Gingerbread Jar Cakes

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I prefer to give homemade gifts for the holidays and since most of my friends also give cookies and candies, I like to do something a little different. My friends love to get my cakes in a jar during the holidays and, since they have a shelf life, they can be enjoyed after other holiday treats are long gone.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325-degrees . . . it's a good idea to check the temp with an oven thermometer.
  2. Sterilize 5 (12 oz) Ball Quilted Crystal straight-sided jam/jelly canning jars, lids and rings by boiling them for 15 minutes. Remove the jars from the water and allow them to air-dry on your counter top (I leave them in my dishwasher on the platewarmer cycle); leave the lids and rings in the hot water until you're ready to use them.
  3. Once the jars are cool enough to handle, use a pastry brush to grease them with shortening (DO NOT use butter, margarine, PAM or Baker's Secret); set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Stir in margarine, water and molasses until well blended. Divide batter among the 5 jars (they should be about 1/2 full). Place jars onto a cookie sheet or they'll tip over.
  5. Bake in preheated 325-degree oven for 35 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Move the jars around in the oven while they're baking, so they'll bake evenly.
  6. Have your HOT lids ready. Using tongs or oven mitts (the jars are hot!) Take one jar at a time from the oven and place a lid on, then the ring. Tightly screw on lids and allow jars to cool on your countertop. You'll hear a pop when the lid seals. The cakes should last for a few months if stored in a cool, dark place, but they'll probably be gone long before that.
  7. To decorate the jars, simply tie a decorative ribbon around the ring with a sprig of holly or a pine cone. If you're emulating Martha Stewart, remove the ring and place a mound of cotton in the center of each lid, then place a piece of decorative cloth, about 3-inches larger in circumference than the lid, cut with pinking shears, on top of the cotton. Screw the ring back on to secure the fabric and tie on your ribbon.
This recipe was originally developed by Linda Magee and posted on rec.food.cooking and has been substantially modified.
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