If Your Child Likes to Bake, Try Cakes in a Jar

Michelle McNally
September 30, 2011

Children love to do what you do, especially in the kitchen. Food preparations, from setting the table to making food, are all activities children enjoy. Baking is a great activity to share with your children, and a little planning can make the whole project more of a success.

Once your child knows the basics—how to crack an egg, how to measure, and how to mix a batter without sneezing into it—it's time to add a challenge to the task: baking for others. It's easy to be motivated to bake when you know you get to eat the cupcakes, it's a little different to bake knowing that you won't be eating the finished product. Baking a trial batch to keep at home is good way for your child to learn the process of baking whatever recipe you choose, while also being able to taste test what he's giving to others. 

Using glass containers (wide-mouth canning jars) instead of cake pans or cupcake liners doesn't notably change the baking process your child already knows. What it does do is it instantly makes the finished product easy to share; young children can easily carry a pint-sized jar to deliver baked treats to someone special.  

This tutorial on about.com does a good job of outlining the details of this project, including how to seal the jars with canning lids. Once sealed, the cake can keep for up to one year (be sure to put the heated lids on the jars while they are still hot from baking in the oven to create a proper seal). Read through the entire tutorial before beginning (details like being sure to use brand new lids are crucial). One detail not mentioned in this tutorial is that, if possible, find wide-mouth pint-sized jars without shoulders (i.e., the jar is straight from base to top), this makes it easier to slide the cake out of the jar when baking is done.

Steps young children can perform:

Greasing the inside of each jar

Lining up the jars on a cookie sheet

Helping to pour batter to the one cup line in each jar

Decorating the fabric and gift tags to decorate the finished project

Covering the lids with fabric and attaching gift tags to the sealed jars 

Decorating the fabric to cover the lids can be as simple as picking out a seasonally appropriate pattern, or as involved as using fabric paints and markers. Gift tags can be handwritten or pre-printed and attached with raffia, curling ribbon, or whatever else your child can imagine.  

Baking in jars adds just a few manageable steps to challenge young bakers. The end product is made for sharing, and young bakers will do so proudly! 

Image courtesy of Rachel from Cupcakes Take the Cake/Flickr.

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