This was my grandmother Ruthie's recipe, a technique that Irish immigrants apparently relied on when short on money and fresh ingredients. It tastes nothing like tomato soup, I assure you; but rather like a nice spice cake, spotted with raisins, best with a cream cheese frosting.
This recipe was originally printed, sans raisins, in Linda Bassett's From Apple Pie to Pad Thai: Neighborhood Cooking North of Boston (Commonwealth Editions, 2002). —Marian Bull
one 2-layer cake
1 1/3 cups
1 1/2 teaspoons
10 3/4-ounce can condensed tomato soup (Campbell's is most traditional)
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans, shaking out any excess flour.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the soup, shortening, eggs, and water. Beat together until everything forms a smooth (pink!) batter. Fold in raisins. Pour the batter into the cake pans, doing your best to get the same amount in each.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes; when the cake is done, the tines of a fork should come out clean.
Let cake cool completely before frosting; my mother says that Ruthie would likely frost each layer, and leave the sides bare, which I've done here.