Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Foodie Files

I've been pumping out Table for Twelves like a madwoman lately- it's all but destroyed my storage situation, but I've gotta say, I enjoy orchestrating them so much!  I've got another one coming at you's fun, fun, fun and sugary sweet.  Literally.  Consider today's Foodie Files a delicious sneak peek, cause we're talking cake.  Crazy, multi-colored, layered cake in a jar, to be exact.  You've gotta see the finished project to appreciate it.

Fun, right?  Now, before you're hopelessly lured in (as I most certainly was when I first saw the idea on The Family Kitchen). I've gotta warn you- this is a time consuming project.  It also has a high potential for disaster (honesty=best policy).  By the time we got to our last batch, I think I worked out most of the kinks but you've gotta know up front- it was a loooong, somewhat traumatic afternoon.  As of press time (I've always wanted to say that) I've made this recipe twice...once as a trial run and once for our Table for Twelve party favors- at which point I had to quadruple it.  I listed instructions for both recipes below, but keep in mind the pictures are from our mega-batch.

1 box white cake mix made according to package instructions (mega-batch = 4)
food coloring in the color palate of your choice
3 one-pint canning jars (or 12, if you're quadrupling)
1 can vanilla frosting (or 2- I know...the math is off there...all I can tell you is I quadrupled & had TONS of extra frosting)
Rainbow sprinkles

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry the inside of each canning jar (I ran ours through the dishwasher for good measure). Spray the inside of each jar thoroughly with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

If you're making the standard recipe, distribute the batter as equally as possible amongst 4 bowls.  Each bowl should have between 1/2 a cup and a 3/4s of a cup of batter.  Tint each bowl with cake batter until it's very vibrant- usually between 15-20 drops for the standard recipe, 4x that for a mega-batch.  If you're quadrupling, make and tint each cake mix seperately.

Decide what order you want your colors to appear and spoon about 4 tablespoons of the appropriately tinted batter into the bottom of each jar.  Be careful not to let the batter touch the sides of the jar- we found the best way to do this was to scoop the batter with a large spoon and use another spoon to direct where it should go and catch excess.

Spoon equal amounts of your remaining batters in your desired order, continuing to layer each color onto the next.

Wipe any excess non-stick oil from the top of the jar and cover each individual jar with aluminum foil- we didn't figure out these two important tricks until our last batch, as a result some unwanted browning took place in our earlier batches (as you can imagine, my perfectionist self was less than stoked about this).  Place 3 jars in a shallow baking dish and add about 1/4″ in of water to the bottom of the dish. Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.  

Remove jars and allow to cool completely before scooping a small portion from the top of your cake and adding a big dollop of frosting to the top. Sprinkle & serve, or cover with a lid and store in the fridge until needed.  Although they'll take up a good chunk of your time, the end result is quite adorable.  A fun sous chef (muchas gracias, Natalie), a good playlist (Frank Sinatra Pandora radio- check it out, it'll change your life) and a good attitude (which I may or may not have possessed at the time of said project) make all the difference in the world.


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