Monday, November 04, 2013

Cupcakes in a Jar

A good friend of mine from college is pregnant and as a way to say congratulations, I thought it would be fun to bake and mail her some cupcakes. Who wouldn't love to receive surprise cupcakes in the mail? Especially when you are pregnant you basically have carte blanche to eat whatever you want (eating for two blah blah blah).

Of course, mailing cupcakes is something of a challenge. How to send them so they don't end up totally squished with icing everywhere? I considered various packing options (individual boxes? send the cupcakes un-iced?), but nothing really seemed like it would get the job done. So I did what any self-respecting American with a smart phone would do. I went to Google.

Turns out the answer is pretty simple, awesome, and adorable. Bake the cupcakes in jars!

As far as first attempts go, I wouldn't say it was a triumph. But I wouldn't say it was a disaster either. There is definitely room for improvement, but all in all the cupcakes were cute and arrived safe and sound.

It's not that complicated really. Cupcakes in a jar. As advertised.

I used a box spice cake mix (hey, nobody's perfect), and prepared it as directed. I divided the batter between 12 half-pint jelly jars, filling them out about halfway. And that was my mistake; I should have left more room to allow for the cupcakes to rise. Turns our a box of cupcake mix these days makes about 18 cupcakes, so when you only make a dozen....yeah, they are big cupcakes.

 Oops. Too much cupcake in the jar.

Most of the jars were filled to the brim with cake which meant there was no room for icing. I had to scoop out a bunch of the cake and (gasp!) throw it away. Yes, I had to waste precious cake, and trust me it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But live and learn, right? Next time I can make more cupcakes! 

Oh, and regarding the baking process, you just put the jars on a baking sheet and bake them at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes (or whatever the baking directions are on your recipe or box). To ice the cupcakes, I piped on the icing using a pastry bag and cake decorating tip. I suppose you could spoon it in, but it definitely wouldn't look as nice. I also dyed the icing blue as my friend is having a baby boy. 

After icing the cupcakes and popping on the lids, I put the jars in the freezer for about a day to make sure they were frozen solid. I packed them in a box, wrapping each jar in newspaper, and mailed them out! Easy peasy, lemon squeasy. 

If you're looking for more specific directions or other fun cupcake ideas, check out the blog, Cupcake Project. It's where I got the idea!

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