Tomato Soup Cake

By Marian Bull
March 6, 2014
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Author Notes: 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

Makes: one 2-layer cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • One 10 3/4-ounce can condensed tomato soup (Campbell's is most traditional)
  • 1/2 cup shortening (or butter)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup raisins
  • Cream cheese frosting
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans, shaking out any excess flour.
  2. 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.
  3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes; when the cake is done, the tines of a fork should come out clean.
  4. 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.

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