June 1, 2011

Baby Cakes

Pin It
Margaret's Morsels | Mini Mason Jar Cakes

The last few years, small desserts have become big business.  Brownie bites, cakepops -- decorated cake balls on a stick -- and cupcakes are just a few that have become popular.  Take a look in the baking aisle at the bookstore and you'll see a proliferation of books dedicated to the concept of diminutive desserts.  There are even cooking classes on the topic for the home baker.


I recently took a "Baby Cakes" class at a local cooking school.  I learned how to make individual pudding cakes, chocolate bouchons -- a two bite cake that resembles a cork (bouchon) -- and decorate petit fours.  The recipe that got my creative juices flowing the most, however, was mini Mason jar cakes.


Margaret's Morsels | Mini Mason Jar Cakes




Mason jars are glass jars with flat lids and screw top bands that are traditionally used to can food.  They can also be used to bake and serve individual desserts such as cakes, cobblers, pies and crisps.  You aren't canning the desserts, but using the jars as vessels to bake the desserts. The desserts should not be stored for long periods, but eaten within a few days of baking.


Jars are available in a variety of sizes, but the four ounce jars are wonderful for mini desserts.  The serving size is enough to satisfy your sweet tooth without feeling as though you're indulging.


You don't need a special cake recipe to make mini Mason jar cakes, but you do need a lot of jars.  I used a cake mix and ended up with 25 cakes. If you don't have enough jars, use the remaining batter for cupcakes or miniature loaves.  If you're making a cake from scratch and it can be halved, you can do that too.


Prepare the cake batter according to the directions.  Coat the clean jars with nonstick cooking spray and add approximately 1/4 cup cake batter, wiping any excess off the rims of the jars.


Margaret's Morsels | Mini Mason Jar Cakes




To make it easier to move the jars into and out of the oven, set them on a rimmed baking sheet.  I put them in a 9 x 13-inch pan.  Don't let the jars touch each other; air needs to circulate to ensure even baking.


Margaret's Morsels | Mini Mason Jar Cakes


Bake the cakes at the temperature listed on the recipe for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  The cakes bake much quicker than they would in a cake pan, so keep an eye on them to make sure they don't overbake.  Remove the pan from the oven and set the jars on a wire rack to cool completely.


Once the cakes are completely cool, they can be frosted or left plain.  If you leave them plain, there's enough room in the jar to add a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream when the cakes are served.  To frost the cakes, spread your favorite homemade or store bought frosting over the top of the cakes, wiping the rims to remove any excess frosting.  


Margaret's Morsels | Mini Mason Jar Cakes



When you're finished, put on the lids and the screw top bands.


You can leave the jars as is or go one step further and decorate the lids. Use some fabric -- something that coordinates with the party theme or season is a nice touch -- to cut circles or squares to put on top of the lids before the screw top bands are added.  If you don't have enough fabric, cut a circle that fits only the lids with no overhang when the bands are added.


Margaret's Morsels | Mini Mason Jar Cakes
Fabric left to right:  circle, square, lid only

Mini Mason jar cakes are great for a casual get together or picnic.  Unlike a frosted layer cake, the jars are easy to transport.  If you want to make the cakes year round, it's a good idea to stock up on the jars while they're in season at a good price.  The jars will be hard to find and cost a lot more if you wait until later in the year.


Margaret's Morsels | Mini Mason Jar Cakes
A tray of mini Mason jar cakes.

© Margaret's Morsels

6 comments:

  1. I love this idea. I live away from my family and this would be great to take to family get-togethers without worrying about mess. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm glad you like the idea. It's such a unique way to make and serve dessert. Thanks for writing!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love mini-desserts. This is a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Michele! I love mini desserts, especially at the end of a big meal! You can sample more than one dessert without feeling guilty:)

      Delete
  4. Great idea! What size jar did you use? 4 oz?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I'm glad you like it! Yes, I used 4 ounce Mason jars. You may be able to find the jars on sale now that canning season is winding down.

      Delete