Vintage Tomato Soup Cake

Let’s just file this under “Oddly Delicious” shall we? Harking from the same recipe-pivoting era as Chocolate Vinegar Cake this wonderfully moist spiced cake was originally the gimmick of the well known convenience food giant Campbells. Appealing to thrifty housewives who had to pivot due to ever increasing rationing restrictions on ingredients this is a left of center approach to the seminal favorite carrot cake. The use of tomato soup is really based much more in texture and color as opposed taste, being barely perceptible on the palette. The bright red of the original soup altering to a pleasing dark amber, evocative of Autumnal evenings. In fact the whole package of this deliciously warm spiced cake could easily replace any demand for pumpkin laced bakes in my books.

The original recipe for this proved popular throughout the ages, from it’s origins in the ’20s right through to the ’70s, reaching it’s peak in the 1950s with the recipe regular featuring on the reverse of soup cans. The prominence of convenience foods in the 50s and 60s called for the use of boxed spice cake mix as the main ingredient coupled with the tomato soup. Here I’ve tweaked the original recipe using traditional cake ingredients (sans box mix!) and added in some plump, soaked golden raisins and toasted walnuts for a bit more bite.

Research on this cake will lead you to it in it’s various forms. Vintage published recipes show a loaf-type cake with chocolate frosting, later appearing as a round layer cake with cream cheese frosting. I’ve settled on letting the uniqueness of the cake itself shine through as a Bundt, finished with a simple but ample dusting of powdered sugar. All in all this cake provides a delicious bite of retro-tastiness which is a worthy replacement for any run-of-the-mill coffee cake.

Vintage Tomato Soup Cake #recipe

Makes 1 8-cup Bundt Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 10oz/295g can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (plain flour)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice, or pumpkin spice mix
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup strong tea
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
  • Powdered sugar, to finish

Method

  1. Combine the golden raisins and tea in a small bowl and steep for 15 mins
  2. Prepare an 8-cup bundt pan with baking spray
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease
  4. Add the condensed tomato soup (DON’T add water) to a bowl and stir in the baking soda (it will puff up a bit). Set aside while preparing the rest of the ingredients
  5. Add the sugar and butter to a mixer bowl and beat with paddle attachment until light and fluffy.
  6. Add n the vanilla extract, and then beat in the eggs, one at a time until just mixed
  7. Mix in the tomato soup. (Note: it might ‘split’ slightly but don’t worry, it will come together with the flour)
  8. Sift in the flour, baking powder and spices, then add the golden raisins (drained) and toasted walnuts. Gently fold to combine with a wooden spoon, or spatula. Don’t overmix, but ensure no streaks of flour remain
  9. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for in preheated oven for 35 minutes, after this time reduce the heat to 325°F and bake for a further 10-15 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
  10. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely
  11. Once fully cool, dust liberally with powdered sugar

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