BAKE THEM JARS. (ALWAYS REMEMBER TO WIPE THE INSIDE WALL OF YOUR JARS JUST ABOVE THE BATTER LINE BEFORE YOU PUT THESE IN THE OVEN.)
Cooking times: Nutella Cupcakes = 23-25 minutes / Blueberry Coffeecakes: 55-60 minutes. The toothpick is the final authority on doneness! A couple of crumbs on it means it’s ready.
Look at these beauteous little cakes!
Step #7: STICKER THEM JARS.
I made these round labels on Word and some shipping labels. If you seal these while they’re still hot, the rubber rims actually create a vacuum and not only keep the cakes moist, but extend their shelf life considerably.
Step #8: SPOON THEM JARS.
I wanted those who bought these to be able to eat them right away, so I taped some beribboned (I love that word) spoons to the jars. At the urging of my nurse mother, I covered each of them in cling wrap, for hygiene’s sake.
Step #9: STEP BACK, THROW YOUR APRON IN THE AIR, DANCE A LITTLE JIG—YOU’VE JUST MADE THE DARNDEST CUTEST JAR CAKES!
Almost any cake/cupcake recipe can be used for Jar Cakes. I’ve made some during Christmas with Red Velvet Cake and a layer of frosting on top as gifts. With frosting, you’ll have to wait for the cakes to cool, frost them and seal them. No vacuum in that case, but you won’t need it. With frosting, that cake’s not going to last long!
I hope you have fun trying your hand at these baking gems. I’m here for questions; ask away in the comments section.
Until the our next delicious meeting, stay curly out there!
Further Reading Into The Art Of Jar Cakes (Reading is fun! You should do it more!)
My favorite aunt loves Nutella, but she lives in Romania. Or Japan. Or somewhere far. I wish I could... (…send these Jar Cakes by mail? Why yes, you can! These are popular as gifts to soldiers abroad. Read this.)
What am I going to do with that blasted jar once I’ve eaten the heck out of that cupcake? (I’m glad you’re thinking of recycling! These jars are great for mini terrariums, or you can make these uber cute sewing-kit jars a la Martha Stewart. Crafty, eh?)
What is Nutella, exactly? (You poor child! You’re missing half your life if you haven’t introduced your tummy to this yummy hazelnut-chocolate concoction. Read up on it here.)