{Guest Post} Peppermint Cake-In-A-Jar Recipe

Betsy’s back today with another delicious recipe for you!  Just in time for the holidays!  I had one of these the other day…and it was the highlight of my day!  Delicious!  Take it away, Bets!
Hey there! With the holidays suddenly super close, I thought I’d share a quick and easy homemade gift perfect for teachers, neighbors, etc. I started making these when one of my closest friends moved to Texas to be a traveling nurse and said how she missed my cakes and cupcakes. I wanted a way to send her a cupcake from time to time without having to worry about the frosting getting all messed up and the cake drying out. Thus, the cake-in-a-jar was born!

Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsI first saw these mini mason jars when Shara gave me a little jar of honey butter when she was up in Maryland this fall. It was delicious, and when I finished it off I wanted to send her back the jar with something in it (one of my favorite little niceties to practice!). I had been thinking about trying to cake-in-a-jar thing for my Texas friend, so I decided to use Shara as a guinea pig for sending these in the mail because the little jelly jars were a great size. I went out and bought some extras so that I could make more than just the one going to Shara. I found them in a 4 pack at Target in their small canning area. Hobby Lobby {on sale for .99 each this week!} and craft stores also have them.

Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsSo, to start off I just made a batch of cupcakes. I made sure not to fill them too full with batter because I wanted them fairly level to the wrapper and flat not domed. I used a box mix because I wanted to do red velvet for a Christmasy look and red velvet is a pain to make from scratch and knew Shara wouldn’t judge me anyway.

Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsAs they cooled, I made a batch of vanilla buttercream. My buttercream recipe starts with these below and then I add things to customize the taste:

1 cup butter
1 cup Crisco
1 2lb bag powdered sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

For this batch, I added peppermint extract and a handful of peppermint chips {I found these at Target in the baking aisle}.  For chocolate, omit the vanilla extract and add about a cup of cocoa powder {to taste}.

Peppermint and Red Velvet Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsI also made a batch of chocolate ganache for an extra special touch. Here’s the super easy chocolate ganache recipe I found online a few years ago:

1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream

Microwave heavy cream for 1 minute, stir, then again in 30 second increments until it bubbles. Add chocolate chips and stir, stir, stir, until you have delicious thick ganache. I could eat this by the spoonful!  And added to chocolate cake and chocolate frosting, it’s decadent!

Chocolate Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsOk, so I got too excited by the ganache while I was working on Shara’s cake-in-jar. I knew I needed to let it sit for a bit to set up, so I left it alone while I cut each cupcake in half and started laying the bottom layers into each jelly jar.

Peppermint and Red Velvet Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and Pigtails

Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsThen I poured in a layer of ganache. It was great that it was still liquid enough to pour, but I really should have waited longer for it to set up because it made for a less attractive side view of the jars as you will see in the pictures.

Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsNext I took some of my vanilla peppermint frosting and piped it into the jar on top. If you don’t have a piping bag, I’d recommend using a large Ziploc baggie with a 1/2″ hole cut in one corner to help make sure you get a nice clean, even layer in each jar.

Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial, with bonus recipes for ganache and buttercream! Palmettos and PigtailsThen I layered the top half of each cupcake on top and squished it down in a little bit.   Some were a little shorter than others so any that had a little extra space before putting the lid on I layered one more thin layer of frosting and sprinkled a few extra peppermint chips on top. The rest I lidded just as they were.

Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsFor Shara’s I made sure to get it in the mail right away. I packed the box with blankets I was sending to Lincoln anyway, and she said it made it just fine! Yay! For some of the others and other batches I’ve made since, I got cute and decorated the jars with a little ribbon and flower sticker. These would be great Christmas gifts with a little Christmas ribbon on them!

Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsI’ve also since made these with scraps from larger cakes I’ve made instead of a batch of cupcakes. After leveling a regular round cake that I had made for another occasion, I just cut holes in the excess cake using the jar lids as a guide.

Use scraps from homemade cakes to create Cupcakes-in-a-Jar: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and Pigtails

Use scraps from homemade cakes to create Cupcakes-in-a-Jar: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and PigtailsIt’s a fantastic way to use up cake scraps {without eating them yourself!}, and show a little love to your mailman.  Or your bus driver.  Or your favorite blogger. {Just sayin’!}

Cake-in-a-Jar Tutorial: The perfect neighbor or teacher gift! Palmettos and Pigtails

Palmettos and Pigtails Signature

Declaration Boutique

Last weekend I got to escape.  Originally, Lincoln and I were going to drive to my grandparents’ house in Florida to surprise my Grandpa for his 90th birthday.  But when I heard that they were sick and not up for company, Loo and I decided to detour down to my parents’ house in Saint Augustine, FL instead.  An impromptu trip, but the first time in years that I’d been there without children following me around!

I’ve always loved it down there…it’s the oldest city in the US, and the history is so interesting…not to mention the quaint shops, yummy food and festive holiday decor.  The ever-popular St. George Street is where we usually visit with the kids, poking our heads in shops {because Heaven forbid we actually bring our three little bulls inside!}, and searching for pirates {yes~the town has many people dressed in character…some are paid, and some are, uh, volunteers!}.

Pirates are everywhere in Saint Augustine, Florida

But since this particular trip, I only had Lincoln {and he was perfectly happy to hand with GP while us ladies shopped!}, so MomMom, Loo and I visited the other side of Saint Augustine, called “Uptown”…the northern part of San Marco Avenue/A1A.  Lots of cute little boutique and antique shops, and the famous LuLi’s Cupcakes {with their Bacon cupcakes and Frosting Shots!}.

But out of all the shops we went in, my favorite was behind a tiny door in a cluster of three shops on the corner of San Marcos and Pine.  Declaration Boutique.

Declaration Boutique in Saint Augustine, Florida

You walk in the door and have to walk down a corridor lined with an arrangement or greeting cards, scarves, and tea towels. But when the hallway opened up into the main shop…my senses were in full overload from the smells of chocolate and coffee, the sounds of Christmas music, and the wonderful clutter of knick-knacky goodness.

Buttons from Declaration Boutique in Saint Augustine, Florida

The shop was filled with eclectic eye-candy…but arranged into almost little shops within the store.  In the center of the room was a display of note cards, bookmarks and necklaces.  Santa, if you are reading, I liked the reindeer necklace the best!

Necklaces from Declaration Boutique in Saint Augustine, Florida

Photo courtesy of Declaration Boutique. Click for Pricing.

Along one wall is an airy display of screen-printed tea towels, framed by strings of cupcake liners.

Creative Decoration at Declaration Boutique in Saint Augustine, Florida

Tea Towel Collection from Declaration Boutique in Saint Augustine, Florida

Tucked in a corner is locally made sweets.  The chocolate smell as you pass by makes you instantly requiring a snack!

Candy and Chocolate display from Declaration Boutique in Saint Augustine, Florida

I’m just in love with the way that this shop is set up.  Each little area is it’s own adorable little booth, completely appropriate for the gems it’s selling. It’s like being at a craft fair all in one room!

A variety of children's and nursery items in a cute display at Declaration Boutique in Saint Augustine, Florida

And of course the obligatory children’s corner {but always my favorite!}.

And as you head back toward the door, you pass by the checkout counter, which is {in my OCD opinion}, just as beautiful as the rest of the store!
Declaration Boutique in Saint Augustine, FloridaI could have spend hours there!  “I want that, and that, and that…”  If you ever visit Saint Augustine, stop by Declaration Boutique… and pick me up a necklace!

Palmettos and Pigtails Signature

Just FYI, I did not receive any sort of payment or discount for writing this post….just loved the little shop!

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