Since Joe’s last birthday treat is my most popular post to date (thanks, Pinterest), I would be amiss not to share what we did this year.
I think it’s important to pick your own birthday cake, whether you’re actually the one making it or not, and I always give Joe free reign of my cookbooks and Pinterest boards for scouring purposes. Side note: I get totally geeky when we have a pile of cookbooks on the couch with us—so many possibilities! God, I’m such a food nerd. Anyone the same way?
As we pored over options, I found myself only looking at cake recipes, being a birthday and all, but Joe kept his eyes open to anything and in doing so found his birthday treat of choice on my Pinterest dessert board. One of my earliest pins, no less.
At first I scoffed. …It’s a dessert in a JAR! This is not how I saw this playing out. I wanted him to have a multi-layered cake sitting pretty on a cake stand, not a weird concoction stuffed in glass. But the boy can’t look away from his s’mores. #whatcanyoudo? So I
quickly shut-up about it, swallowed my cake dreams, and went out to buy some mason jars.
This recipe comes from Jessica, the Queen of Sprinkles over at How Sweet Eats. Be sure to check her out – I love her decadent recipes and lovely photos. Bonus: She has a cookbook coming out. Double bonus: She just announced she’s pregnant! Fingers crossed for peanut butter cravings that hit the blog.
To have your s’mores-in-a-jar look like Jessica’s you should probably follow her directions and make them all at once and dig in as soon as they’re finished. But, who cooks like that? I certainly can’t. Not unless I want to be in my kitchen for a few hours after work on my husband’s birthday. Umnothanks.
So, I made the crust and the cake, baked ‘em, and then we headed out for BBQ – birthdayboygetstochoose, birthdayboygetstochoose.
Not until after we had returned and slightly digested could we think about dessert, so I hit up the broiler, threw some huge marshmallows on top of the now cooled cake and was feeling pretty proud until Joe noticed that the top marshmallows were burning before the bottom ones could melt. Oops! Guess you need that residual heat from the cake to melt those babies.
Oh well. This is what cooking and baking is all about: living and learning. …And eating. Good news is that they got warm enough to be gooey and messy, just not completely melted.
Of course these guys, our little friends from Bavarian Inn, joined us in the celebration. (Sorry, Lily, no sprinkles.)
I did manage to have the forethought to half the recipe, since you have to eat these right away. But I completely ignored Jessica’s suggestion that they are rich and huge and could easily be shared by two people. Share a mason jar?! Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of a cute cake carrier such as this? ***err, wrong***
Since it makes four jars, I put half of the batter in a cupcake pan, which made 9 cupcakes. So…if you’re good at math….that means 4.5 cupcakes-worth of batter are in each jar. Are you following me here?
Needless and mathless to say, we were both miserably full. I won’t be making that mistake again.
Yay: it’s pretty, it’s easy, no mixer needed, my husband loved it, eating from your own mason jar is pretty fun (banana pudding?! Yes!)
Ugh: it’s high-maintenance in terms of time, you feel like you’re going to die if you eat the whole thing, no leftovers (Who doesn’t wake up after their birthday and want a cold piece of cake to relive the magic?)
We ended the night chasing our s’mores with Tums and Bella giving Joe the best birthday gift ever: unlimited snuggles.
And now bear with me as I figure out what to do with 12 mason jars.
S’mores in a Jar
From: How Sweet Eats
Yields: 4 (16-ounce) mason jar cakes
1/2 stick butter
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
pinch of salt
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. + 1 Tbs. heavy cream
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. sour cream
1 1/8 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. dark cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 bag of large marshmallows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the crust: Melt butter and mix in graham crumbs and salt. Mix until moistened. Spray mason jars with non-stick spray and press graham crust into jars. (Add a tablespoon of mixture to each jar, repeating until graham crumbs are gone. (When out of crumbs, I pressed them down with the flat end of a whisk to flatten.)
For the cake: In a bowl, whisk egg and sugar until smooth and no lumps remain. Add milk, cream, butter and vanilla, and mix until combined. Stir in sour cream. Sift remaining dry ingredients together and add to wet mixture. Mix until batter is smooth. Using a 1/4 cup measure, add batter to mason jars one scoop at a time, only filling them halfway — this halfway mark is IMPORTANT! Place mason jars in a baking dish and add about 1 1/2 cups of water to the bottom. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cake is set. (Leftover batter? Throw it in a greased muffin tin for extra cupcakes.)
Remove cake from the oven and press 3-5 large marshmallows down on top. Heat the broiler on your oven and watching carefully, brown marshmallows for about 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.
** Let two people share each jar – cute doule-date night dessert
** Use smaller mason jars and make several for a fun party or gathering (use mini marshmallows in this instance)