Mystery Cake

This is one of our new favorite cakes and I’m already looking for a reason to make it again. It’s so easy to put together and it tastes so good! The cake itself is a fairly basic spice cake with the classic flavor of cinnamon and cloves. The moist and dense texture, however, is what really makes it stand out.  It’s a cake with substance. As for the name, well it has a “mystery”ingredient. One that you would never expect to find in a cake.

That’s right. A can of tomato soup goes into this cake. But don’t worry. It definitely does not taste like tomatoes. If it did, Mike would not have eaten as many pieces as he did (which was a lot.) He raved about this recipe, saying repeatedly “I love this cake.” And incidentally, this is the same husband who refuses to ever eat tomato soup, even with grilled cheese sandwiches! Of course I didn’t tell him what went into the cake (I wanted him to eat it after all.) As of the writing of this post he still doesn’t know, and I will probably have a very surprised husband when he reads this post.

This cake truly  is wonderful. According to King Arthur Flour, the source of this recipe, it can be served as a snack cake, or with a light vanilla glaze. I disagree. I think a good thick spice frosting is what is really needed to make this cake perfect.

Mystery Cake with Spice Icing


For the Cake:
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, well beaten
1 can condensed tomato soup (Campbell's preferred) 10 3/4 ounce size
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 scant teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Spice Icing:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 to 1 Tablespoon whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9" round cake pan with cooking spray. Line with a parchment circle and spray lightly again. Cream butter and sugar in large bowl. Add egg and mix well.

Combine baking soda with undiluted soup in can. Let foam for 1 minute. Pour soup mixture into butter/sugar/egg and blend well. Mixture will look slightly curdled. This is normal.

In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder and spices. Whisk well and add to tomato soup mixture. Beat together for 1 minute on medium speed. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool on wire rack and ice as desired.

Spice Icing: Blend butter, sugar and spices. Stir in cream and vanilla. Beat until frosting is smooth, light and fluffy. Add additional sugar and/or cream until icing has the desired taste and texture.

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  1. I'm intrigued yet afraid of the tomato soup cake 😉 Its a mental thing… obviously 🙂

  2. Estela – Seriously don't be nervous about the tomato soup. I was nervous too, but you can't taste it at all. Once it's baked, all you taste is delicious spices! 🙂

  3. WOW I never would have expected that – it definitely looks great!

  4. No kidding?!? How cool is this!! 🙂

  5. Love the name of the cake. It looks yummy!

  6. Your cake sounds delicious! Great job 🙂

  7. Interesting!

  8. I've heard about this recipe before, but haven't tried it yet. Yours looks delicious!!

  9. I see we're both finding inspiration at the King Arthur site!! Too funny!

  10. Wow – I can't belive there is tomato soup in this recipe. It looks moist and delicious.

  11. My aunt has been raving about this recipe since Christmas – She says its an old favorite her mom used to make when they were growing up. She's been wanting me to make some for her. I'll give this recipe a try. I have used mayo in a chocolate cake before and it was the most moist cake I've ever made so I have no doubt that this mystery ingredient will make a delicious cake. It really does look great!

  12. I have heard of using tomato soup in cakes before but never tried it. Your cake looks so delicious and the frosting sounds perfect on it!

  13. Wow! Tomato sauce?! Really??? I would have never guessed. I've made muffins with pumpkin puree and applesauce before but never tomato. I would love to try this. I prefer my cakes to be dense and moist too so this sounds perfect!

  14. also, to answer your question (sorry I don't know how to respond to comments via email – let me know if you do!)…I've been getting all these fun products by simply asking for them and also some of the companies have contacted me! 🙂

  15. Wow how cool!! I've seen lots of things in cakes, but not tomato soup!

  16. I love the mystery of it all!

  17. tomato soup? now that's just weird! weird, i say. however, since everything you've described about this cake appeals to me, i suppose i shouldn't judge before i try it! the frosting sounds amazing too (and OF COURSE i'd make the whole recipe–leftover frosting rocks!). 🙂

  18. Hopefully you can't taste the soup. I do not like tomato soup. At all.
    But if you say it's really good, I'll give it a try. I think. Maybe.

  19. crazy! looks awesome though 🙂

  20. my mom has made us a tomato soup cake every year since I was a little girl for my birthday. She never used a recipe so she couldn't give me the recipe. I cannot wait to try this and see how close it is to hers. Thanks for sharing

  21. Who doesn't love tomato soup!? But in a cake? I'll have to try it myself.

  22. Yes, I have made this and it is delicious!

  23. I heard about this cake a while ago and I still want to try it out!

  24. Melynda – Thanks for the confirmation that this is a great cake! 🙂

  25. Wow! I definitely have to try this – who wouldathunk?! It looks so delicious.

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