Jar Cakes

Ever baked cakes in canning jars? It's neat! ANY quick bread-type cake can be baked in canning jars.

I usually bake one jar first - you have to know how high the batter rises. I usually fill ONE jar1/2 full then bake it to see how high it rises, then go from there. You don't want the cake to come out of the top of the jar, only to within 14 to 1/2 inch from the lip of the jar. Write it down on your recipe (how far you filled the jars). Once you have established how high the cake rises, you can go from there. The first time around is a bit tricky because you won't know how many jars you'll need. MOST of the recipes I've tried I end up using around 8. Sterilize as many jars as you think you'll need and go from there. Make sure your LIDS are NEW, the rings do not have to be. As the jars do seal, the cakes are as moist as the day you put them into the jars, sometimes more so.

The baking times will vary, the moistness of each cake recipe will determine the time. Most of the recipes I've tried bake in 35-40 minutes. Start checking the cakes at 25- 30 minutes and go from there.

YES, the cakes DO slide easily out of the jars, IF you use the jars that are listed below. They are Ball 12 oz. Quilted Crystal Canning Jars (#14400-81400). They can be found at most grocery stores, next to the pectin and other canning supplies. Also, I've seen the 12 oz. straight-sided (plain) jars. The plain jars work fine fine, but they are not as pretty and you have to make your own labels. One IMPORTANT tip - get your jars now. Once the canning season is over, they are hard to find. Also, ask for your jars back, they are NOT cheap. Most folks don't mind returning them.

There will be a little condensation on the lids and some in the jars so when you seal them it is trapped inside. Do not worry about getting the water off the lids before placing them onto the jars, the added moisture does not hurt the cake in the slightest. Quick bread type cakes work best. The lighter cakes tend to fall when the jars seal.

These make wonderful Christmas gifts. I am not sure how long they can be stored. The longest I have been able to keep them, before they are eaten is 6 months. The jars do seal, like any canned good. You do not have to refrigerate the jars, just keep them in a cool, dark, dry place.

Brownie Cakes in a Jar

2 canning jars, wide mouth
1 c all purpose flour
1 c sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
1/3 c butter or margarine
1/4 c water
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 c buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c walnuts, finely chopped

Sterilize two 1-pint straight-sided wide-mouth canning jars, lids and rings by boiling for 10 minutes (keep lids and rings in water until ready for use); set aside. In a small bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking soda and cinnamon. Set aside. In medium saucepan, combine butter or margarine, water and cocoa powder; heat and stir until butter or margarine is melted and mixture is well blended. Remove from heat; stir in flour mixture. Add buttermilk, egg and vanilla; beat by hand until smooth. Stir in nuts. Pour mixture into the prepared canning jars; place jars on a cookie sheet. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake for 35- 40 minutes or until a pick inserted deep into each cake comes out clean. Remove cakes from the oven, one at a time. Place a lid, then a ring onto the jars and screw down tightly. Use heavy duty mitts, the jars are hot! Place jars onto the counter to cool.