I am absolutely in love with my friend and coworker Pierrette (aka Parrot). She’s so special to me, words could not describe it.
Parrot’s birthday was recently and she likes to take the day off work so I knew I wouldn’t see her. But I still wanted to bake her something special so I put my thinking cap on. I didn’t know if her co-workers would have cake planned, so I didn’t want to overshadow whatever it was that they were doing (and as it turns out that was a smart move on my part), but I wanted to make something that would last the day and was relatively portable. You know, so she could bring it home with her at the end of the day. Cakes aren’t the best for that.
Lately there have been a few magazine articles and Pinterest posts about cake-in-a-jar. A couple years ago I baked a blueberry – lemon cake for Parrot’s birthday and I thought if I could just figure out a way to make it in a “to-go” cup – it would be perfect. The jar idea is wonderful for this.
Isn’t it pretty?
Let me tell you about what I did. I am a freak genius sometimes.
What I initially planned to do was to bake the cakes in the jars themselves. Almost every recipe I found online described this method. So I went down to the pantry and pulled out some of my canning jars, and brought them up to the kitchen. The plan was I would whip up my vanilla cupcake batter. But as I was putting everything together, the warning label on the side of the canning jars really jumped out at me. It said, “UNDER ABSOLUTELY NO CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER SHOULD THESE JARS BE PLACED IN THE OVEN“. Ummm. It didn’t say why I couldn’t put it in the oven – but to describe that warning as strongly worded would be an understatement, don’t you think? Like, what’s the worst that could happen? I suppose they could explode. That would be no good. So the original plan went in the trash (as, if you’ve read my blog before, it so very often seems to do).
Back up plan is this: bake the cake in a cake pan (or 3, in this case), and place it in the jars once cooled. Fine. Not as cool, but will still be tasty…
In the end, I made my go-to vanilla cake recipe, which is light and fluffy. I cut it into cubes (as you can see in the above photo) and set it aside.
Parrot likes blueberries and if you saw in my previous post about pie here, you know that I found a pretty good blueberry pie filling, which I thought would go nicely with the vanilla cake.
Then it was my intention to put together a lemon custard and some whip cream, layer them in the jars and serve it like that. The ECBF thought lemon and blueberry wasn’t a great combination, and he was my tester for these, so for his I made a coconut pudding. I happened to have some leftover from a batch of monkey bread I’d made recently and posted about here – so I put it together. I guess I’ve never made cooked pudding before, because I wasn’t exactly sure what it would turn out to be like, you know, once it cooled and set. Well this was disgusting. The coconut pudding was basically this gloppy, icky, sturdy, stuff (and you never want to describe something you’ve cooked as “sturdy”, trust me). It wouldn’t do. It was gelatinous. Yuck.
Guess what people? Whipped cream fixed everything. You can hide a lot of sins with some whipped cream. I whipped it up, tossed in my coconut jelly (yuck) and continued to blend until I essentially had the custard I was originally looking for – except not lemon, but I digress.
I also tried my hand at toasting some coconut in the oven for the first time. It was wonderful. If you’ve never toasted your own coconut before, I strongly recommend it. I put about a cup of unsweetened coconut in the bottom of a 3×8″ cake pan – the tall sides make it very easy to give it a shake while it’s baking – and baked it at 325 for 10 minutes or so, tossing it around every couple of minutes. It turned out perfectly and we snacked on what I had leftover after the cake jarring in a variety of ways, on top of yogurt, in cereal, with hot chocolate. Huge hit.
Back to the assembly of my jars, though. As simple as this:
Throw the cubed cake into the bottom of a canning jar, add a little of the coconut custard, some toasted coconut, then the blueberry pie filling, a little more cake, custard, coconut, pie filling, then seal it up and serve it with a plastic spoon. Take-away cake!
I would definitely try these again. There is so much info out there on things you can do with jars. There’s a peanut butter cup cake that appealed to me – maybe I will try that next. Stay tuned.
If you happen to be interested, some of the sites that led me to this great idea can be found here:
Enjoy! If you give it a try, let us know how you make out.