One of my fond childhood memories cherishes the wonder of a spice cake made from canned tomato soup. I remember the first time my mother was going to make this for me, I thought she was crazy! The recipe contained no eggs, butter, or milk. How on earth was it going to be any good? But after that first bite of the finished product, it became one of my favs. The cake was moist, creamy, not too sweet, and just delicious. We always made a cream cheese frosting to finish this off. This was one of those recipes my mother had learned during the depression of the thirties. Well updating this for our times, I learned a healthy vegan version at the baking and education center up at King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vermont. They use canola oil in their recipe, but trust me, olive oil instead is really wonderful here! I also have added new spices, a different sugar, and espresso. This delicious cake can hold up all week long, if it is not eaten up first. —Sagegreen
8" square or round cake
1 1/2 cups
white whole wheat flour (King Arthur)
muscovado sugar, packed (or brown sugar)
fresh ground cloves
fresh ground allspice
ground sumac (Rhus coriaria) or lemon zest
instant espresso powder, your choice of strength, optional
vanilla (Tahitian preferred)
extra virgin olive oil (or canola oil)
low sodium V8 juice
yellow raisins, plumped up in 1 tbl. of V8 juice, optional
For convenience measure all the dry ingredients (excepting the sugar dusting) directly into an 8 inch pan. After blending these evenly with a fork, make 2 indentations. Pour the vanilla into one dent and the V8 juice into the other. Stir all the ingredients together with a fork until well blended. Add in the optional yellow raisins (drain off V8 juice before adding) and lemon zest. If you prefer to use a conventional mixing bowl and want to plate the cake, rather than serve out of the pan, then spray your pan with canola oil before pouring the mix into it.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. You can serve this right from the pan. If desired, dust with powdered sugar (or non dissolving sugar) using a fine meshed sieve held about 6 inches above, when the cake is cool. Optionally, you can place an object on the top of the cake and sift powdered sugar around it for a fun decorative effect. You can also serve this cake warmed. For non-vegan options, serve with a dollop of crème fraiche, ginger ice cream, or coffee flavored icing (see photos). Slice into small pieces and enjoy, from one depression era to another.