how to make cake in a jar
July 13, 2008 4:35 PM   Subscribe

how safe are cakes baked in mason jars?

I realize that it's not shelf stable canning, but google searches seem to indicate that the cake can stay good for up to 6 months. How successful have you been? Also - i'm looking to ship this from texas to new york and i'm concerned that the seal will break with the heat from the shipping. will freezing the cake before i ship it make any difference at all?

Any other tips or tricks about baking cakes in jars is certainly welcome. this is my first time!

anonymous since this is a gift to a mefite.
posted by anonymous to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
huh? i was under the impression that baking cakes in jars was not for preservation purposes. you know, just a funny looking cake.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 4:44 PM on July 13, 2008

I've baked cakes in jars, and I've baked traditional cakes, and I can tell you that you cant preserve a decent cake for more than a week simply by sealing it off from the air. A Jar Cake might have a slight advantage in that the crusty, stale top might help the innards stay fresher/moister longer. But cakes get shipped all the time. If it's eaten a few days after it's baked and sealed, a Jar Cake should still be lovely.
posted by chudmonkey at 4:53 PM on July 13, 2008

Oh - I always use an equivalent volume of apple sauce if a cake recipe calls for oil. It creates a nice, moist cake. It's a very common practice, but I thought I would mention it just in case.
posted by chudmonkey at 4:55 PM on July 13, 2008

I echo chudmonkey. It's more of a decorative wrapping thing than a preservation strategy.

Sealing cake in a plastic lidded container does the same thing, with the added benefit of not being at risk of breaking in transit.
posted by reflecked at 4:57 PM on July 13, 2008

One last thing: layers are always terrific in Jar Cakes. Cherries or peaches or something like that, depending on the type/color of cake. If you cake recipient prefers icing, try to create a reservoir or void space in the cake after/during baking, so that you have icing top-to-bottom throughout the jar, rather than just on top where it will mostly get eaten first. I once baked a jar cake with three greased metal straws in it (cut from some industrial tubing), and then I filled the straw-holes with an icing bag.
posted by chudmonkey at 5:05 PM on July 13, 2008

Layers would look nice, but don't create a layer of butter cream, pudding, or anything else dairy based. I doubt freezing would make any difference, as it would thaw in no time, esp. given the low density of cake.

*Crossing my fingers and hoping I'm the Mefi recipient of your cake*
posted by HotPatatta at 5:17 PM on July 13, 2008

Normally cakes that last are soaked in booze. Our Christmas fruit cake is made a month in advance and matured with the help of brandy. Consider that as extra insurance?
posted by Phalene at 5:47 PM on July 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

How do you get the cake out?
I've never heard of this -- is it a regional thing? New England has a tradition of baking Boston brown bread in cans, but afaik the bread is not supposed to be kept on the shelf; you eat it while it's still warm.
posted by bad grammar at 5:58 PM on July 13, 2008

How do you get the cake out?

With a fork, as you eat it!
posted by chudmonkey at 8:23 PM on July 13, 2008

There are numerous sellers on who specialize in complex, really cool layered cakes in mason jars and advertise them being tasty for days - weeks. Why not check them out (to see how they do it)?
posted by arnicae at 8:56 PM on July 13, 2008

I've sent a bunch of cakes in jars overseas before, and they've made it there just fine without spoiling.

Just make sure that the jars are completely sealed. Boil the jar lids in water before screwing them onto the finished cake jar, and it will seal as it cools. In my experience, the cakes are just fine for a couple of weeks if they are stored in a cool, dry pantry. Freezers extend their life by several months.

I tend to keep them frozen for a day or two before I set them up to ship. Despite the few weeks it takes to arrive at the intended destination (and the extremely hot climate), none of them have ever gone bad. So provided they're sealed properly, your cake should be able to make it to New York safely.
posted by lullaby at 9:46 PM on July 13, 2008

If you freeze something in a really cold freezer (the back of the lowest shelf is usually coldest) then pack in serious styrofoam cooler with dry ice or icepacks, it will arrive frozen. If you ask around, somebody you know will have gotten Omaha steak as a gift, and you can recycle the container.

I never heard of jar cakes before; sounds like fun.
posted by theora55 at 8:30 AM on July 14, 2008

Wow--I never heard of jar cakes before and now I'm about to get one in the mail! I love you, anonymous!
Seriously, is there a best recipe for this or can I just adapt other cake recipes? That's what it looks like from a quick google.
(You won't believe how many jars I have cluttering up the house...)
posted by Mngo at 10:18 AM on July 14, 2008

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