Birthday Cakes in a Jar

by Natasha on February 16, 2014

Birthday Cakes in a Jar

Now that Valentine’s Day is over, let’s get on to more important things. Like my birthday. Technically it’s not until Wednesday, but I like to make my birthday week filled with as many obnoxiously sprinkly posts as possible. Unfortunately, I’m going out of town tomorrow for work for my entire birthday week, so I went with a sprinkly portable cake that I plan to take with me on my trip. Don’t worry, though, my real birthday cakes (I always make two) will be coming, but just a little later than usual.

I totally meant to post these little jar cakes for Small Batch Saturday, but Saturday turned into Sunday, so Small Batch Sunday it is. I’m trying my best to stick with the schedule, but this every other week thing is way too complicated for me. Anyway, this recipe makes 2 little cakes which can be baked directly in mason jars.

I chose yellow cake with mocha frosting because when I was a kid, I only liked 2 kinds of cake- yellow cake with chocolate frosting, or mocha cake with mocha frosting. Both were from a cake mix, and I’m embarrassed to say that the frosting was usually from a can. By the way, whatever happened to mocha flavored cake mix? Does anyone else remember that? These little cakes are combination of my two favorite childhood flavors.

Birthday Cakes in a JarSprinklesBirthday Cakes in a JarBirthday Cakes in a Jar

Not pictured: Aaron trying to steal a jar of cake and me running after him with a squirt bottle screaming, “Drop the cake!” We are so mature.

Birthday Cakes in a Jar

Yield: makes 2 half pint sized mason jar cakes

Ingredients

    For the Cake:
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • Yolk of 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the frosting
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon good quality cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coffee extract
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • sprinkles for topping

Instructions

    For the Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Grease and flour 2 half pint sized mason jars (or use a baking spray such as Baker’s Joy or Cake Release).
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and baking soda until the baking soda is dissolved.
  4. Add the egg yolk, vanilla, and melted butter. Whisk to combine.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.
  6. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined.
  7. Divide the batter equally between the prepared jars. Place the jars on a cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the cakes, and turn them out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
  9. For the frosting:
  10. With an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until it has become light and creamy.
  11. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and beat on low to combine.
  12. Turn the mixer up to medium and beat for an additional minute.
  13. Add the coffee extract and milk and beat to combine.
  14. Assembly:
  15. Place the frosting in a 12-inch piping bag fitted with a star tip
  16. If your cake has domed up on the top, slice it off to make the cake flat (the dome is perfect for taste testing).
  17. Slice the cake horizontally into 2 even layers.
  18. Place one layer of the cake in the bottom of the jar.
  19. Pipe a layer of frosting over the cake.
  20. Add an additional layer of cake and pipe an additional layer of frosting.
  21. Top with sprinkles.
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Cake recipe adapted from Small-Batch Baking

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christine February 18, 2014 at 12:23 am

This is a lovely idea! So versatile with the colorful frosting!

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2 Natasha February 18, 2014 at 11:19 pm

Thanks, Christine!

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3 Ashley February 18, 2014 at 8:45 am

Bahaha I can just picture you running after him. My dog always tries to steal my food as I’m photographing it … I have shots where her nose comes into frame. lol So bad. These are so fun! And I love all the sprinkles – totally necessary for birthdays!
Ashley recently posted…Sweet Potato and Black Bean PizzaMy Profile

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4 Natasha February 18, 2014 at 11:19 pm

Thanks, Ashley! My dog’s nose ends up in the frame quite a bit, too!

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5 Abbie @ Needs Salt February 18, 2014 at 9:54 am

What an adorable idea! These birthday cakes look so delicious and I love the jars. (huge Ball Mason crush over here.)
Pinning!
Abbie @ Needs Salt recently posted…coconut caramelized banana chocolate chip gelato with dark chocolate magic shell + toasted coconutMy Profile

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6 Natasha February 18, 2014 at 11:20 pm

Thanks, Abbie! I love Mason jars, too. It’s just more fun to eat dessert out of a jar!

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7 Erika February 18, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Bahahaha that “not pictured” is the best footnote of blog posts, ever. I can’t really picture Erik ever trying to steal my cake (pie, much more likely), but I can totally see that scenario happening with me and my siblings.

Okay seriously?! This is SUCH an adorable idea. Portable birthday cake = the best birthday cake? Sadly, I don’t think I was ever introduced to mocha cake mix as a kid, but it sounds delightful. And PS. I love Bisquick (like LOVELOVELOVEomgIwantitnow love) so you’re not getting any shame for loving boxed mixes over here!
Erika recently posted…Miso Avocado Bowl + Egg and Tomato SoupMy Profile

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8 Natasha February 18, 2014 at 11:25 pm

Aaron never used to care for cake, but he’s become a real cake fiend lately! I’m glad you share my love of mixes. I still love them, but not the canned frosting.

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9 Elizabeth @ SugarHero.com February 18, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Oh heeeeey, girl, happy birthday week! I hope that you get to celebrate and have a special day, even though you’re out of town. These cute little cakes seem like the perfect early celebration, and I can’t wait to see your other cake coming up!
Elizabeth @ SugarHero.com recently posted…Chocolate Rose CupcakesMy Profile

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10 Natasha February 18, 2014 at 11:30 pm

Thanks, Elizabeth! I tend to go overboard with Bday cakes, so there will be lots coming up!

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11 Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen February 18, 2014 at 8:55 pm

Happy Birthday, Natasha! When I was little, my favorite cake was a rich yellow cake with chocolate frosting, too. However, a close second was a moist white cake with vanilla buttercream. I never had mocha cake from a boxed mix, but I bet it was tasty! Even as a kid, I loved coffee ice cream and all things mocha. Have a wonderful birthday! May all your hopes and dreams come true. :) xo

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12 Natasha February 18, 2014 at 11:27 pm

I love white cake mix, too. I’m still searching for a recipe that tastes like the mix, which is kind of silly. Thanks for stopping by, Stacy!

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13 Sarah|pickledcapers February 18, 2014 at 10:15 pm

Is a spoon sufficient to get every crumb of cake and gob of frosting out of those cute little jars, or should I be prepared to use my finger?
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14 Natasha February 18, 2014 at 11:28 pm

I would totally not judge you if you used your finger. Sometimes that is necessary with cake! :)

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15 Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes February 19, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Happy birthday to you!!!! These are too cute!
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16 Natasha February 19, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Thanks, Ashley!

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17 Nancy @ gottagetbaked February 19, 2014 at 7:49 pm

Happy birthday, Natasha! These little cakes are adorable! I’m such a sucker for dessert in jars and for sprinkles…and for cake and frosting…basically I’ll eat any dessert. Don’t apologize for the cake mix love. I used nothing BUT cake mix for most of my life and I loooooooved them. I hope you’re eating fabulous food and drinking delicious booze and getting spoiled with presents all day long!
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18 Natasha February 19, 2014 at 11:06 pm

Thanks so much Nancy! I used cake mix for most of my life, too! I still love it, but will never go back to canned frosting.

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19 Julia | JuliasAlbum.com February 21, 2014 at 1:23 am

Natasha, as always, you amaze me with your photography skills. Not only is your cake in a jar gorgeous, I love how you captured that field of colorful sprinkles!
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20 Natasha February 23, 2014 at 10:54 pm

Thanks, Julia!

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21 Asmita February 22, 2014 at 8:08 am

Hi Natasha,
Love these little cake jars. Wish I had seen this post before, would have made it for my daughter’s birthday for sure.
Too cute!
Asmita recently posted…Bake Party-Cookies And DessertsMy Profile

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22 Natasha February 23, 2014 at 10:54 pm

Thanks, Asmita! I hope your daughter had a good birthday!

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23 Natasha February 22, 2014 at 4:32 pm

This looks lovely! I’ve been looking for a cake recipe for my sister’s birthday, I think this one is just lush.x

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24 whatjessicabakednext February 25, 2014 at 9:41 am

Wow, these look amazing! Loving putting a birthday cake into a jar- so fun! :)
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25 Rebecca February 26, 2014 at 7:40 am

Any tips for making a large batch? I’m making 16 for a baby shower!

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26 Nicole @ Vanilla and Beans March 2, 2014 at 5:36 am

Happy birthday, Natasha! Hope you had a lovely time!
Those cakes look so pretty. Yummy!
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27 Avanika {Yumsilicious Bakes} March 9, 2014 at 1:39 am

I absolutely LOVE cakes in jars! It makes them look so much more adorable!
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28 Terry May 14, 2014 at 11:52 pm

What a wonderful idea. I gave them a try and found them to be delicious and adorable. One thing though, I believe you have listed the wrong size mason jars. I tried the recipe using pint size jars. They were way too big for the amount of batter being split between the two jars. Tried again using half pint jars and they turned out perfect!

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29 Natasha May 15, 2014 at 9:40 am

Terry, I think you are correct! I meant to say half pint jars. I’ll edit that in the recipe. Thanks!

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