Tomato soup adds the unexpected to spice cake

February 6, 2013 

For those who think tomato soup is only good with grilled cheese sandwiches, think again.

Tomato soup turns from savory to sweet in an unusual spice cake that was popular in the 1930s and during World War II.

"Your request for a tomato soup cake recipe brought back some old memories. My mom used to make this cake when we (five siblings) were growing up in Saginaw, Mich,," said Jean Mulkerin of Biloxi, Miss. "She loved making food with unusual ingredients. This was one of them.

"We loved this cake because it was moist and had raisins and nuts in it, and it was topped with a delicious, easy frosting. Mom made it in a sheet cake pan," Mulkerin said.

The following recipe is nearly identical to one sent in by Cash Pitkin and his mom, Barbara, of Palmetto.


1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup shortening

1 can tomato soup with 1 level teaspoon soda dissolved in the soup

2 eggs

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup nuts

1 cup raisins

Cinnamon, cloves and allspice to taste

Mix ingredients together. Bake in 2 layer pans for 30 minutes in a 400-degree oven. When cool, frost with cream cheese filling or frosting.


1 cup powdered sugar

1 (8-ounce) brick Philadelphia cream cheese

Beat together until smooth. Spread on cooled cake.

-- Submitted by Jean Mulkerin


(Circa 1963)

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup shortening

2 eggs

1 can tomato soup

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon soda

2 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cloves

Pinch of salt

Vanilla (about 1 teaspoon)

1 cup nuts, chopped

Put all in one bowl. Mix with mixer on medium speed until all is mixed well then run mixer on high for a few minutes. Bake about 40 minutes at 350 degrees in 2 layer cake pans. Bake until toothpick comes out clean.

-- Submitted by Jean Mulkerin from the "Lutheran Children's Friend Society Cookbook"

Eleven other readers sent in their versions of tomato soup cake. Some vary in ingredients, and others are too similar to share again.

Reader Victoria Olsen said the reader who asked for the cake recipe must not have Internet access because Olsen did a search and came up with 4,030,000 results.

"She may have lost it, but many other people have 'found' it," Olsen said.

Thankfully readers still want to help out fellow readers. Sending recipes for the cake are Irene Riley of Biloxi; Doris I. Lyons of Gulfport; Olsen, Cash Pitkin and his mom, Barbara; Jeanne Reid; Laura Ost; MaryJane Roche; Betty Mock of Biloxi; and Betty Morgan. Audrey Morris of Ellenton, Fla., shares her recipe for tomato soup bars.

Phoebe Harper suggested the reader look at for one of the better ones.

"This is a recipe I have never tried, but it was in a box of recipes my grandmother passed down to me. I believe it came from her mother-in-law, so the time frame would have been the 1940s," Laura Ost said. "I hope this is what your reader is looking for. I think I will try it now myself."


1 cup brown sugar (did not specify light or dark)

1/2 cup butter (did not specify salted or unsalted)

1 can tomato soup (concentrated)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups flour (I assume all-purpose)

2 eggs beaten

1/2 cup raisins or nuts

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cloves (ground, I assume)

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all together and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

-- Submitted by Laura Ost

"My Aunt Kay in Connecticut was such an organized person. She always had several tomato soup cakes in her freezer for when company dropped in unexpectedly," said Betty Mock of Biloxi. "It is a delicious type of spice cake that freezes so well. I know she would pull the cake out of the freezer as the guests knocked on the door, and it was thawed just in time for coffee and cake. This is how she gave it to me, and I'm passing it on the same way. No temperature, but I added that and no time. You can see this is a very old recipe. Enjoy!

"By the way, she always baked hers in a tube pan, so do I," Mock said.

This recipe is similar, but amounts of ingredients vary.


1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons shortening

1 egg

Cream these together and add:

1 can tomato soup

Combine the following dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture:

1 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 3/4 cup flour


1 cup raisins

Bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees). Bake until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean, probably 30-40 minutes.

-- Submitted by Betty Mock

MaryJane Roche's recipe makes a smaller cake that is baked in an 8-by-8-inch square pan. Even though her recipe is similar to Mock's, the amount of ingredients are different enough to share the whole recipe.


1/2 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 can tomato soup

1-1/3 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1-1/4 teaspoons salt

Mix all ingredients together. Pour in 8-by-8-inch greased pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Frost with vanilla frosting. Eat and enjoy.

-- Submitted by MaryJane Roche

Jeanne Reid, in her recipe, increases the flour to 2-1/4 cups of flour if using cake flour and sugar to 1-1/3 cups. She also adds1/4 cup water to the recipe that is similar to Mulkerin's circa 1963 cake.

Irene Riley uses a spice cake mix as the base for her cake.

"This tomato soup cake recipe is the best one I've made. The recipe is from 'Campbell's Classic Recipes,' " Riley said.


1 package (about 18 ounces) spice cake mix

1 can (10-3/4 ounces) Campbell's condensed tomato soup

1/2 cup water

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans.

In large bowl, mix cake mix, soup, water and eggs according to package directions. Pour into prepared pans. Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.


1 pound confectioner's sugar, sifted

1/2 cup margarine, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

Combine sugar, margarine and cream cheese. Mix until smooth. Add vanilla. Mix well. Use large bowl. Can use canned frosting.

-- Submitted by Irene Riley


1 can tomato soup

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup oil

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons allspice

1 teaspoon soda

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup raisins

Mix ingredients well and spread into a well-greased cake pan or cookie sheet pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool and frost with cream cheese frosting.

-- Submitted by Audrey Morris

Fowl jerky

"We make goose jerky every fall, and this is the recipe we use," said Bev Berrier of Bradenton, Fla. "Everyone likes it."


2/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/3 cup vinegar

2 tablespoons black pepper

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

For fowl: add1/4 cup orange juice and 1 tablespoon lemon pepper. Marinate overnight. If desired add liquid smoke to taste.

-- Submitted by Bev Berrier

Wanted: Vrazel's Crab Casserole

While in Sam's on Saturday, a reader told me that she was so excited to get Bill Vrazel's spinach touffle recipe.

"I still miss the crab casserole," she said. "I ate the crab dish and the spinach every time I went there. Can you get the recipe?"

Bill, will you share the recipe? I know readers would love to have it.

Valentine's event

After reading a Valentine's press release that Mattison's Forty-One in Sarasota, Fla., e-mailed me, I easily could make a evening on just desserts. I wonder if the pastry chef would share the recipe for passion fruit panna cotta with coconut tuile or the sweetheart chocolate Grand Marnier fondue for two?

The whole special menu sounds delightfully decadent and, yes, romantic.

Andrea Yeager, can be reached at Send contributions or requests to Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567. If requesting a recipe, include the name or describe it.

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