Cavalcade of Food – Tomato Soup Cake (don’t let the name fool you!)
I don’t know if Andy Warhol ever had a tomato soup cake, but it predates his famous “soup can” painting (Campbell’s Tomato Soup Can – Andy Warhol, 1962, pictured right) by a number of years – published recipes for this dessert date back to the 1940’s. If he never got to experience this incredibly moist, flavorful cake, then he really missed out. I remember my mom talking about this cake, but I don’t know that she ever made one for us.
I found the recipe, not surprisingly, in the 1968 edition of Campbell’s “Cooking with Soup” cookbook. My chief cameraman, recipe taster and food idea guy, Ralph, was so intrigued by the notion of a cake that included tomato soup. Company was coming for dinner, so it was the perfect opportunity to make something special for dessert.
This is one of those wonderful recipes from America’s pop culture heritage. Even today, manufacturers of processed foods still provide countless recipes (although they are mostly found on their websites rather than printed on paper). The end result is a cake that is very flavorful and very, very moist. There is no oil added in this cake – the fat comes from the butter/margarine and the soup. You need to know that the cake DOES NOT taste like tomatoes – much to Ralph’s disappointment! It is, in practical terms, a spice cake. A rich, dense, moist spice cake that is the most beautiful color (thanks to the soup). The cream cheese frosting makes it even better! Here’s the link to the video:
Tomato Soup Cake
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 stick butter or margarine
1 10 3/4oz can tomato soup (yes, I think Campbell’s is the best, but use your favorite brand)
1/4 cup water
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 TBSP milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl, mix together tomato soup and butter/margarine until combined. Add two eggs and water and beat at high speed for a minute or two. Sift dry ingredients together in a separate bowl (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices). Gradually add dry ingredients into tomato soup mixture and combine well after each addition. Once all dry ingredients are added and well blended, pour batter into a greased and floured baking pan (either two 8″ cake pans, a 9×13 or a bundt pan). Put in 350 oven for 25-30 minutes. When cakes are done, remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool in pans for 15 minutes, and then remove cake from pan (unless you made it in a 9×13 pan – leave the cake in!).
Once cake had cooled completely, frost the cake. In a large bowl, put softened cream cheese and milk and blend with mixer until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla. Add powdered sugar about a cup at a time and blend well after each addition until frosting is smooth and creamy. Frost cake and chill until serving time. Enjoy!