The time has come.
For me, "the time" means that I'm realizing how many people are in my life I love so much, and how I want to give them all fabulous gifts, and how having 4 jobs that I love mostly means that I'm embarrassingly poor but really quite happy so I'd better get on making some homemade gifts asap so I don't lose my house.
THE TIME HAS COME TO MAKE OUR OWN CHRISTMAS GIFTS!
It's more fun, too.
I found this little project on Pinterest, where I regularly spend hours looking at craft projects that I'll never do. It's not that I can't craft...it's just that I hurry too much and things end up looking sloppier than the perfect pictures you see on the interwebz.
Also see: The End Of This Post.
So anyway, if you want to see what these are supposed to look like, check out this post - they did a better job than I did.
Basically, you make cupcakes in three layers, then put them in a jar with icing, then use a bow to make the whole thing prettified. I gave these earlier this year for another type of gift, but wouldn't these be cute for Christmas! Maybe teachers gifts? Maybe not. My sister is a teacher and is only one tiny person and brings MOUNDS of candy and cookies and cake and fudge to my parents' house every year around this time.
Give teachers money, is what I'm trying to say.
Back to the cupcakes. You can use a boxed mix, like I did! Besides the cupcake ingredients, you need:
- food coloring
- mason jars
- icing (your choice)
- round tags printed on sticker paper in the same size as your jar lids (template on the above link)
- gift tags with personal message
- hole punch
- mini bottles of champagne, for the gift bags
- gift bags or other wrapping apparatus
Now, all of the above is strictly optional. I packaged my jars with champagne because I thought it would be cute and festive. I was right. You don't need to mess with the stickers or tags, just add any cute touches that you like.
Now, the idea with the cupcakes is that you make three colors in a gradient, then stack them one on top of each other in the jar. First, mix the batter as directed.
Then, pour the batter into three different bowls.
Now, onto the color! You want the colors to double each other.
So, if you put two drops of food coloring in the first bowl, do 4 in the second, then 8 in the third for a clear difference between the three shades. I ended up using 4, 8, and 16 drops because I wanted my colors to be really vibrant. I also used red food coloring to make pink batter. You can use any color you'd like!
Pour the prepared batter into pans WITH CUPCAKE CUPS (I didn't do that, you'll see what happened in a minute) and bake them as directed.
Place the cupcakes on a rack to cool.
When the cupcakes are completely cool, we can assemble the jars! First, prep the jars by putting the round stickers on top of the lids so they're all ready.
Now, the original instructions just have the cupcakes cut in half, then layered whole with icing in the jars. I totally should have done this. BUT, I didn't use cupcake cups, so the outside of my cupcakes were more brown than I'd like, and you couldn't see the difference in the pink that well. If you use cupcake cups, there isn't any brown on the edges of the cooked cakes.
So, I had the brilliant idea to crumble the cupcakes gently with my fingers so that the pink would be more visible. It worked....until I got to the final product and there were lots of gaps around the edges of the jar - this prevented the icing from distributing evenly in the jar.
Whether you crumble the cakes or leave them whole and cut them in half horizontally, you'll want to layer them with icing in the jar next. Put some of the lightest color on the bottom of the jar....
...then prep the icing by plopping some of it in a pastry bag or zip-loc bag.
Snip off a corner of the bag...
....and pipe a layer of icing in the jar!
Then add the next darkest cupcake color.....more icing...and the final darkest layer of cake.
I used 3 layers of cake and 2 layers of icing, but you could use more icing if you wanted at the top of the jar!
Screw the jar lid on, then let's get these suckers ready for gift giving glory.
Punch a hole in the corner of the tags, and thread some ribbon through it. I don't have a hole punch, so I used a pencil. This is what I mean when I say I'm rushed and sloppy when I do crafts. Whatever.
Tie the ribbon with the tag around the jar, and tie a pretty bow! You don't have to use everything pink like I did here. But you can, and it'll be really pretty. Just saying.
Look how cute! Perfect? No. Yummy? Heck yes.
Stick the jars in a bag with one of the little bottles of champagne, and top with more pretty pink paper.
That's it! These were easy and fun to make, and the next time I do them I'll use the cupcake cups and just slice the cupcakes in half. They make great gifts for any occasion, and you could even make mini ones for party favors!
Oh, also. We're getting married. In August. If that wasn't already obvious. 🙂
To let you know how things are going so far, when we started talking about save the dates, Jay's idea was to do a photoshoot in which he's in a bathtub and I'm pointing a hair dryer at him like a gun with some kind of SHE'S GOT ME caption.
This'll be fun, folks. Stay tuned. There'll be more DIY gifts coming up too!