Cheap Recipe: Old-Fashioned Tomato Soup Cake & Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

6 Mar

I created another Facebook stir yesterday when I mentioned this treat was in my oven. While it’s an old trick, there’s a lot of folks who’ve never tried tomato soup cake, and I think that’s a crying shame. I hereby devote my afternoon to spreading word about this delicious invention.

While recipes for tomato soup cake abound, and are generally more or less the same, I’ve developed a few tweaks to mine that I consider real improvements. I also took out the raisins, nuts and other usual suspects that often appear in spice cake. What you get is a deliciously smooth-tasting spice cake without too many extra bits of “swag” vying for your attention. 🙂

I don’t know why this works. I just know it does.


The ginger-cream-cheese frosting idea was sparked by Heidi Swanson of “101 cookbooks” fame, but I added a healthy dose of vanilla extract in mine to blend the flavor. It’s quite zippy and makes a lovely compliment for the flavor of the cake itself.

Wet ingredients.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt a stick of butter (1/2 cup) in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Add 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, 1 egg, and 1/4 cup water. Stir briskly until well-blended. Add 1 (10.75-oz) can of condensed tomato soup and stir again.

Stir in the undiluted soup.


In a separate bowl, sift together: 2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1-1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon salt. Incorporate dry ingredients into batter.

Incorporate dry ingredients.


Grease two 9-inch baking pans or a 9×13-inch cake pan and fill with batter. Bake 2 rounds for 18-20 minutes, or 9×13 for about 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Ready to bake.


If you’re making a layer cake, allow cakes to cool in pan about 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. If you’re making it as a 9×13, you should be able to just leave it in the pan until cool, and then frost the top.

Great color!


Chef’s Note: The frosting recipe below will make enough to cover and decorate a layer cake; if you’re just frosting the top of a 9×13 sheet cake, you’ll only need half of this recipe.

Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting:

Beat the wet frosting ingredients together.


Go on. Lick the beater. No one’s watching.


Combine 1 (8-oz) package of cream cheese with 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, 1/4 cup milk, 1 tablespoon of ground ginger and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Beat until creamy.

Gradually add the contents of a 2-lb. bag of confectioner’s (powdered) sugar in 1-2 cup increments, beating after each addition. You may or may not have to use the whole bag before getting a good, thick consistency. Frost as desired.

I like mine chilled. Yum!

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