Mystery Spice Cake

When my children were small I used to make a spice cake with a very unexpected ingredient – a can of Campbell’s tomato soup, but I had forgotten about it until lately.  I don’t remember where I got the recipe for the cake,  off a tomato soup label, probably, but when I googled “tomato soup cake” I got quite a bit of hits, such as from the King Arthur Flour site as well as from bloggers like me who include the cake in their repertory.

So when I was visiting grandchildren, I thought it would be fun to make a “Can of tomato soup” cake for the novelty of it, and we did.  The cake was as delicious and moist as I remembered it so I decided to add it to my list of things to whip up when the mood strikes.

HOWEVER, and I feel a bit guilty about this, in my enthusiasm to share with grandchildren the oddity of making a cake with a can of tomato soup, I did not read the tomato soup can label.  I don’t know if the ingredients in the soup have changed in all these years or if I have changed, but when I read the label on the soup can I was about to purchase to make my next tomato soup spice cake, I was totally blown away. Oh, Goodness, it was full of additives.  Not something I wanted to use.  So, I decided to try to find a substitute.

tomato spice cake_1 The Pomì strained tomatoes was the best product I found.  It is simply TOMATOES – nothing else, and it works really well as a healthier substitute for a can of tomato soup.

Since I use King Arthur flour and consult their site when I am baking, I based my recipe on their “Mystery Cake” recipe changing it a bit to adjust for the tomato substitution.


  1. 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  2. 3/4 cup sugar
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoon soda
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  8. 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  9. 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  10. 1 1/4 cup Pomì strained tomatoes
  11. 1/2 cup to 1 cup raisins
  12. 1/2 cup to 1 cup walnuts (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees


  1. Prepare either a 9″round cake pan or a loaf pan
  2. Beat butter and sugar until light
  3. Add the egg and continue beating until pale yellow
  4. Add the soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice to the flour.  Sift about 1/4 cup onto the raisins and nuts (if using nuts) and set them aside (doing this will help distribute the nuts and raisins throughout the cake rather than having them sink to the bottom)
  5.  Sift about 1/4 of it into the creamed sugar/butter mixture. Beat to mix well.
  6. Add about 1/4 of the tomato and mix to blend.
  7. Continue in this manner, adding flour mixture and tomato alternatively while beating until everything is incorporated.
  8. Add the raisin/nut mixture and stir to blend.
  9. Pour into the prepare pan and bake in the oven until a knife inserted comes out clean.  If using a shallow 9″ cake pan, it will take about 30-35 minutes.  If using a loaf pan it will take more like 50 minutes.

tomato spice cake_0

The Spice loaf…takes longer to bake

image If you bake the spice cake in a round pan, it takes a shorter time to bake.

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