Weird Recipe of Yesteryear: Tomato Soup Cake, actually less gross than you would imagine

My friend Anna found a bunch of old recipes in a drawer she bought at a thrift shop a while back.  A couple of the recipes were dated from 1940, so we are assuming most are from about that time.  Many of the recipes are huge, enough servings to serve 100 people or more.  Perhaps they are from a church kitchen? A number of the recipes are also weird.  We are going to make a recipe from this collection probably once a month and post it on here.  We decided to start with one of the strangest recipes in there: Tomato Soup Cake.  The only problem was, it wasn’t so much a recipe as a list of ingredients.  However, we have made enough cakes to guess how it went together.  The big question was how long to bake it and what type of pan it should go in.  We ended up doing a 9 inch round pan, and it baked for about 4o-45 minutes.

The end result was similar to pumpkin spice cake, but not as good.  I am not sure if you could tell the difference if you didn’t know about the soup.  After we had made it, I went online to see if other people made this cake (not sure why I didn’t try this before).  I did find similar recipes, believe it or not.  The recipe originates from 1925–it was an invention of the Campbell’s Soup Corporation, no surprise there.  Campbell’s still has a modified recipe on their website!  I think we probably should have made the cake in a loaf pan–that seems to be a more common way to make it.  I was pleased to see that topping it with cream cheese frosting was also common, which we decided to do just looking at the ingredient list.

All in all it was a fun adventure.  Will I start making this cake on a regular basis? No.  It was not that good.  It was better than I thought it would be though, and it would be a good conversation starter I suppose.  Or maybe if there is a big run on pumpkin someday, and you really want a pumpkin spice cake, you can look this up and make it.


1/4 pound shortening (we used butter instead, and it worked fine)

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 can or tomato soup

1 teaspoon baking soda–put in the soup

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

2 teaspoons baking powder


We started by creaming the butter until nice and fluffy.  Add the sugar and mix well.  Add the egg and mix well.  Put in the tomato soup/baking soda combo.

Meanwhile we mixed all the dry ingredients together.  Once the wet ingredients were well mixed.

Lucy was helping out with the cake too

Bake the cake at 350 degrees.  The baking time will vary on your choice of pan.  For a 9″ round bake for about 40 minutes.  If you do a loaf pan, maybe try about an hour?

Now for the frosting:

The frosting was really good, and it made the cake better I think.  Mix up 3 ounces of cream cheese (at room temp), half stick of butter (at room temp), 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and 2 cups of powdered sugar.  Blend together until light and fluffy.  I found this recipe from my Better Homes and Garden’s Baking book–a classic.

Once the cake has cooled, put on the frosting:

And finally, cut a slice and enjoy…


One thought on “Weird Recipe of Yesteryear: Tomato Soup Cake, actually less gross than you would imagine

  1. There is a children’s book “Thunder Cake” which includes a recipe for chocolate cake with tomatoes. So it seems that tomato soup is not a bad ingredient for cake:)

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