When someone you love very much has to be away a lot, care packages become somewhat of a therapy session. Thinking of things to put in them, buying/making those things and after week 35 being creative and original takes up a lot of your time. But it's time well spent because it is the one thing your hands touch that your special someone can also touch and hopefully in turn feel how much you love and miss them. Wow that's a lot of pressure on one little cardboard box, but it's how I feel and how I approach every week! Yeah, we have a close relationship with our post master.. he sees us OFTEN :) SO long story short this post came out of one of those weeks early on when I was desperately looking for an idea. My hubby's birthday was coming up and I wanted so bad to be able to make him a birthday cake, but with times zones and "bad guys" between us I had to come up with another way to get something special to him in one piece and edible. This is what I came up with...
It started out as "birthday-cake-in-a-jar" but to my surprise was such a hit with my guy and his buddies... it's now just "cake-in-a-jar" sent as often as possible "just because" and I always make sure there are plenty to share!
There are many recipes out there to actually bake the cake in the mason jar, but I wanted all the frosting and goodies already together so my busy guy could just dive in with a spoon and have a ready made dessert and a little touch of home. The requirements I had was it had to be able to keep for an extended period of time and seal tightly to try and stretch that as long as possible, plus it had to be sturdy to withstand shipping. If you are making these as a gift for someone that lives with you or near you.. you could add any fillings or things that required refridgeration. But for me that wasn't the case so this is what I came up with and amazingly they make it to the other side of the world in tact and are still delicious. This is what I do.
I make a boxed cake mix (you could totally substitute homemade cake/icing recipes of your choice I'm just using some short cuts). Once the cake is baked and cooled I use the ring of either the regular or wide mouth jar I'm using and cut circles out of the cake.
After much trial and error this seems to work the best to get the jars filled to the edges. I also use a long spoon to really press down the cake and fill all the edges. Now just start layering!
This "combo" is this most popular request so far... chocolate cake, chocolate icing and marshmallow fluff (my take on a hostess cupcake).
To get the marshmallow and icing into the jar easily I put each in a microwave safe bowl and warm them up a little until they are pourable or easier to drizzle.
I do the marshmallow....
then the icing..... now start with cake again and repeat your layers until your jar is full!
I usually end with icing so it's like a real cake, then make sure the edge of the jar is wiped clean, put on the lid and ring and screw it down tight.
One cake mix should do 5-6 pint jars depending on how tight you pack them and how much extra "stuff" you put in. I did three with the marshmallow and two with just chocoalte cake and chocolate icing.
I have tried:
I have tried:
*Chocolate Cake/Chocolate Icing/Peanut Butter (Reeses Peanut Butter Cup)
*White Cake/Chocolate Icing/Crumbled Oreo Cookies
*Red Velvet Cake/White Icing
*Chocolate Cake/Chocolate Icing/Crumbled Twix Bars
*Chocolate Cake/Chocolate Icing/Marshmallow Fluff/Crumbled Graham Crackers (S'mores)
*Chocolate Cake/Chocolate Icing/Marshmallow Fluff (Hostess Cupcake)
I usually put the "flavor" on the top with a label and then use a ribbon and attach a message and spoon to each jar. They look really cute and make great gifts for a birthday, special occasion or "just because" :)
****If you do mail your treats.. this is what I do and knock on wood they've made it perfectly every time! I take each jar and wrap it completely in bubble wrap and then seal it well in packing tape. Then I stack them side by side in a bubble wrapped lined box and try to fill any extra space in the box with bubble wrap, grocery bags or newspaper.. anything to lessen the movement. I've learned the tighter packed the boxes are the less things move and the more likely they are to get where they are intended in one piece.
So if you have a loved one down the street, across the state or in another time zone I hope you'll give these a try. It's a great way to show someone they are loved and thought of even if you can't say it in person. Let me know what you come up with!
Happy Baking, Lindsey