Cake in a Jar? Yes Please!

As an avid cake baker, how could I be so blind to the notion of cake in a jar? I eat canned brown bread all the time. I’ve baked cake in coffee cups for a sweet treat.  As an avid caner, how is it possible that I never thought of using a mason jar to bake in?

I consider myself creative and innovative but I had never thought about baking this way until I received a link from my hubby this morning with a picture of an edible rainbow in a jar. This caused me to google “cake in a jar.”

Moms and wives have been sending cakes in jars overseas to the troops for decades. Makes sense, a “shippable” way to celebrate your daughter’s birthday or to let hubby know you’re thinking about him on father’s day. But long term storage of cake in a jar; is it safe?  The short answer is no.

The University of Georgia, College of Family and Consumer Sciences advises against the home canning of cake. “Many cake and quick bread recipes contain very little or no acid and thus have the potential for supporting the growth of hazardous bacteria, such as Clostridium botulinum.” Download their full report [PDF]. Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences recommends allowing the cake to cool completely before sealing the jars—avoiding the creation of the oxygen-free environment that is perfect for bacteria growth—and storing them in the refrigerator to “prevent the growth of other harmful bacteria that can grow.” Refrigerated cakes can last several weeks.

With the novelty of canning and DIY gifts gaining momentum, cakes in a jar are taking craft fairs and farmers markets by storm. However, Utah State University’s Cooperative Extension warns against eating homemade canned cake in a jar citing that consumers are not equipped to create recipes that use very large amounts of sugar and low moisture nor are they able to test their recipes for the absence of the botulism organism. Download their food safety alert [PDF].

Luckily, farms, bakeries and patisseries provide the consumer food safe options. Beau Domaine Farms in South Carolina features a unique twist on fruit cake: Amaretto Holiday Cake in a Jar. They claim it will delight even those who do not like regular fruit cakes. Pastry Chef Scott Calvert of Austin, TX offers these tasty treats in 2 sizes (1/2 pint and pint) and a variety of flavors including Dreamsicle, Texas Pecan Praline, Italian Cherry Jubilee, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Bomb.

In my opinion, cake in a jar boasts more novelty than function.  What could be more fun than serving pink lemonade cakes in jars with fruit slice garnish at poolside? Or letting a group of kids frost and decorate their own scoop-able treat?

Feeling adventurous or just looking for a unique twist on dessert? Then try one of the cake in a jar recipes below!

Recipes:

Chocolate Pudding Cake in a Jar

Apple Cake in a Jar

Peanut Butter Cups (Cake) in a Jar

Spice Cake in a Jar

Neapolitan Cake in a Jar

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