Friday, May 25, 2012

Jarring Cupcakes

Okay, the holiday season is in the distant future but summer is here and you have a bit more free time on your hands. You know when the holidays come about you are going to be running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to get everything together. Now, add to that, you bake a lot during the holidays and much of your family is on the other side of the country or even world. How can you send goods to them without fear of it going bad? Simple - Can it. Or in this case, jar it. That's right, I am talking about canning/jarring your cupcakes.

Why? Oh simple.

1) You can bake them right in the jars.
2) They can be sealed, just like jams and jellies.
3) Up to a 6 month shelf life, so you can do it way in advanced!
4) Can be packaged and shipped with ease.
5) They are just too damned cute!!!

So how does one do this? It is actually much simpler than you would expect! Let's get to it!!!! Things you will need....
  • Cake Mix
  • "Canning" Jars, lids and seals
  • Large Glass Baking Dish
  • Large Pot W/Lid
  • Clean dry thick washcloth
  • Tongs
Now, what to do? Simple!
  1. Sterilize your jars, lids and seals as directed by the company.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  3. Prepare your cake batter as you normally would.
  4. Carefully spoon in batter to each jar, make sure to not get any on the rim. For quart jars fill half way, for pint 2/3rds. You don't want the cake to rise over the rim.
  5. Place the jars in the large glass baking dish, making sure they don't touch.
  6. Fill the baking dish itself with water to around 1/2 inch around the jars. 
  7. Place in oven and bake 35-55 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Time depends on oven and how large a jar you used.
  8. While the cupcakes are baking place the lids and seals in a large pot and cover with water. 
  9. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. 
  10. Cover and let sit until cupcakes are cooked.
  11. Once the cupcakes are cooked, with the tongs, carefully remove 1 jar at a time from the water.
  12. Dry off 1 lid and seal.
  13. Place seal on the top of the jar and then the lid.
  14. Carefully with a thick dry washcloth tighten down the lid fully.
  15. Set on wire rack and allow to cool.
  16. Repeat with the remaining jars.
  17. After 10 minutes check to see if they have sealed. Push down on the center of the seal, if it doesn't pop back, congrats! You have a Jarred Cupcake with a highly extended shelf life****. If the seal pops back up, well then it didn't seal and needs to be eaten within the next few days like any cake. So, win-win. LOL And that is all there is to!
So, if you got a down day this summer, why not take the time to pump out a couple dozen of these babies! Fresh cake when ever you want it, anytime the kids school calls wanting something for a bake sale or to ship out at Christmas! ^_^ And don't forget teachers! These little cakes make the perfect gift for them!


**** Make sure to run a test batch to test your own batter.  Some last longer than others. Some can better than others. Shelf life will vary. Some places say up to a year, others 6 months.   Make sure not to undercook your cake, it will cause problems with shelf life. Keep the jars you have not sealed in the oven while sealing them one at a time, this is to keep them at proper temp. Do not use frostings, icings or the like on top of the cake. If you want to pair your cake with a topping,  do it in a different jar and use a frosting with no products that would require refrigeration. The National Food Safety Database recommends keeping canned breads and cakes refrigerated or frozen if not using right away, as the seal may not be reliable. This is intended for personal use only and are not to be used for commercial purposes.  Many major jar manufacturing companies only guarantee their jars for freezing & water bath, steamer and pressure cooker canning processes, and do not warranty them for baking purposes. 

And as always - When you do eat the cake after canning it, check it first!

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