cakes in canning jars

First time I tried this and cakes rose about 1-1-1/2" above top of jar, Pushed cake into jar and added glaze. It was about 5-10 min. before I put the lids on. They did not pop but look and feel tight. Is is safe to mail these to Irag or need i start over with a new batch? Thank you. Pls ans quickly as I need to get this box sent.



Author Comment
Canned Breads and Cakes
Is it safe to bake and store cakes and breads at home using canning jars?

ANSWER - Recipes for canned breads and cakes as gift items seem to appear each year around Christmas time. These products are typically made by pouring batter into glass canning jars and baking them in the oven. Once the cake or bread is done, the steaming jars are taken out of the oven and are sealed and cooled to create a vacuum. Most recipes claim that they can be stored without refrigeration for at least a year. Some say they will keep indefinitely.

The microorganism we are concerned about in these products is Clostridium botulinum. If spores of this type of bacteria are allowed to germinate and grow, deadly botulism toxin is produced. Very small amounts of the toxin can cause an often fatal disease called botulism. Clostridium botulinum spores are abundant in nature but fortunately will only grow and produce toxin in unrefrigerated high moisture foods that are low in acid and exposed to little or no oxygen. These conditions occur in canned foods such as asparagus, green beans, beets, and corn. Thus low-acid canned foods must be processed in pressurized retorts at temperatures of 240 degrees F or higher to make sure that the heat resistant spores are killed.

Outbreaks of botulism from more unusual sources have been reported such as garlic in oil mixtures, improperly handled baked potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil, and home-canned or fermented fish. Some research studies have shown that low acid canned bread or cake products may have characteristics that are favorable for growth of Clostridium spores.

Several years ago, a professor of Food Science at Penn State University developed a recipe for canned bread. It was carefully formulated so that acid and moisture levels would prevent the growth of Clostridium botulinum spores during room temperature storage. The product can be safely made as long as the original Penn State recipe is followed exactly as written. However, there is a significant risk that the creative cook may make ingredient substitutions or omissions that could significantly change the pH of the product such that conditions might be more favorable for growth of Clostridium spores.

In addition to the risk of botulism, there is also a significant risk for consumers to become injury from broken glass when baking cakes and breads in glass canning jars. Canning jars are intended for use in hot water baths or pressure canners and are not designed to withstand the thermal stresses that occur with dry oven heat.

Therefore, Penn State strongly discourages consumers from canning cakes and breads in jars. Botulism is a serious and often fatal disease and no consumer should take unnecessary risks with this microorganism. If someone gives you a home canned cake or bread product, assume that it is unsafe to eat and immediately discard the contents.

References and additional information
Canning Breads and Cakes, University Of Georgia Cooperative Extension

Safety of Canning Quick Breads, Utah State University Extension

Botulism, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Home Canning: Identifying and Handling Spoiled Canned Food, USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, United States Department of Agriculture, Extension Service

Growth of Clostridium sporogenes PA 3679 in home-style canned quick breads. Aramouni, F. M., K. K. Kone, J.A. Craig and D.Y. C. Fung. 1994. J. Food Protection 57: 882-886.

The safety of a home-style canned quick bread was investigated using spores of Clostridium sporogenes putrefactive anaerobe (PA) 3679. Baking was done at 177 degrees C for 30, 40 and 50 min, at 191 degrees C for 45, 50 and 55 min, and at 204 degrees C for 40, 45 and 50 min. Products were analyzed for pH, water activity (aw) and vacuum level. Tne microbial quality of the products was determined before and after baking. Of the products baked at 177 degrees C, some were stored for 90 days at room temperature (23 to 25 degrees C) or in an incubator at 35 degrees C to study their shelf-life. Inoculated and endogenous vegetative cells and their spores were counted before and after baking and after storage using Fung's Double Tube method. Results showed germination of endogenous spores in uninoculated products after baking at 177 degrees C for 30 min and storage at 35 degrees C for 90 days. Survival of inoculated C. sporogenes PA 3679 was detected for all baking and storage treatments. Further work is recommended to determine safe processing procedures for this type of product.

Niknud September 15, 2011
As someone with long experience of both sending and receiving baked goods during deployments, I would definately recommend investing in one of those vacuum food storage systems. They are genius and can keep cookies fresher longer. General rule of thumb - cookies are best. Brownies and cakes never (or almost never) travel well. It's not just that it takes a long time (currently my cousin in Afghanistan gets boxes about 3 weeks after mailing) but there are a lot of extreme temperature variations too. If you put whatever it is you baked out in the sun for, like, 4 days and it still resembles what it looked like coming out of the oven you've got yourself a winner! The chocolate bark incident of two months ago was an amature move on my part - they melted all over! And even though we're not talking about other things, I've always found good hot sauces and spice blends are welcome. The food can be depressingly bland and repetative on deployments. Hope this helps - I have (sadly) become an expert at sending care packages overseas. Let me know if other issues come up - military families are a community that should stick together and help each other out. Best wishes on the safe and fast return of your loved one KitchenGrandma.
boulangere September 15, 2011
HLA, I'm with you. Thank you for the high risk assessment. We're with you here KithdenGrandma, but maybe something of less long term risk.
hardlikearmour September 15, 2011
Penn State and the University of Georgia extensions do caution against the practice because botulism can grow in an oxygen-free environment. Would seriously suck if a service person got botulism from a baked good!
hardlikearmour September 15, 2011
My thought is that it's essentially like using one of the vacuum sealers for food storage.
boulangere September 15, 2011
Greenstuff, I have a feeling we're with you here, but also hoping to support sending really good stuff to the troops. Can someone with some long distance experience chime in?
hardlikearmour September 15, 2011
I'm pretty sure if it seals it will stay fresher much longer than if it's not. (Vacuum = minimal oxidation.)
Greenstuff September 15, 2011
Okay, explain this one to me--since when do we can cakes for safety? Doesn't a cake just get old? And aren't most "canned cakes" just baked in a canning jar as a cute gift idea, not actually processed?
boulangere September 14, 2011
If the lids did not "pop" and therefore sink, no, not safe.
hardlikearmour September 14, 2011
When you press on the center of the lid does it pop down then back up again? If so it is not sealed, and you should start again.
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