504 Main by Holly Lefevre: Cakes in a Jar and The Greatest Carrot Cake...Amaze your Friends and Family!
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Cakes in a Jar and The Greatest Carrot Cake...Amaze your Friends and Family!

I originally posted Bake It! Can It! Jar It! last year,
but this is and always has been one of my favorite ideas...
so here it is again...and with a new recipe.

About 15 or so years ago when I was  a single gal...who didn't cook - I mean, I occasionally baked chocolate chip cookies, stirred up some Rice Krispie treats, and threw together 7-layer cookies (the easiest, yummiest thing on the planet) - my mom bought me this book called Cake in a Jar. Great! Yipppeee!...What am I supposed to do with this? I kept it anyway...and now it is one of my "go-to" holiday staples!

So, now, the invitations for informal little get-togethers have started to pour in, thoughts of gifts for neighbors and teachers are dancing in my head, and well, these cakes in a jar make a great gift. The best part is you can make them ahead of time, and store them (they last for months). They will be ready and waiting for me when I need them.

Here's what ya need:
  1. Wide mouth pint-size canning jars (you can use 1/2 pint and larger...it just takes experimenting with the amount of batter and length of baking time) and lids. I just bought some platinum lids and they really make the jars look fantastic...of course, if you buy the box of jars, the standard lids are included.
  2. Cake mix and/or recipe. I swear by the Cake in a Jar book that is sold through Cookbook Cupboard. It is the only recipe source I have used for these cakes and the instructions are super easy...and the book is only $3.95! I will not be sharing the recipe here, because I do not want to get sued. I used the Vanilla Rum Cake recipe for this batch! The Kahlua Cake is to-die-for! You can use pretty much any recipe, just watch the cooking time.
  3. The ingredients to complete the cake mix (eggs, oil, water, etc.) or the ingredients for the recipe...duh!
  4. Stock pot for sterilizing jars
  5. Cookie sheet (to bake them on)
  6. Skewer to check for doneness

Here's how to do it:
  • Preheat oven to 325
  • Sterilize jars while you mix up the cake batter
sterilizing jars

  • Remove jars and let dry, then grease with butter, shortening, etc.
  • Place 1 cup of batter into each pint jar
batter in the jar
(these photos are all of the vanilla rum cake)
  • Wipe rims clean
  • Place on a cookie sheet and put the jars into the oven
  • Sterilize your lids while your cakes are baking
  • Bake for about 45 minutes (you need to watch it around 35 minutes, based on how your oven cooks and which recipe you use)

  • Remove cakes from oven, dry lids, and place lids on cakes
  • You will start hearing them pop and seal
You can canned a cake....
trust me people will be amazed!


I used a super yummy carrot cake recipe this year, and here it is...I am not sure of its original source. My daughter's preschool teacher passed this along from her late father who made this all the time.

The Greatest Carrot Cake
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 8oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • optional: 8 oz shredded coconut
  • optional: 1 cup golden raisins

  1. Sift flour and baking soda.
  2. Beat eggs and mix with oil.
  3. Beat in sugar and dry ingredients.
  4. Add vanilla and cinnamon.
  5. Fold in undrained pineapple, carrots, and nuts.
  6. Grease and flour pan OR grease JARS
  7. Bake at 350F degrees for 50-60 minutes in 9 x 13 pan or for about 35 minutes at 350F in a JAR! Refrigeration recommended for a regular cake.

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1/2 to 1 cup (for taste) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Whip ingredients until creamy!
Happy Baking!

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  1. Happy Holidays!
    Love this cake in a jar idea. A really good idea for the kids to make for their grand parents... all by themselves! Don't worry they are in middle and high schools so... I won't leave the house just in case smoke starts rolling thru. LOL!
    Thanks for the great gift idea!

  2. That is amazing! I love this idea! I'm trying to think of things to do because after tomorrow (monday), I have a week off and was going to try and bake. I also love the glimpse into your single days, I always love hearing Moms talk about when they were sans kids and husbands, always great stories to now more-mature women (I hope that made sense). These look great and I would imagine, completely unexpected.

  3. Fantastic idea!! i will try it.Thanks for the great tutorial and the idea!!

  4. I'm going to order this book Holly. It sounds clever and wonderful! And so are you!

  5. I absolutely adore cake in a jar! Anyone I have ever given these to have just loved them. Thank for reminding me of this special treat :)

  6. LOVE this idea!!! A couple of months I made apple pie in canning jars and they were so adorable. It was fun to decorate with different designs for the dough on top. I didn't put lids on them. Just popped them in the refrigerator ready to be topped with icecream or whipped cream. Aren't canning jars great? Than you so much for sharing!!!!!

  7. What a great and delicious idea!!! I bet you are the favorite mom with all the teachers! :)

  8. I have never tried a cake in a jar. Wasn't sure if they really were any good or just weird. I'm thinking of giving more homemade gifts this year so I may have to give this cake in a jar thing a test run. :)

  9. I love Cakes in a Jar! I baked them and sent them to hubby while he was overseas in Iraq! He loved them!. Im thinking of doing cupcakes in a jar for the holidays

  10. What a fabulous idea! I've heard of the cake in a jar, but I haven't ever tried them before...looks yummy!

  11. Holly! Yum! I've been wanting a good step-by-step for this. Going into my bookmarks!! :)

  12. What a cool gift idea. I've never done these, but my dad's older sister was here visiting recently and she made something from my grandmother's hand written cookbook call carrot pudding. She said way back when they used to make it in coffee cans, but she made it in a large canning jar when she was here. cooked up just like a cake.

  13. this is a great idea---i especially love it for a picnic themed christmas hamper! what fun i will have with these...thank you for sharing!

  14. What a fun idea! I love it - thanks for the recipe!!

  15. I used to make cakes in a jar few years ago. They were delicious.

    I was selling them in our local deli shop and people loved them.

  16. Anonymous7:01 PM

    Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [07 Dec 01:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  17. girl you read my mind... thanks for this. just starting to get the (ACK what am I getting the teachers for Xmas feeling)

  18. This is a great idea, Holly. They look so sweet in their little jars.

    Plus give me ANYTHING with vanilla AND cinnamon and I'm all yours!!


  19. Yay I love this idea! Especially since you can make any cake in there! It's more personal that way... and of course vegan! Hooray!
    How cute! I love homemade Christmasy stuff!

  20. Anonymous12:38 AM

    Oh yum!

    I love that idea, so cute!

    And now Im craving carrot cake.. mmmmmm

  21. WOW! LOve it! I didn't know it was already baked. Gotta try it.

  22. This sounds wonderfully yummy. Thanks for sharing your recipe and instructions. Going to try it for Christmas gifts.

  23. YUM-MY!!! :) I sent cake-in-jars to my Hubby and his division when he was deployed. They thought it was the best thing ever!
    Michelle @ http://thecherryhouselife.blogspot.com/


Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation! I sure hope you come back for more!

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