You will need:
1 pint canning jars (preferably with no necks, but any will do)
Cake mix (and all ingredients that the recipe calls for)
Sanitize all canning jars and lids. Mix cake batter (I used red velvet) up as directed on box. Grease inside of canning jars with butter. Pour cake mix into jars 1/4 cup at a time, making 1 cup total in each jar. Be careful not to get any mix on upper part of the jars (it will burn!). Place canning jars on cookie sheet, or a pan with sides.
Bake as directed on cake mix box, subtracting 10 minutes from total time. Place canning lids on stove 5 minutes before the cakes are set to come out. When the timer goes off, test with skewer to see if they are completely done.
Let the cakes cool for 5 minutes (no longer). At this time you may add a spoonful of cake icing (or you can have the recipient use their own). Put (warm, from sitting on stove) lids on (careful not to screw on too tight). The lids will 'ping' as they cool. This means they are sealing. If you miss the 'ping', press on the lid. If it doesn't move at all, it's sealed. The cake will pull away from the sides of the jar slightly as it cools.
Mine aren't as pretty as they should be, because I didn't use quite a cup in each and they aren't full enough. I melted the icing and put it on top so it would drip down a bit. Nobody wants a half-iced cake in a jar!
This is where you get creative. You can add fabric to the top of the jar (wrap a rubberband or ribbon around it to keep it in place), or even add a zip-loc baggie with a plastic (or real!) fork or spoon inside. Add a little notecard to make it personal (and so people are not confused as to what's inside). The possibilities are endless -- I am using my Cricut to cut out everyone's names and then put mod podge over them to keep them in place. I will add pictures when I can (probably tomorrow).
I would love to see what you come up with.. feel free to post a link to your blog if you write about it.
Total cost: Less than $2 each.
**Unsealed cakes need to be refrigerated and eaten within a week. Sealed cakes can be frozen or stored in the refrigerator for months.**