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!
chefboyaj2 years ago
This idea is genius!
sabu.dawdy2 years ago
i was wondering to make ganache.. can we use these chocolates
WildStars135 years ago
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.
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 chorak3 years ago
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)  scatron2 years ago
Try this one, if it's not too late! http://www.instructables.com/id/Best-Pumpkin-Bread-Recipe/
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.

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.
Try keeping your bread in the fridge instead of the counter, it will last longer. Much longer.
Sariamore2 years ago
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)  Sariamore2 years ago
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!
Priestess3 years ago
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.
racheal13 years ago
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?
platinum154 years ago
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.
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.
how long do they usually last? I mean like food perishes quickly but does it last when its canned?
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)  tecneeq6 years ago
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!
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.
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)  omgitsarhino6 years ago
It stays totally moist for a long time!
scoochmaroo (author)  omgitsarhino6 years ago
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.
kelseymh6 years ago
Does this mean the jar is a lie, too? :-(
No, the jar is real if you want to.
Google "the cake is a lie" (keep the quotes).
you win, my good sir.
*facepal/\/\* (With a,) ;D (laughing look.)
bubbelgum564 years ago
:P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P :P
inquisitive5 years ago
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!
avakatie5 years ago
I need jars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SchBells6 years ago
Neat instructable. I guess you don't have to grease the jar before pouring batter in or could you?
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.
soapwytch5 years ago
I did this with pumpkin bread for Xmas last year and they were big hits with the family. :)
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.
what a great reply, answering so many people's questions, quickly & concisely. The USDA ref is esp helpful! Yes! We can CAN!
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! :-)
ruch1v6 years ago
wow, now that looks yummy
truovrld6 years ago
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!
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?
uberlush6 years ago
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!
Zenoxio6 years ago
This would be perfect for when my sister makes her rainbow cupcakes, you'd be able to see the colors through the jar.
i will have to try this sometime. sometime i get that craving and i just wished that i had some chocolate cake or brownie. since they are about the same you think brownie will work like this too?
garrett106 years ago
awesome 5 stars faved
kellychap6 years ago
Okay, but really, any of you asking if they will last for longer than a week - is it because they will actually be around more than a week? I think I could eat a jar an hour - but that's just me. If you are worried about the timeframe, then give them to all your friends and tell them to eat them quick!
scoochmaroo (author)  kellychap6 years ago
I could eat all 12 in an hour!!!!
OK..lets all just put a label on the cake and date it with a message that says "Eat Now and Enjoy" ;0) The presentation of a cake in a jar is cool enough for me. Thanks scoochamaroo.
scoochmaroo (author)  porcupinemamma6 years ago
Yeah, I recommend this more for novelty's sake than as a way to keep a cake around for 6 months. It's not like it takes a Herculean effort to make a new cake! I'm glad you enjoyed it!
I'm totally making teeny chistmas fruitcakes in jars. They're wicked cute!
scoochmaroo (author)  bytowneboy6 years ago
Excellent! Make sure to take pictures and post them!
bytowneboy6 years ago
The cake in the reference material was pressure canned; this is not. This is actually quite dangerous.
bytowneboy.. it's time to get off it.. seriously, how many instructables are USDA certified safe? Isn't the idea that we're doing something on our own, at our own discretion? Furthermore, where are your "safe" instructables? Looks like you're not a contributor, just a troll starving for attention.. scoochmaroo, this is another great idea! When I made the Pie in a Jar, everybody went nuts.. Thanks for putting your ideas out there for the rest of us..
scoochmaroo (author)  TexanBuilder6 years ago
Thanks! I'm glad you tried it and enjoyed it! Now, as an admin, I should take a second to reinforce our be nice policy. . . :)
bytowneboy6 years ago
Hrmm, I would hesitate to suggest that these are shelf stable for longer than a week.

Cakes usually cook to an internal temperature of 96 °C (205 °F); this is unfortunately not hot enough to kill botulism spores 121 °C (250 °F)

for a 'proper seal' these would need to be cooked with the lids on, just because the jar lid melts on the hot glass, does not mean that a proper seal has formed.

I would strongly recommend that you, and anyone else, interested in home canning review the USDA's principles of home canning guide
the reason it seals is not because the seal melts its because when hot air cools it creates a vacuum
The seal I'm talking about would is the seal that keeps bacteria and mould out.

1) these cakes are not cooked hot enough to kill botulism; and
2) the lids are put on after cooking, stuff gets in.

In canning, this is not a good seal.

I think the presentation is lovely and novel. But the end result and probably not a good idea to eat after a week.
precision6 years ago
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.
scoochmaroo (author)  precision6 years ago
Sweet! I'm going to add this comment to the directions if that's ok with you!
works for me
Excellent. I've made a few jar pies, but jar cake seems easier.
shamr0ck6 years ago
GREAT Idea. Given that the contents are hot when they come out of the oven, and you are using canning jars, does the seal get created while the cake cools? I've seen folks who can preserves this way and rather than use a boiling water bath, they put the lids on and invert on a tray. What has been your experience in how long the cakes will stay "fresh and safe"?
Hard Tymes6 years ago
I HATE COOKING SHOWS! ;) {yeah!, sure ya do!} Just the thought of doing a chocolate cake and having a glass of extra cold 2% milk with it!........or maybe with an extra large orange slice with a piece of cake? Just the thought of a cup of chilled just squeezed orange juice saving the pulp in the juice and dipping that slice of moist creamy chocolate cake with strawberry's on the side into that juice.............not counting the bowl fresh homemade french vanilla ice cream off to the side........ I think I'm in my happy place now..........thank you very much! Do I hate cooking shows?...........{an hour later, with eyes glazed over, with an empty plate & bowl at hand}....UH!? What was the question again!? GAWD! I love Instructables! Richard ~~ hardtymes@gmail.com
solo.card6 years ago
Have you actually tried one of these after 6 months? Or even a week?
scoochmaroo (author)  solo.card6 years ago
I've tried one after two weeks and it was awesome. I tried to keep them around longer, but I couldn't control myself! Maybe it's time to test out another batch!!
bd5 scoochmaroo6 years ago
Send me one, yum yum! Just yesterday I ate a can of Campbells Tomato soup with an expiration date of 2007. I'd be great tester!
PKTraceur6 years ago
These look seriously delicious!!! I think it'd be funny if so/\/\one brought a few of these to the beach, popped e, open and started eating the/\/\. /\/\ /\/\ /\/\, cake on the beach... (/\/\y " /\/\ " key is broken.) -PKT
lamedust6 years ago
These are beautiful self storing cakes!
scoochmaroo (author)  lamedust6 years ago
Thank you! I'm sorry you missed the last batch I brought in!
Talenthia6 years ago
I love this idea... I'm going to try it with sweet breads like zucchini and banana bread. (I hate to freeze these, they get too moist when defrosting) and with zucchini's riping in the garden it's perfect timing. I'm not so worried about the jars sealing... with anything that you can, you always have to check the seals to be sure they sealed properly, even when you pressure can or water bath can. If they don't seal properly then eat them right away. I can tomatoes every year and don't pressure seal or water bath.. The seals last for well over a year or more. Just use common sense. Thanks for the tutorial... !
scoochmaroo (author)  Talenthia6 years ago
Awesome! Post some pictures when you're done. I love the idea of incorporating canning fresh vegetables with canning fresh vegetable bread. Brilliant!
andycyca6 years ago
I've been trying to get away from those cakes, but now I can carry them anywhere. I hope you're satisfied All jokes asied, Good idea! So, the hot air becomes the seal when it cools down? Brilliant.
i kinda want to do this with mason jars now...
scoochmaroo (author)  Father Christmas6 years ago
whatsisface6 years ago
Does it come out easily or is it advisable to grease the inside of the jar first?
scoochmaroo (author)  whatsisface6 years ago
It wouldn't hurt to grease the jars first. I just forgot. The cakes I took out of the jar came out with no problem, but most people ate them right out of the jar!
i'm getting all excited imagining myself doing this with some delicious cake. thank you for the idea!
lemonie6 years ago
Oh yes! L
pjamestx6 years ago
Does anyone know if these were pressure canned? And would somebody please let me know if they should be trusted beyond a week? Someone let me know!!! I can't believe this hasn't been covered already!!!!!!!!!!one
The cake in the reference material was likely pressure canned, which is why they refer to it as a pound cake. I would not trust these beyond a week. This is a good idea... but needs to be retooled for a pressure canner... like the one in the article.
I assumed they referred to it as a pound cake because it was a pound cake. But that's just me.
Well, it probably was also a pound cake... but you won't get a floofy cake from a pressure canner, it will be dense, moist... like a pound cake.
randofo6 years ago
I love cake in a jar! It is my favorite kind of cake! I demand more cake in a jar!
scoochmaroo (author)  randofo6 years ago
I thought dragon cake was your favorite kind of cake?
Dinosaur cake is my favorite, but I have never eaten dinosaur cake. It really doesn't matter. The important part of my message was MORE CAKE!
I'd be afraid the glass would get too hot and break.
scoochmaroo (author)  CerealKiller6 years ago
You need to make sure you're using proper canning jars which are tempered to handle the high heats. No one I've read about using this technique has ever had a jar break!
tecneeq6 years ago
Awesome! I wonder if it's possible with bread :).
They make canned bread.
SinAmos6 years ago
Kind of awesome in a weird, weird way.:) I need some jars. 12 Wide mouthed Kerr.