Cake in a {Sealed} Jar

This might be my new favorite blog post. I’ve been wanting to make and post this for a while. The main purpose for cake in a sealed jar is what I used it for a few years ago – sending it in a care package to my friend Janelle’s boyfriend (now husband) for his birthday when he was deployed with the military to Afghanistan.

I was wanting to send Jeff a box of a bunch of things he loved – food, magazines, etc. I can’t really remember the order in which things happened, but at some point Janelle mentioned that Jeff”s birthday was coming up and she was trying to figure out something to do for him. Another friend of hers had sent a cake to her husband that she ordered online. It apparently showed up in a less than awesome form and didn’t taste terribly great.

When I was looking for some ideas online of things to send, I saw the idea of cake in a jar buried way down in a comment on a website. I looked for directions on how to do it so that the jar would be sealed and the cake would stay fresh for a few weeks. Then I gave it a shot!

Jeff said getting the cake was awesome! I sent a few jars of cake and a can of icing. He was so kind to share it with others and apparently it was a hit.

So if you’re looking for something special to send your loved one in a military care package, this is a good choice. You can used a box mix or a cake from scratch – whatever you want! I’ve also included some printable tags that you can print out and tie onto the jars with a little message. Download the tags here.

Cake in a {Sealed} Jar


1 box of cake mix (or 1 recipe worth of a cake from scratch)
6-8 mason jars with lids and rings


1. Prepare your cake batter according to the directions.
2. Fill the mason jars with batter about half way, no more. It will rise to fill the jar as it bakes. Keep the rims of the jars clean.
3. Put jars on a cookie sheet to keep them from tipping over while baking. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
4. While they are baking, put your jar lids in a pot of boiling water.
5. When the cake is done baking, remove one jar from the oven at a time and screw on the hot lid using oven mits. Set on the counter to cool.
6. It will seal as it cools. It should 'ping' as it seals. If you don't hear a ping, wait until it's completely cool and press on the top of the lid. If it doesn't move at all, it's sealed.

As the cake cools, it will pull away from the sides of the jar, making it easy to pop out of the jar when it's time to eat! :)
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  1. I’ve been considering doing this for my boyfriend who is deployed. He’s been begging me to send him baked goods, and I haven’t had the courage yet! I have a serious fear about food spoiling, and I would hate for it to go bad before it gets there. But this seems like a valid, sanitary and reasonable form of transportation! I think it would be cute to bake these in some mini mason jars as well! Kinda like a cupcake in a jar? <3

    • I think mini mason jars would be great! And don’t worry about them going bad – as long as the top doesn’t move when you push down on it after it has cooled, it should be good and sealed. The friend I sent them to LOVED them and said they were super fresh!

    • Jessie, I used Lindsay’s advice (and aadorable tags) for a successful military care package, but there was no intent for it to last months….only the 1 1/2 weeks necessary to arrive and be eaten! Shipping in the summer needs a bit more caution. Spoilage of any food is more likely in extremely hot weather. I sent my mason jar cakes in cooler weather. If you search for desert safe recipes you will find many that are delicious and safe for military care packages! :)
      Wendy recently posted…Palm Tree/ Pineapple Sugar Cookies for Military Care Package #15My Profile

  2. Beyond excited about finding this. My husband is going out later this year and he will be over for his birthday. I was trying to think of how I could send him something and so far could only come up with fruit cake, as it lasts. This is such a brilliant idea. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Tried sending my husband some cookies and cheesecake brownies before and they were green when he got them… I’m going to try this and hope it works!!
    I bought quart sized mason jars and I only needed one for this.

  4. Hi, Lindsay! Thank you for the adorable printable tags! I am going to link to your site and this page in my next cake-in-a-jar post. :) My whole blog is care package recipes. It can be hard for people to find great recipes and ideas like this one that make shipping homemade goodies possible. I am sure that your friend and his buddies were thrilled with your delicious care package!

  5. stephanie says:

    this is so awesome…I am about to send a package and this will make it so much more personnel!!..
    going to get the 4th of july confetti cake mix…so excited

  6. How long will it keep in the jar?

  7. Hi! I love your post! And I love the candle idea for a birthday!
    My boyfriend just got deployed to Djibouti, since the temps there are so hot I haven’t quite been sure if this is an option for me, I’m scared to spoil it. But my question is did you boil the jars before putting the batter in them? Just to sanitize them, or did you wash them with just soap and hot water?

    Thank you so much!

    • says:

      Hi Geryel! I just washed the jars before putting the batter in. Only the lids get boiled. The jars heat up when baked with the cake in them and when the hot lids get put on and the jars cool, that creates the suction that seals the jar. I hope that helps!

  8. Thanks so much for this idea! I made these in the smaller mason jars and sent several to my son in college to enjoy with some friends. It makes about 10 small jars. They turned out great! I kept one here so we could try it too. It was only a week but the cake was super moist and fresh. It guess I filled my jars a little more than half full because they cooked over the top of the jars. I just cut off the top, making sure rim was clean, and they sealed perfectly. Thanks for the idea to make his birthday away from home special. He said it was a really cool idea.

  9. I was just wondering… when you boil the lid, do you boil both the ring and the topper? Thanks!

  10. How long will they last?

    • says:

      I think I saved a couple for 2-3 months just to make sure they’d last and they did. They seal very well.

      • I have read in another post 3 months is what she saved hers and they were good. They were unfrosted. I am trying to find someone who has saved them longer.

  11. tricia Nicholson says:

    How long do you boil the lids?

    • says:

      I’d suggest placing them in the water while the water comes to a boil and then leave them for a few minutes.

  12. What about the condensation that accumulates in the jar once you put the tops on after taking them out of the oven? Wouldn’t all that moisture cause the cake to spoil?

  13. i just made these and planning to send overseas…. I noticed the condensation after sealing the lids … I’m hoping that won’t be a problem. :( The lid isn’t moving so that must be a good sign? I really hope they stay fresh.

    • says:

      If I remember correctly I think the condensation happened for me too. If the lids are nicely sealed, they should stay fresh.


  1. […] adorable gift tags on my jars come from lifeloveand Lindsay, who has successfully sent cake-in-a-jar to a deployed friend, offers some great […]

  2. […] adorable gift tags on my jars come from lifeloveand Lindsay, who has successfully sent cake-in-a-jar to a deployed friend, offers some great […]

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