get yer jar cakes here

jar cake done.JPG

Okay, so maybe you read about the jar cake obsession over at Amy’s. It’s like a whole new world of endless possibilities just opened up in front of us, and both of us kind of lost our minds over it. Amy went so far as to deny her husband a jar cake because he committed the sin of not being excited enough about them, and I, well, I drove way out, in the dark, to some guy’s garage to buy a box of jars (hey, he was on Craig’s List, so it seemed legitimate).
So, today I made my second batch of jar cakes. The first time I doctored up a chocolate cake mix and used a chocolate mocha frosting. Not bad. The box cake ensures moistness, which is good. Now, the dilemma is between the cute little 1/2-pint wide mouth jars and the 1-pint jars. The 1/2 pints are cute, but they are small. You can really only fill them about a third full with batter if you still want room for frosting. Amy decided to skip frosting and stick with denser cakes. I, on the other hand, don’t really think cake is worth eating if there ain’t no frosting, so I chose to experiment with frosting and larger jars.
jar cake prep.JPGThis time I went for red velvet cake. Mmmmm, red velvet cake. I filled the pint-sized jars about a third full of batter. I baked them at 325 F because I read somewhere that the jars might explode if you bake them at higher temps. They took about 35-40 minutes.
Now here’s the fun part.
jar cake coring.JPG
Let me reiterate: I AM ALL ABOUT THE FROSTING. This got me thinking. With a pint-sized jar cake, you would be cheated out of frosting for more than half the cake, since the frosting would just be sitting on top, right? So, I had what I consider to be a genius idea. I will CORE the cake and FILL the core with FROSTING, lovely FROSTING! So that’s what I did, and these puppies are just oozing with cream cheese frosting.
I would like to report that these are delicious, but I can’t, since I haven’t sampled one yet. I do, however, highly encourage all of you to give these jar cakes a try. They are fun, novel, and make nice gifts. I plan to wrap mine in cute dish towels.
Read on for the recipe …

RED VELVET CAKE (note: I have several recipes for Red Velvet Cake. I decided to use the one that calls for all-purpose flour rather than cake flour because I wanted a cake that would be sturdy enough to core and jam full of frosting)
Makes 6 pint-sized jars plus one 1/2-pint jar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (NOT Dutch process)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon cider or red wine vinegar (I had neither so I used white vinegar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon red food coloring gel/paste or 2 tablespoons liquid coloring
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour clean jars (I just sprayed with Baker’s Joy). Set the jars on a Silpat-lined baking sheet.
Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside. In a glass measuring cup, mix the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and food coloring. Set aside.
In a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, beat the butter in a medium bowl until cream and light, about 1 minute. Add the sugar gradually and beat until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour in three additions on low speed, alternating with two additions of the liquid mixture (so, begin and end with the flour mixture).
Fill each jar about a third full of batter.
Bake about 35-40 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Remove the jars from the baking sheet and place the jars on a cooling rack to cool. Now make the frosting.
1 box (8 ounce package) cream cheese, softened at room temp
1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
Beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer or in a stand mixer until fluffy and smooth. Add vanilla and mix well. Gradually add the powdered sugar until smooth.
Fill a pastry bag with frosting. Use a large tip. Use an apple corer or knife to cut out a core from the center of each cake. Discard or eat the cores. Fill the hollowed out core with frosting and frost the top of each cake. Place lids on jars (if you do this when the cakes are still hot, you might be able to get a seal on the jars, which means the cakes will keep a bit longer. But really, since you’re using cream cheese frosting, it’s not like the cakes are going to keep forever).

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17 Responses to get yer jar cakes here

  1. julia says:

    i did read about these over at amy’s and this is high on my list of post-holiday projects. i LOVE your idea about coring the cakes for more frosting! i used to go to this frozen yogurt shop in berkeley that would core the cup of yogurt and pour extra toppings in the hole, so you’d still have topping to eat when you got to the bottom. so good.

  2. Renee says:

    This is just brilliant! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Emiko says:

    I loved the ones you made with the core-filled frosting (yum!) and the denser frosting-less cakes that amy made too.
    I will definitely try these out myself after the holidays. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Kim says: Frosting in the middle?!?! you and Amy are killing me! It reminds me of a fantastic cupcake I had in Philadelphia a few summers ago. It was divine and holy for sure.
    Those look so good! I wonder if I can find some pint jars on craigslist here….hmm….

  5. Nicole says:

    Oh yum! My mom makes jam for me and those little jar sit empty once I’ve eaten the contents (until I give the jars back to her for more!) so this would be a great use in the interim… god knows I’m not about to do any canning!

  6. molly! says:

    Oh, what I wouldn’t give for one of those red velvet cupcakes! I probably won’t be able to make them anyway because I don’t think I can realistically make cake batter with just a fork and a wooden rice paddle. But next time I come home… maybe I should get my mom to start saving jars for me now!

  7. sara says:

    Oooo…read about these on Amy’s site but red velvet cake was not discussed! That happens to be one of my favorite cakes (esp the frosting!) so I will have to give a try!

  8. Judy says:

    This is such a cool idea. Red Velvet… yummy. Do you have to bake and give away right away? When you give them away how long do they last in the jars? Great idea putting the icing in the middle. In my opinion, there’s never enough icing.

  9. Grace says:

    I LOVE this idea! How fun would it be to make a really rich holiday ‘fruitcake’ like cake and soak with rum or brandy? I think I am going to research this and try it! And the fruitcake I make does NOT use those dayglo fake cherries…I use raisins, currents, chestnuts, prunes, etc.

  10. Oiyi says:

    Coring the cake is a great idea, Mariko! Man, you must love frosting. LOL!

  11. Sil says:

    OK, I don’t get the part where it has to be in a jar? I mean, cake is good, frosting is great. Why not just a cupcake? What cake movement am I missing?

  12. Kirsten says:

    The jar cakes sure look like fun and I agree – it is all about the frosting!

  13. Jody says:

    After seeing this post, I made these as Christmas gifts for my neighbors. They turned out wonderfully – even without the mason jars 🙂
    Thanks for the idea!

  14. Jennifer says:

    Dang – those look D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S and I start my post-Christmas diet today. Hope you had happy holidays!

  15. Lydia says:

    Exploding jar cakes in the oven…Why does that scare me so? Mariko, you are quite the gastronaut (there is actually a book out there by that name, check it out)! I guess someone has to be for the rest of humanity.

  16. Nan says:

    I fill like I’ve fallen through the wishing well! Thanks so much for posting this recipe – I always make red velvet cupcakes for Valentine’s Day…and this year they will be in jars! Love it!

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