Vanilla whipped cream, fresh strawberries and blueberries, and deliciously moist Vanilla Almond Cake all in your own jar or cup--what would be better than that? Each adorable "cake-in-a-jar" will make a festive individual treat for your Fourth of July Party.
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How to Make Cake Parfaits or "Cake in a Jar"
These make an easy Fourth of July dessert--you can bake your cake in advance and freeze it, and no cake decorating experience is required to make these cups!
You can also make them as "On-the-Go" cups--just layer the cake in a 9-oz plastic cup with a lid and a plastic spoon--perfect for a picnic or party in the park.
If you'd like to make this delicious dessert in layer-cake form, try my Strawberry and Blueberry cake recipe.
Once you bake the cake, these yummy cake parfaits come together in no time at all. And a pro tip--you can bake the cake several days in advance and freeze it! Just thaw the cake for a few hours before you plan to assemble the parfaits.
We're layering the cake with my Easy Stabilized Vanilla Whipped Cream. The vanilla whipped cream is thick and fluffy with a delicious vanilla flavor from the Pure Vanilla Extract (the pure vanilla is totally worth it!). It is stabilized with Instant Clearjel or EZ Gel, which makes it especially thick and means no weeping whipped cream for us!
Since your whipped cream is stabilized, you can even assemble these parfaits the day before you serve them, and your parfaits will still be perfectly sturdy, creamy, and delicious.
Quick Fresh Berry Fillings
For Amycakes Bakery cake fillings I typically make a fruit compote from frozen berries that are cooked down and thickened. But with it being berry season, I went for a faster, easier, and extra-fresh tasting fruit filling for these cake parfaits. I used fresh strawberries and fresh blueberries (freshly-picked blueberries from Ozark Mountain Orchard, I might add).
Just smash the berries slightly with a cup, then add sugar and lemon juice to macerate them. Add in more sugar and Instant Clearjel to thicken them slightly and you've got yourself a delicious quick berry filling. No cooking required!
If you don't have instant clearjel or would just prefer a more traditional fruit compote filling, go for it! I have the instructions and recipes listed in the notes section of the recipe.
Can I substitute out the Instant Clearjel?
Sure, if you don't have Instant Clearjel handy (it's one my favorite secret baking ingredients), you either leave it out for a juicier fruit filling, or cook up a simple compote using cornstarch as described in the recipe note section.
The Vanilla Whipped Cream is being layered in a jar and does not require stabilizing, so you can simply leave out the Instant Clearjel. The whipped cream will be perfectly delicious, just not as thick. 🙂
Other Summer Flavors
These summer cake and cupcake flavors would also be perfect for your Fourth of July gathering.
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Red, White, and Blueberry Cake Parfaits
- around 2 ½ cups crumbled Vanilla Almond Cake (or your favorite vanilla cake)
Berry Fillings Ingredients
- 2 cups Fresh Blueberries
- 2 cups sliced Fresh Strawberries
- 2 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 7 tablespoon Sugar, divided
- 3 Tbsp instant clearjel (see note #1 for substitution)
Stabilized Vanilla Whipped Cream
- 1 x batch prepared Stabilized Whipped Cream (please note the batch size)
Crumble the Cake
- Using your hands, crumble the baked Vanilla Almond Cake into small pieces. It should be around 2 ½ cups of crumbled cake. (You can make this cake from a 1x batch of my Vanilla Almond Cake without the frosting. You'll only use half of the ¼ sheet cake you bake in six jars/cups (a 1x batch of this recipe), and you'll use all the ¼ sheet cake in 12 jars (a 2x batch of this recipe).
Prepare Fruit Fillings
- Place sliced Strawberries and Blueberries in separate medium-sized bowls, and slightly smash the berries using the base of a sturdy cup. (You could also use a fork for this). We still want there to be the texture of the whole and sliced berries, but by smashing them we are creating some added juiciness to our filling.
- Pour 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice and 2 Tbsp Sugar on top of each bowl of berries. Stir and allow to sit for 10 minutes. This will macerate the berries (softens them and brings out more juices).
- Whisk 3 Tbsp Sugar and 3 Tbsp Instant Clearjel together. (See note #1)
- Divide the Sugar/Instant Clearjel mixture evenly on top of each bowl of macerated berries. (3 Tbsp Sugar mixture per berry bowl). Mix thoroughly. Berries will thicken instantly and a little more as they set. Taste each bowl of berries at this point. If they are too tart for your liking, you can add a little more sugar as needed. (Since fresh berries vary in sweetness, the sugar may be adjusted to taste. I like for my fruit fillings to be slightly tart since they will be layered with sweet cake and whipped cream).
Assemble Cake Parfaits
- Layer the cake, fruit filling, and whipped cream in around equal parts between 6 jars/cups. There should be enough room for 3 layers of each (cake, fruit filling, and whipped cream x 3 in each jar). Alternate the strawberry and blueberry filling as you fill the jars so that there are two layers of blueberry and one middle layer of strawberry or vice versa.
- I used Disposable Piping Bags with the ends cut off to squeeze in the berry fillings and a 1M star tip for the whipped cream. You could also just spoon in your fillings and whipped cream.
- As you fill them, keep an eye on the sides of the jars/cups, piping or spooning against the sides as needed for the prettiest-looking layers.
- Tie a disposable wooden spoon on the Mason Jars with twine. Or stick a plastic spoon in the cup version, and top with a plastic lid, using the straw hole to keep the plastic spoon in place.
- Keep refrigerated until serving. Enjoy!
Read my article Instant Clearjel: a Magical Little-Known Bakery Ingredient to see why I think this ingredient is worth having in your pantry. Instant Clearjel must always be whisked thoroughly with other dry ingredients before added to wet ingredients to avoid clumping. Make sure what you purchase is labeled as “Instant.” Cooktyle Clearjel is a different product that does not work the same in cakes.
- If you don't have Instant Clearjel on hand, you can leave it out for a much juicer filling. Or cook a quick fruit competes with cornstarch, then allow them to cool before assembling. See my blueberry compote recipe and my strawberry compote recipe.
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4th of July Cake in Jar Story