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Belly Cakes: Cupcakes in Baby Food Jars

Remember how I mentioned yesterday that I’m a huge fan of recycling and repurposing baby food jars? About two years ago, we had a bunch of baby food jars and I used them to hold cupcakes for Eva’s first birthday:

Princess and the Frog cupcake tower for Disney birthday partyMardi Gras cupcakes in jars for birthday party

The cupcakes turned out so cute and fit perfectly in the jars, so I had the idea to create a blog called “Belly Cakes” just for baby-food-jar-cupcakes and some other fun baby stuff. Like many (many!) of my blog ideas, it didn’t pan out…partially because recipe testing meant I was eating cupcakes around the clock and that didn’t do much for the baby weight problem. Still, I thought I’d share the few recipes that did make it to the blog just in case you were looking for some picnic-ready desserts.

PS – I’m including the peanut butter banana one because it’s incredible, but naturally I now have to warn you not to send this to your kid’s classrooms and to ask that you please don’t stick this in any lunchboxes. Peanut-allergy moms like me live in perpetual fear of this delicious peanut butter frosting. Even the fact that I had this stuff in the house at one point gives me heart palpitations. (Allergies aside, it’s amazing!!)

 

This belly cakes micro-recipe is very easy and really hits the spot when you can’t decide if you’re craving cake or candy. I used Easter candy for this one, but you could sub in any chocolate candies and I’m sure it would be equally delicious!

Prep time: 10 min

Bake time: 20 min

Makes: 12 cupcakes (6 belly cake jars)

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cup yellow cake mix (Note: boxed cake mixes are generally about four cups, so one cake mix can make three different belly cake recipes. If you want to use the whole box, multiply all the other ingredients by three.)
2 Tbsp and 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1 egg
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
Roughly one cup of chocolaty Easter candy
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chocolate chips
6 empty baby food jars

 

(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 12 cupcake papers in a cupcake pan.

(2) Using a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix egg, water, cake mix, vegetable oil, cocoa powder, and candy together. Pour into cupcake papers, filling 2/3rds of the way.

(3) Bake 20 min and set out to cool.

(4) To make chocolate ganache, heat heavy cream until bubbling and remove from heat. Immediately add chocolate chips and stir to coat. Let melt for about five minutes and then stir until smooth.

(5) To make the belly cakes, put one unwrapped cupcake into the bottom of the jar, add a layer of ganache, add another cupcake, and top with ganache. Add more candy to the top if you want decoration. Enjoy!!

This is a favorite in our house and if you only ever make one cake from this blog, go with this one. The cake is insanely moist (almost like it was steamed) and the chunky peanut butter frosting is so good you could pretty much eat it by itself. Heaven!
Prep time: 10 min

Bake time: 20 min

Makes: 12 cupcakes (6 belly cake jars)

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cup yellow cake mix (Note: boxed cake mixes are generally about four cups, so one cake mix can make three different belly cake recipes. If you want to use the whole box, multiply all the other ingredients by three.)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1 egg
6 oz jar of Gerber 3rd Foods bananas (If you don’t want to use baby food, you can skip this ingredient or sub in an extra half of a banana. That being said, there’s nothing but bananas and water in Gerber’s baby food and the moisture it adds to the cake is phenomenal. Plus, this is a great way to acquire an extra baby food jar if you’re still pregnant and sans baby food!)
1 very ripe banana
6 empty baby food jars (you can use the one from the bananas above)
1/3 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup confectioners sugar
Mini Nutter Butter cookie (optional)

 

(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 12 cupcake papers in a cupcake pan.

(2) Using a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix egg, water, cake mix, vegetable oil, baby food, and banana together until mostly smooth (small chunks of bananas is fine). Pour into cupcake papers, filling 2/3rds of the way.

(3) Bake 20 min and set out to cool. The cakes will look spongy and a little less risen than usual cupcakes, but as long as you can poke a toothpick into the middle and bring it out clean, they’re fine.

(4) To make the chunky peanut butter frosting, use an electric mixer to blend cream cheese and peanut butter. Slowly mix in the confectioners sugar and mix until smooth. If it’s too powdery, add water a tablespoon at a time until you get the consistency you want.

(5) To make the belly cakes, put one unwrapped cupcake into the bottom of the jar. Using a pastry bag or a Ziploc with the corner cut off, add a layer of peanut butter frosting and top with a second cupcake. Pipe more frosting and finish it off with a mini Nutter Butter if you’d like. Personally, I think these cakes are amazing but those little Nutter Butters still manage to add something special…

 

Prep time: 10 min

Bake time: 20 min

Makes: 12 cupcakes (6 belly cake jars)

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cup yellow cake mix (Note: boxed cake mixes are generally about four cups, so one cake mix can make three different belly cake recipes. If you want to use the whole box, multiply all the other ingredients by three.)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1 egg
2 Tbsp sour cream or greek yogurt
Lemon extract
6 empty baby food jars
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
Lemon zest (optional)

 

(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 12 cupcake papers in a cupcake pan.

(2) Using a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix egg, water, cake mix, vegetable oil, and sour cream (or greek yogurt) together. Add a few drops of lemon extract to taste…a little bit will make the cake fresh, a lot will lemon it up enough to keep morning sickness at bay. Pour into cupcake papers, filling 2/3rds of the way.

(3) Bake 20 min and set out to cool.

(4) To make the buttercream frosting, use an electric mixer to blend softened butter and confectioners sugar. If it’s too powdery, add water a tablespoon at a time until you get the consistency you want.

(5) To make the belly cakes, put one unwrapped cupcake into the bottom of the jar. Using a pastry bag or a Ziploc with the corner cut off, add a layer of buttercream frosting and top with a second cupcake. Pipe more frosting and finish it off with little bit of lemon zest if you’d like. You can eat them right away or, even better, refrigerate them and they’ll be a refreshing snack on a hot day. The frosting hardens up, but it’s still delicious!

 

These little cakes were inspired by Petite Lemon, a company that offers the most darling customized children’s goods. Prepare to fall in love…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 Comment

  • Reply Hope at Disneyland

    I would’ve happily volunteered to be your taste tester if the blog had panned out! I’m much better about eating cupcakes than about making them. I just want to fast forward to the rewarding yumminess and skip over the math and measuring and waiting. lol

    March 27, 2014 at 5:24 pm
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