Country Lore: Bake a Cake in a Jar

Reader tips for wiser living.
By Amber Lanier Nagle
December 2007/January 2008

You can bake this luscious Georgia pecan cake in a jar to give as a gift or to freeze for later use.

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Canning and preserving food was a necessary part of survival for my grandparents, who lived and raised their family in rural Georgia more than 60 years ago. As a child, I loved the way those glorious Mason jars adorned my grandmother’s shelves — dark amber fig preserves, emerald pepper relish, ruby-red stewed tomatoes and golden pickled peaches.

When I read about cooking and preserving cakes in glass canning jars several years ago, I immediately thought of my grandparents. That year, as a tribute to them, I made several “cake in a jar” recipes to give to friends and family. They were a hit!

You can use any purchased cake mix or adapt a recipe to make the “cakes in a jar,” but follow these basic tips:

  • Always use wide-mouth straight-sided glass canning jars.
  • Lightly coat the inside with vegetable shortening or a nonstick cooking spray.
  • Fill the jars half full with batter to allow room for the cakes to rise.
  • Wipe batter from the mouth and sides of jars before cooking to ensure a good seal.
  • Be cautious when removing the glass jars from the oven.
  • Store in your refrigerator, or in the freezer for up to six months.

One of my favorite jar cake recipes is Georgia pecan cake with apple, served with a colossal scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Enjoy!

Georgia Pecan Cake with Apple

3 1⁄2  cups all-purpose flour
1⁄2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 1⁄2 tsp salt
1 1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
4 large eggs
2 2⁄3 cups of sugar
2⁄3 cup solid vegetable shortening
2 cups applesauce
2⁄3 cup water
1 cup pecans, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease the insides of eight sterile, straight-sided, wide-mouth pint canning jars with vegetable shortening or a nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In another large mixing bowl, cream eggs, sugar and shortening. Add applesauce and water and blend well. Add flour mixture gradually to liquid ingredients and mix. Fold in chopped pecans.

Fill clean jars half full. Bake without lids for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and dry. While the cakes are baking, heat the lids and rings in boiling water.

When the cakes are done, carefully remove them from the oven one at a time, wipe the rim and immediately affix lids and rings. The jars will seal as the cakes cool. Allow several hours to cool completely before placing your cakes in the refrigerator or freezer.

—Adairsville, Georgia

Post a comment below.


3/22/2010 7:45:08 PM
I bake bread frequently in the 1 pint canning jars. I've measured the inside temperature of several loafs (jars) after baking. The max temp. that I've found is about 220F. To kill everything (Botulism) I believe you have to reach 240F. So for safety reasons I freeze or refrigerate the sealed jars. (Note: I bake for 29 minutes, at the 24 minute mark I add the rings with new lids and then put them back into the oven for 5 more minutes. This allows the ring/lid to be heated to high temperature and they are then screwed on tight after coming out of oven. Has worked well for me--no mold or problems after many months in fridge.

1/21/2009 10:47:02 AM There is sound reasoning here for not using this method but I wonder if the addition of warmed rum or bourbon after the cake is cooked and before the lid is put on would help solve the botulism problem. ;)

12/26/2008 5:02:47 PM
I have used this method on several different occasions. I even shipped some to my husband in Kuwait for Christmas this year. They stay fresh and hold up great.

11/19/2007 10:49:58 AM
I found the idea of baking a cake in a jar interesting but someone told me that is not safe and shared this link with me: /newsletter/Food_Safety_Bulletin_No__008_ (2007).pdf I have gotten good info from this site before soI am surprised that this tip was allowed to pass.

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