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Chocolate Applesauce Jar Cakes

1 (4 ounce) stick plus 3 tablespoons
    unsalted butter, softened
3 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
3 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Before starting batter, wash 8 (1-pint) wide-mouth canning jars with lids in hot, soapy water and let them drain, dry, and cool to room temperature. Generously grease insides of jars.

With an electric mixer, beat together butter and half of sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, then remaining sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat in applesauce. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to applesauce mixture in thirds, beating well after each addition to make a thick batter. Stir in chopped pecans. Spoon 1 level cupful of batter into each jar. Carefully wipe rims clean, then place jars in center of preheated oven. Bake 40 minutes.

About 10 minutes before cakes are done, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Put in jar lids, cover, and remove from heat. Keep lids in hot water until they’re used. When cakes are done, remove jars from oven. If jar rims need cleaning, use a moistened paper towel. Carefully put lids and rings in place, then screw tops tightly shut. Place jars on a wire rack; they will seal as they cool.

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