Sounds like an impossible task right?! Well its not. The impossible part is dealing with the freaking Military and their stupid mail system that takes forever. This is the only thing that makes shipping perishables difficult. Other than that its quite simple.
I bought small mason jars that had seal lids on them instead of screw tops. This made it easier to put wax paper on the frosting and seal them shut before shipping.
So when you bake your cupcakes in a mason jar, theres no real temp or time difference. You just need to judge the size of your jars. If you are using bigger jars you will need to bake longer than you would bake a normal cupcake. Simple logic since if you were to bake a mini cake in a tiny spring-form you would do the same thing.
Make sure you remove all accessories to the jars. Thats why mason jars with screw lids are so much easier because you just unscrew the lids then put them in the oven. With these seal tops you have a lot more components to take apart but nothing some pliers can't help you with. Once your jars are stripped and clean you need to make your cake batter.
Any cake batter will do. For my test run I just made a simple chocolate cake (the photo above) Remember when you are filling your jars with batter that your cakes will rise and you don't want them to rise above the rims because then you wont have room to frost and seal the jars. I suggest half a jar of batter or less depending on how many eggs and rising ingredients you have used in your batter. If you want make a fancy flower or design with your piping tips on top of your cupcakes, make sure that you fill your jars with less than half a jar of batter so you have room to do this later.
Once your cupcakes are baked and cooled you can frost and decorate them like normal, still keeping in mind that you have a lid to put on. After they are frosted place wax paper on top of the frosting and seal the lid tightly.
Now this is the scary part. Freeze your cupcakes. When I first heard of this I freaked out because everyone knows, don't put cake in the fridge. But the freezer isn't as harsh on cakes as the fridge is and being in a sealed jar it doesn't dry out the cake like the fridge would. Phew!
If you are planning on shipping cupcakes like this, remember to bake them the day before you ship them and freeze them overnight. Package them up in bubble wrap individually instantly after you take them out of the freezer and box them up and ship ASAP!
Kyle got these after 2 weeks because of the military mail system...so I was really surprised that they were still good. If you are shipping to a military member, rushing your package won't speed up the process. It will just get your package to the US mailing spot fast but then once its in the military's hands you are out of luck in speed, thats what I've learned so far. Not the end of the world but it does make for shipping things like this more difficult.