Christmas and (both) of our wedding anniversaries are fast approaching so I decided Louis' December care package would be really sappy and sentimental. (Right... you guys know he's in Afghanistan? Cool.) I didn't really want to send any sort of icing/frosting. That just screams "mess" to me. That is why I decided to add toffee, something extra that makes the cake a little more special. Heath bars are one of his favorite candies, and who doesn't like toffee and mocha together? Cakes in Jars are a care package tradition, but also make great gifts for neighbors, coworkers, and people you just don't want to spend a lot of money on! (Or for the people you know who just really love cake... I have several of them in my life.)
Toffee Mocha Cake
1/2 C butter (1 stick), softened
1 1/3 C brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 1/3 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C unsweetened [dark] cocoa powder
2/3 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 C buttermilk (or regular milk, but not skim)
2 Tbsp instant espresso powder
2 tsp hot water
1 C toffee bits
Beat butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time; fully incorporate. Add vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and soda, and salt. Stir gently with a fork or whisk to break up lumps. Sift if the mixture is still lumpy.
Dissolve instant espresso in water. Add to buttermilk.
Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk to butter and egg mixture. Do NOT over mix!
Gently fold in toffee bits.
Carefully pour into 3 sterilized (see below) and greased 16 oz canning jars (or mason jars). Fill jars only 2/3 full.
Bake at 350 deg F for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Within 3 minutes of removing cakes from the oven, close with 2 part canning lid. In about 5-7 minutes you'll hear the lid pop, this means it is vacuum sealed. Allow to cool at room temp.
Remove lids from jars. In the BIGGEST pot you have, put in jars and lid pieces. (My largest pot can do 6 at a time.) Cover with water. Try to get the air bubbles out of the jars, if there is a little air left, don't worry about. Bring the pot to a boil. Boil jars and lids for ten minutes. Leave in the hot water until you are ready to use them.
I prep the batter. Then pre-heat the oven and sterilize the jars. As soon as the jars are ready. Remove them from the water and quickly dry them. Non-stick spray is the easiest to use for greasing the jars. Add batter to jar, a spoon works best for this. Make sure the inner and outer lip of the jar are clean! Bake.
When the cakes come out of the oven, again make sure the rim and threads of the jar are clean. Place two part lid on and close as tightly as you can. The heat from the cake will create a vacuum seal (*pop!*) that preserves the freshness of the cake.
Quick Jar Sterilization!!: Top rack of an EMPTY dishwasher WITHOUT soap. Follow all other instructions.