Friday, 21 October 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes in a Jar

Hello again!  It's Christine from the What's Up, Cupcake? Blog.  Another tutorial for you - this time as part of my Sweet Treats Saturday post.  

You've probably seen cupcakes in a jar popping up all over the web and in your local bakeries.  There are a few variations that I've seen: ready made cupcakes popped into a jar, cakes cut up into pieces and put into a jar, and those made directly in it.  I'm going to show you how to do the latter.  I think this looks the cleanest of the bunch and is the most novel (a cupcake baked in a jar... what?!).  It's really not difficult to do, but it gets a great reaction from people, and is a great way to give out cupcakes.

These make perfect party favors, gifts for co-workers (especially when you don't want to just leave a cupcake out in the open on their desk), teachers gifts, etc.

What you'll need:
  • Canning jars. I use a minimum 8oz jar as that will hold a standard cupcake.  You can go larger, but consider cooking time, and how to balance the contents.
  • Cake batter and frosting. I made red velvets as they're a great color for the holidays, and can look really good with a contrasting green fabric top.  You can also make blue velvets, funfetti cupcakes, or really anything that you like.  
  • Decorating supplies.  This can be fabric scraps and raffia, ribbon, or even simple card stock cut to fit into the lid of the jar.
That's it!  The canning jars are everywhere, you just have to know where to look.  Check your local craft stores or grocery stores in the canning/baking aisle.  I bought mine a Wal-Mart as they had the best value (a dozen for approx. $8), and the exact size that I was looking for.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe from Goodies by Anna

This recipe will make about 2 dozen cupcakes, or the same amount in 8oz jars.

Cupcake Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp (1 oz) red food coloring
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp white distilled vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined.  Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Pour batter into the individual cupcake pans or jars.  The same amount of batter would be used for a jar. It should only fill about a quarter full - keep in mind that the jar does not have a wider top portion like a standard cupcake, so it does rise a bit higher.  You still want enough room for frosting.

The batter on the left, baked cupcake on the right. It more than doubles in size.

Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.  Let cakes cool completely before frosting.  If you baked them in the canning jars, it will take about an hour before they are cooled enough to add the frosting.

Frosting Ingredients:
*This is the edited frosting to make half a batch.  Goodies by Anna posted the original recipe with the comment that it made far too much so to half it in the future.
3/4 cup butter (one and a half sticks), softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk depending on desired consistency

Cream the cream cheese in a medium bowl with an electric mixer for 1 minute.  Scrape down the bowl and add the butter, beating for 1-2 minutes, or until incorporated.

Add the brown sugar, pinch of salt, and vanilla extract, and beat until blended.

Turn off the mixer and gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing well in between each addition.  Alternate adding the sugar and milk until the frosting is smooth and has reached your desired consistency.

Once the cupcakes are cool, you can pipe the frosting on.  You can do this with a pastry piping bag, or with a regular plastic bag with a tip cut off.  If it's going into the jar, it doesn't need to look fancy.  Once the cupcakes are frosted, seal the jars and decorate.

I cut out circles slightly larger than the jar lid from scraps of fabric.  Hold down and tie with raffia or ribbon.  You can also attach a spoon to make enjoying the gift easier.  Include a tag, letting people know the yummy treat that they're about to enjoy.