Thursday, December 20, 2007

Teacher gifts

Each year we like to try to say a thank you to our boys' teachers at school. I was out of ideas this year when I ran across a post over at Angry Chicken about cakes baked in jars. Whaaa? How perfect is THAT idea? And it inspired me. Yup.

It was as easy as making any quick-bread recipe...and I got to give away some more canning jars (I really am trying to thin things out around here before we move - no, no one has looked at the house in 3 weeks, but a girl has to be hopeful, doesn't she?).

I made Pumpkin Spice Cake and here's the recipe:

Pumpkin Spice Cake in Jars

1 c seedless raisins
1 c walnuts
2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
4 eggs
2 c granulated sugar
1 c salad oil
16 oz can pumpkin

Preheat oven to 325-degrees.

Brush the inside of 8 (1 pint, straight-sided) Kerr or Ball Quilted Crystal (12 oz, straight-sided) canning jars with shortening (DO NOT use Pam); set aside. The 1 pint jars are shorter but bigger around than the decorative 12 oz jars, use either one. Sterilize the jars, lids & rings first.

Coarsely chop the raisins & walnuts; set aside. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cloves, cinnamon & ginger in a large bowl. Add raisins & walnuts; toss to lightly combine. In another large bowl, beat eggs at high speed until thick & yellow (2-3 minutes). Gradually beat in the sugar until thick & light. At low speed, beat in the oil & pumpkin; blend well. Gradually stir in the flour mixture until well blended.

Divide among the 8 canning jars (should be slightly less than 1/2 full).
Wipe the sides of the jars off (inside/ outside) in case you slop or it'll burn. Place jars on a cookie sheet or they'll tip over. (I used our canning funnel to fill the jars, so there was no slop).

Bake in preheated 325-degree oven for about 40 minutes or until a long pick inserted into the center (deep) of the cakes comes out clean. (My jars took about 15 minutes longer!)

When the cakes test done, remove the jars, one-by-one & immediately place a lid & ring on & screw down tightly. Make sure to use HEAVY-DUTY hot pads because the jars are VERY hot. Place on the counter to cool. You'll hear a "plinking" sound when they have sealed. I nearly forgot, keep the lids & rings in the hot water until you're ready to use them; you want the gaskets hot so that the jars will seal.

I did use pecans instead of walnuts, but aside from that I followed the recipe. Only one didn't seal, so we will eat that one!

I printed out the recipe (partly so that the recipients can make it themselves if they want to, and partly so that they can see what's in them - in case of food allergy or some such) and the boys decorated each one. We ribboned and tissue papered the top of each jar, attached the recipe/cards, and sent them off to school.

The good news is that we still have five jars to share with friends and neighbours.

Happy Holidays,


**later edit - sorry about the wacky fonts...I don't know what's up there, and can't seem to get it to be normal!** -L


Quilt Pixie said...

great idea -- I absolutely love consumable Christmas gifts as I so don't need more "stuff" hanging around...

Quilt Nut said...

love this idea!

SandyQuilts said...

So I'm curious how did the jar cakes taste?

Lisa said...

A little too good, actually. The first jar didn't seal - so we had to eat it. Then we had to eat a couple more, just to make sure they were that good. Now the boys think we should make this recipe just as muffins...

They were good, and even a couple weeks later were lovely and moist.