Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tomato Soup Spice Cake

It was one of my father's Vermont cousins who originally introduced us to her tomato soup cake. She brought it as a hostess gift when she came visiting, and delighted the family with guessing what the secret ingredient was.  Like me, Mother enjoyed quirky, secret-ingredient recipes, and the idea of tomato soup in a cake was just too much for her to pass up, so she asked for and received the recipe and it immediately frequented our table.

There are a number of versions of this cake but I  added the word spice to the title. The spices definitely stand out, but when one reflects upon the taste, there is a definite pleasant, but not usual, background flavor, smiles, and that would the tomato. Tomato is, after all a fruit, and we should not be surprised or dismayed to see in in sweet recipes.

I've had this cake with both a butter cream and cream cheese frosting and in this instance used cream cheese as I had it on hand. It seems to go well with the spicy flavors and aromas.   The one caveat to this cake is, in my estimation, is that it's a little dry.  As a result, it is best enjoyed with a glass of milk, tea or coffee.

I don't think this will ever have the popularity of a great chocolate cake, but as an heirloom recipe it's worth remembering and enjoying. I know we do.

Tomato Soup Spice Cake
(Best Recipes from the Backs of Boxes, Bottles Cans and Jars by Ceil Dyer)

2 1/4 cups cake flour (or 2 cups all-purpose flour)
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1-10.75 ounce cake condensed tomato soup
1/2 cup shortening, softened
2 eggs
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 F. 

Generously grease and flour two round 8- or 9-inch layer pans, or a 13x9 inch oblong pan. 

Measure  and sift dry ingredients into large bowl; add soup and shortening. Beat at low to medium speed for 2 minutes  

Add eggs and water. Beat 2 minutes more, scraping bowl frequently. 

Divide batter equally between pans or if using the one oblong pan, spread the batter evenly. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes; remove. Cool.

Frost with butter cream or cream cheese frosting.