Whether it was you or your neighbor who planted too much zucchini this year, here are a few recipes for using up that infamous garden bounty. (Summer squash is its yellow cousin; no significant difference in taste.)
My mother-in-law turned 80 last week. She’s quite the inspirational woman: she got a black belt in tai-kwon-do when she was in her 50’s; she did foster care for rescued dogs for several years, and retired from that a few months ago, at which point she had taken in more than 50 dogs. She goes to yoga class regularly, and just recently retired from her part-time job in a vet clinic — but is having second thoughts about retirement.
She certainly deserved a big to-do!
So we had the family over yesterday for a dessert bar. I posted a few weeks ago about several cookies I was considering, and more recently about desserts in jars, and a few of those contenders made the final cut. I’ll be doing a post about some of the other treats later this week (including the almond poppyseed shortbread that was a huge hit), but today I’m going to focus on the birthday cake in a jar.
You can’t spend five minutes on Pinterest without running into some sort of dessert in a jar, and I love the trend! Oddly enough, though, I couldn’t find any recipes for what I had in mind, so here are instructions for it.
My first task was to find a type of jar and a type of cookie or pastry cutter that would fit that jar. I love the little “shooter” desserts, but I couldn’t find any cutters that small. Well, except for the set of 12 from Williams-Sonoma that cost $17. Overkill! After checking out a few possibilities, I discovered that a 6 oz. can of tomato paste is the perfect size to fit inside a 4 oz. mason jar. I just removed both the top and the bottom, emptied it, removed the label, and washed the can thoroughly.
I baked one box mix of “Fun-fetti” cake in a 10×15″ pan, according to package directions. I checked it at about 18 minutes, then again every three to five minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center came out clean. I let it cool on the counter for several hours.
Here’s my daughter using the fancy-schmancy cutter I “made”; it worked great. She would just twist it down into the cake…
Once they were all jarred up, we frosted them. My daughter made a half batch of this wedding cake frosting, but using only 2.5 cups of confectioners’ sugar. Then she just loaded this up into a gallon plastic baggie, snipped off one corner, and used it like a pastry bag.
She experimented with the design: some she did in a spiral, some she did in a fat squiggle.
All that was left was to add the sprinkles and candles. While applying the sprinkles, set the jars on a cookie sheet or other solid tray, so the sprinkles that miss the mark are collected in one place — not rolling off the counter onto the floor.
We placed one candle in each jar, just for decor, then loaded one of them up with eight candles for the guest of honor.
These were an especially big hit with the little kids at the party — my great nieces and nephews. (I hadn’t thought of this benefit beforehand, but these little jar cakes are also much neater to eat than a cupcake.) I can’t believe I missed the opportunity to get a pic of that cuteness! Well, this one will have to do…