How to Can Cakes in a Jar


Chemist Nicolas Appert invented canning to help Napoleon feed his army. Appert heated and sealed foods in jars to preserve it. In the mid-18th Century, John Mason invented a metal-threaded lid that tightly sealed a jar with a rubber ring. Previously, a jar had to be sealed with wax. Twenty-five years later, Henry Putnam invented a jar with a glass lid and metal clamp. Botulism and contamination were no longer culprits in faulty canning and today pickles, jams, salsas and even cakes have extended shelf life because of canning. Cakes can be canned in a jar, as a novelty and as a method to preserve a cake.

Things You'll Need

  • 6 wide-mouth, pint-size glass canning jars
  • 6 canning jar lids and rings
  • Large pot of boiling water
  • Cake recipe ingredients or prepackaged cake mix
  • Sifter
  • Medium bowl
  • Large bowl
  • Electric beater
  • Measuring cup
  • Rubber spatula
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 4-sided baking sheet
  • Oven timer
  • Oven
  • Bamboo skewer

Preparing Canned Cakes

  • In a hot-water bath, sterilize six 1-pint wide-mouth canning jars, lids and rings. Boil these for 10 minutes. Soak the lids and rings in the hot water until you need them. Air-dry jars and bring them to room temperature. Spray the inside of each jar with nonstick cooking spray. Be careful not to spray the rim.

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare cake batter. Pour a cup of batter into each of the greased 1-pint canning jars. Place jars on a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Poke cake with a bamboo skewer to check if the cake is fully cooked. when done remove the jars from the oven and cool.

  • Make sure the cake and jar are cooled completely. Remove each lid and ring from the hot-water bath as you seal each jar. To seal, place a lid on top of jar and then screw on the ring reasonably tight. As the lid cools, it will automatically produce an airtight seal. You should hear a "ping" noise as the lid seals.

Tips & Warnings

  • Instead of using a cup to measure messy batter, just fill jars half way with batter. Try this method for baking sweet breads, pies or cupcakes. Technically, the art of canning should preserve the cake for a few years, but a good rule for eating this type of preserved dessert would be a few months for premium taste and freshness. If you are sending these jars through the mail, be sure to wrap them with bubble wrap. Decorate a jar with a 10-inch fabric square cut with pinking shears. Attach it with a ribbon or raffia and a personalized note card identifying what type of cake it is. Display or pack jarred cakes in the original canning-jar box.
  • To ensure that cakes will not be contaminated, always use jars designated for canning. Do not continue to boil the water after immersing the lids and rings. Make sure the cake is entirely baked because under-baked cakes could mean food poisoning. Do not bake cakes in jars larger than the one pint because timing and temperature coincides with the pint measurement. Use a mitt or hot pad to remove hot jars from the oven. Never fill jars more than half-full with batter because cake rises as it bakes.

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  • Photo Credit One Dollar in a Glass Jar image by Flavijus Piliponis from
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