Introduction: Cake in a Jar

Picture of Cake in a Jar

These tiny delights make the perfect gifts for any occasion. Make up a batch to keep on hand for sudden cravings, give as favors for your next party, or send to loved ones overseas. The cakes will remain moist and delicious for up to 6 months! What better way to show someone you care than a personalized cake in a jar!

Check out this amazing story about a 36-year-old government issue cake, and soldier who ate it!

For more info on cute jarred treats (and how I prepared the jars), see Pie in a Jar!

Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients

To speed things along, I used a boxed cake mix. Everyone agreed it tasted like a boxed cake mix. I was ok with that for the purpose of illustrating the technique (no need to make this two instructables worth of instructions!) but will definitely go from scratch next time.

So find your favorite cake mix and supporting ingredients, or make it from scratch. The best part about making your own is that you can make half of one kind and half of another!

You'll also need a bunch of canning jars - straight sides, wide mouthed. I got the wee-est ones I could find for cuteness' sake. You can definitely make them in bigger jars.

Boil or wash the jars to sterilize them. You'll want brand-spanking-new lids to make a tight seal when you're done.

The box mix made enough batter to fill 16-20 jars!

Step 2: Make Cake Batter

Picture of Make Cake Batter

Make the batter according to the directions on the box.

Or look here for some inspiration to make your own!

Fill the jars about half-way with batter. If you fill them too full, you can always squish them down, or cut the tops off. But too much batter will result in them flowing over the sides of the jars.

Place in a baking dish for ease of handling.

Step 3: Bake Tiny Cakes

Picture of Bake Tiny Cakes

Bake according to directions for cupcakes, and check for doneness. These are about cupcake size, but your jars may be larger and need more time.

When they're done, close the lids on 'em. They're self-sealing, and you'll be able to see the seal forming!

Alternatively, you can add a chocolate ganache* to the top before sealing. Make sure to screw those caps on while the cakes are still hot though, to get that all-important seal.

* To make ganache: Heat 1 cup cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over 9oz chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over cake.

Step 4: Store or Enjoy. Do Both!

Picture of Store or Enjoy. Do Both!

This is one little beauty I popped onto a plate - but no need, they're easy to eat right out of the jar!

Once you've sealed these little treats, lable and date them. Then you're ready to serve, ship, or store.

According to user precision: "We've been doing these for years, they are great! I've got some right now that are over 6 months old, and I wouldn't hesitate to eat them."


RandalO (author)2017-02-28

Yum, yum botulism in a jar. What a thoughtful gift.

Does no one research anything anymore before posting it? The National Center for Home Food Preservation has expressly labelled this a dangerous, risky practice.

Whovian123 (author)2016-08-04

Such a good idea!!!

chefboyaj (author)2013-07-09

This idea is genius!

sabu.dawdy (author)2013-01-02

i was wondering to make ganache.. can we use these chocolates

WildStars13 (author)2009-10-13

do you think this would work with a normal bread recipe? We don't eat bread very quickly. It seems like every time I buy a loaf we eat half of it and the other half sits around until it molds. This would be the perfect amount to go with soups.

chorak (author)WildStars132011-10-14

No, you can't do this with a regular bread recipe. Only quick breads like zucchini or banana nut or kinds like that. I think something about the yeast in regular bread makes it so you can't do it in a jar like this.

scatron (author)chorak2011-11-14

I just ran across this site as per a friends suggestion for cake in a jar for my brother who is in Afghanistan. Could you Chorak, or someone else please share with me a banana nut bread recipe or pumpkin bread that would work like the cake in a car so that I may make some up to send to my brother. Thanks!

scoochmaroo (author)scatron2012-11-15

Try this one, if it's not too late!

katiebegood (author)chorak2012-06-23

Actually I've read articles about making yeast rolls in a canning jar. Just make sure to grease the sides and then put a piece of dough in the jar to fill about half.

asmith-9 (author)WildStars132011-04-07

Or keep a bread bag, turn inside out and rinse - allow to dry on the dish rack. Next time you buy a loaf, take half out and pop it in the used bread bag and pop it in the freezer. Put the other half in the fridge. Keep one bread bag spare for the next loaf you buy.

Gamer4Fire (author)WildStars132011-02-17

Try keeping your bread in the fridge instead of the counter, it will last longer. Much longer.

Sariamore (author)2012-11-14

I was wanting to know if you can jar pineapple upside down cake? My aunt wants me to send her some in the mail. I have done regular cakes. Awesome! Does anyone know if you can jar this type of cake?

scoochmaroo (author)Sariamore2012-11-15

You can certainly send her the cake in a jar, but it is not shelf stable for any longer than any other baked good, so make sure she eats it up!

Priestess (author)2012-04-12

SchBells and mikivanmom;

Actually you are supposed to grease the jar's or the cake will stick and it won't come out right. (Meaning it won't taste right) The part that touches the jars could be burned or dried out.

Then you just wasted so much time and effort. You would have to redue it again.

racheal1 (author)2011-12-17

Can I use regular jars. Canning Jars are very hard to come by, and very expensive to buy over the net (I am not in the USA). Jars that I use for making jams should be suitable as well, yes?

platinum15 (author)2011-07-24

Do they have to be special kinds of jars? Because I'm afraid the glass might melt or crack or something if i don't use the right kind.

Batness (author)platinum152011-10-09

Yes; make sure they are heat-resistant glass (some glass will tell you up to what temp. they can take). This 'Ible says to use canning jars, which *USUALLY* work great.

omgitsarhino (author)2009-07-28

how long do they usually last? I mean like food perishes quickly but does it last when its canned?

tecneeq (author)omgitsarhino2009-07-28

I would say, if done right, the cake should be good for years. Maybe it makes sense to bake the lid with the cake to sterilize it? Putting it on the jar without closing it might do the trick.

scoochmaroo (author)tecneeq2009-07-28

Yeah, I wouldn't trust these for too long, because the acidity isn't high enough to prevent the onset of botulism. Plus, they're way too delicious to let sit around for too long!

Gamer4Fire (author)scoochmaroo2011-02-17

Have you tried making the recipe with honey? Honey is a natural anti-bacterial and hydrophilic. It keeps baked goods both fresh and moist longer than using cane sugar.

ken_and_tiffer (author)tecneeq2009-07-28

wow dude, how many times do you feel that you need to post this? I think after three times we got the point!

scoochmaroo (author)omgitsarhino2009-07-28

It stays totally moist for a long time!

scoochmaroo (author)omgitsarhino2009-07-28

It does last longer. Some sites say 6 mo - 1 yr. The government issue cake lasted 36 years! Personally, I would seriously check them after 6 months before eating.

kelseymh (author)2009-07-28

Does this mean the jar is a lie, too? :-(

dombeef (author)kelseymh2010-11-06

No, the jar is real if you want to.

natalie0031 (author)kelseymh2010-09-26


kelseymh (author)natalie00312010-09-26

Google "the cake is a lie" (keep the quotes).

INSTRUCTUBAL (author)kelseymh2009-07-31

you win, my good sir.

savagesmith (author)kelseymh2009-07-30


PKTraceur (author)kelseymh2009-07-30

*facepal/\/\* (With a,) ;D (laughing look.)

watermelonhead (author)kelseymh2009-07-29


gamingman (author)kelseymh2009-07-29


bubbelgum56 (author)2010-09-12

:P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P

inquisitive (author)2010-06-17

PERFECT! My mother has a definite sweet tooth, but tires after a couple times of the same flavor-this is a great compromise so I can bake 2-3 different kinds and she can pick what she is in the mood for with ice cream for a few months! I bet some nice brownies would do well-would skip the cream cheese ribbon in them-but a caramel sauce and ganache would do it! Thank you!

avakatie (author)2009-11-23

I need jars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SchBells (author)2009-07-30

Neat instructable. I guess you don't have to grease the jar before pouring batter in or could you?

mikivanmom (author)SchBells2009-10-02

I wouldn't grease because it could cause the seals to not set properly..... I wouldn't store too long... one should remember to use safe canning methods and this is not a recommended safe method, so make sure you have a proper seal, make sure jar edges are CLEAN, always use brand new seals that were in a HOT water bath until you put them on the jar. Date the jars and use within a reasonable time period! I would be careful on how full and make sure they don't spill over... if they do, they won't seal properly as anything on the jar edge can hamper that process.

soapwytch (author)2009-09-14

I did this with pumpkin bread for Xmas last year and they were big hits with the family. :)

blondorbrown (author)2009-08-17

I made some of these in pint-size canning jars in Oct or Nov 1999. That way if Y2K really turned into a pain-in-the-neck, my family would have some eat some comfort food. I gave some to relatives for Xmas. 'They' said the cakes taste best if eaten in 6 months. I started with strictly fresh ingredients and sterilized jars & lids. We ate a some at 6 weeks, then 3 months, then once a month after that (I made a bunch, all different flavors). When I was down to 6 jars left, I opened them at intervals that stretched out to 3 years! All of them were great up to 1 1/2 years. After that, they were still very good up to the 2 year mark. After that, they were still definitely eatable, but just not as good tasting. Pound cake (I made this with a light lemon flavor) tasted the best, the longest, hands-down. Chocolate was second, tasted really good nearly as long (a chocolate pound cake, however, would be better). Banana bread was best in the 1st year. Years after doing this, I found that cake-in-a-jar is no longer officially recommended by the USDA. That is because they have not done current tests on them. Many things (like the cakes) are in old canning books, but the USDA has to test them with the newest standards before they recommend them again. After saying all this, I would not be afraid to do the same items again. I would avoid any cake/bread that has chunks of something in it. Things like carrot cake or a chunky zucchini, I would avoid. Study up on canning and you will understand why, but I don't have any problem with a 'smooth' recipe. Heavy cakes do best.

julibelle (author)blondorbrown2009-08-22

what a great reply, answering so many people's questions, quickly & concisely. The USDA ref is esp helpful! Yes! We can CAN!

twystedsyster (author)2009-08-13

Christmas Presents!!

You are absolutely right - these would make great Christmas presents! I bet that young nephews, nieces etc. would LOVE them! Fantastic instructable scoochmaroo! Thanks for posting! :-)

ruch1v (author)2009-08-10

wow, now that looks yummy

truovrld (author)2009-08-07

Maybe I'm taking my life in my own hands, but I've never heard of anyone getting food poisoning from cake. My biggest concern is it going stale, and this fixes that problem. Yum!

captaincoolness55 (author)2009-08-07

awsome! :D i'm totally doing this! i work at safeway, and they've been trying to make sales on the canning jars/lids, and i've been wanting to learn to jar things for years now. this is just one more reason why i HAVE to buy them! haha.

Hey a Victorain!

lol, what do you mean?

uberlush (author)2009-08-07

yet again, you haven't failed to impress me. :) i've got to say that i could never come up with somehting as quirky and neat as this - love it!

Zenoxio (author)2009-08-07

This would be perfect for when my sister makes her rainbow cupcakes, you'd be able to see the colors through the jar.

About This Instructable




Bio: Former Living & Food editor here at Instructables, now running! Follow me @sousvidely
More by scoochmaroo:Halloween FoodSparkle Unicorn Floof HatPumpkin Carving
Add instructable to: