March 22, 2011

Chocolate Cinnamon Cake in a Jar {Powernap}

Cake in a Jar

This is the latest installment of my Powernap column. The series where I share quick, easy food that can be made for all kinds of situations. Powernaps are short and sweet, and so are these recipes. These are the things I make in a jiffy when I need a quick snack, am in the mood for a recipe experiment, or simply need to clean out the pantry.

Today’s Powernap Situation: Time to experiment! Can I use my freshly washed mason jars for a fun cake baking project that both kids and adults will love?

The other day I polished off another jar of Dad’s Bread & Butter Pickles and set yet another empty canning jar on the shelf in the pantry. Seeing the clean empty jars there made me excited at the prospect of spring and summer produce. The season is quickly approaching when we can start the picking and canning process all over again. But, that won’t be for bit yet, so the jars will remain empty. Or will they? My friend Aimee wrote a great article about baking rolls in canning jars so it made me wonder if I could do a little jar baking myself. I won’t be canning strawberry jam until July so I may as well use those jars in the interim!

This was a fun little experiment to undertake while my daughter was at school. I used this recipe and this recipe as my jumping off point to create my own cake flavor and baking technique. It all came together beautifully and was quite the popular sight in our kitchen for my daughter and her friends when they came home from school. Cakes in jars?? That is so cool Mom! (Readers, every Mom loves to be called cool, it happens very infrequently.) I felt like a champion baker and my daughter felt incredibly lucky when I let her dip into chocolate cake for her afternoon snack.


Chocolate Cinnamon Cake in a Jar

adapted from Nigella Lawson and Gale Gand (who have nearly the same recipe to begin with)


 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 pinch kosher salt
¾ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup brewed coffee

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

5 8-ounce Ball Jars


1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place 5 jars on a cookie sheet with space between each one.

2. Use a hand mixer to cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. Then, add the vanilla, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and mix everything well. Add the flour and the yogurt in two parts until smooth. Carefully stir in the coffee and stir the mixture until smooth.

3. Pour the batter into the jar until they are each about 2/3 rds full and bake them for 25 minutes, or until their tops are firm to the touch. Once they have cooled dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve!

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

These would be so much fun for a kids birthday party with a candle in each one!

Naptime Stopwatch

10 minutes prep time, 30 minutes bake time

Naptime Reviews

I mean, I got called “cool” for this recipe. There is NOTHING better than that!

29 Responses to “Chocolate Cinnamon Cake in a Jar {Powernap}”

  1. Rochelle says:

    These are very cool! I love the retro look of cakes in a jar. I have heard about cakes in a cup but in a jar is so much more interesting visually to me 😀

  2. Joy F.G. says:

    What a beautiful cake! This would be perfect for transport too as a gift or even for picnics in the summer. Also, you were called cool! Woot!

  3. Kathy - Panini Happy says:

    These look so fun!

  4. Lizthechef says:

    “Cool, indeed!”

  5. Joeneke says:

    I guess it needs one egg

  6. CharlieS says:

    Looks great!

  7. What fun! And makes a great presentation! Thanks for the idea…I have quite a few empty jars myself!

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I love the cinnamon and chocolate combination, especially in an adorable jar. Great idea!

  9. Maria says:

    Love this! So fun!

  10. Amanda says:

    How fun is that?? Love it! And cinnamon and chocolate together are a real winner 🙂

  11. From Tracie says:

    Yum yum yum!! And such a fun and creative idea!

  12. Info says:

    What a cool mom you are! I’ve not seen anything like this. Too fun!

  13. Info says:

    That last comment was from me. I’m a techno dork!

  14. Rachel says:

    This sounds AMAZING!!!

  15. Robyn Stone says:

    Ummm, I KNEW I loved mason jars, but this takes them to the next level. 🙂 Love this!

  16. Delishhh says:

    Gorgeous!!! Awesome love it.

  17. […] What pairs better than chocolate and cinnamon? Chocolate, cinnamon and a JAR: Chocolate Cinnamon Cake. […]

  18. Suzie says:

    OOO, these are going to Afghanistan THIS WEEK! My son’s a Marine and he and the guys’ll go ape over this cake. Kelsey, you ROCK-Thank you!! Suzie 

    • Kelsey says:

      Wow, I am so honored! I hope they like the cakes, let me know if there is anything I can do to support them!

  19. Julie says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe..I just saw an offer, to purchase them at a bakery and thought they would be fun to make!!

  20. These have been Christmastime favorites for my family & friends, every year for several years.  Each year, I bake 36 jars-3 flavors/12 each flavor.  Friends & family inquire each year on the flavors selected and wait with great expectation.  They are unique, easy and well received by all!

  21. […] personal blog, Food for My Family. Her new book instantly drew me in since, as you might remember, I’ve baked a few desserts in jars myself. In fact, baking food in jars is becoming something of a trend and I am so excited someone […]