Soup in cake? According to a booklet published by the H. J. Heinz Company condensed soup as an ingredient in cake is wonderful. I read this recipe and I don’t know if I will ever try it although I love a good spice cake.
Cakes containing mystery ingredients such as soup became popular in the 1930s during the Great Depression. The idea is cake using soup is rich and moist without using a large number of eggs so it was economical. The first printed spice cake recipe using soup was printed in a 1928 newspaper article. I think a cook may have used the soup instead of sour cream in a cake recipe. The purpose of the soup cake is that when entertaining the cake was a dessert and a conversation piece. The guests would be asked to guess the mystery ingredient.
There are a few variations of the basic soup spice cake recipe posted on the internet. Some include a cup of raisins. Another type includes a cup of chopped nuts. Others use chopped dried fruits such as dates or figs. It seems any combination of those items can be added to the cake batter as long as the total amount is around a cup to one and a half cups. The spices used differ from recipe to recipe. Different amounts and different combinations. Some did not include ginger or cloves but all included cinnamon and most included nutmeg.
While reading various recipes for soup spice cake I noticed that all were based on two cups of cake or all purpose flour. One of the first recipes from a soup company was from the Campbell company. It used two cups of regular flour and included raisins. The Heinz recipe is the only one I read that calls for three cups of cake flour and I think that might be a misprint. I haven’t experimented with the recipe but when I do I will use two cups of all purpose flour. Another change will be to add some ground ginger and maybe part brown sugar.
The recipe will make 1 layer cake. The recipe for cream cheese frosting from the booklet follows the cake recipe.
Coral Spice Cake
- 3 cups of sifted cake flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
- 3/4 cup of shortening
- 1 1/4 cup of sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 can of Heinz condensed cream of tomato soup, undiluted
- 1 /4 cup of water
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
Heat the oven to 350 degree F and prepare the pans by greasing them and lightly flouring them or by using pan release spray.
Sift the first 5 ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Cream the shortening and sugar together in another large bowl. Add the eggs to the creamed mixture and beat well. Combine the soup, water and the baking soda in another bowl. Add the soup mixture and the dry mixture alternately to the creamed mixture. Mix well.
Pour into 2 9 inch layer cake pans. Bake at 350 degree F. for 30 to 35 minutes or until the cake tests done. Remove from oven, cool before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 packages (3 ounces) of cream cheese
- 3 cups of sifted powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
Cream the cheese and butter together. Beat in the sugar and flavoring. Beat until smooth.
Cool the cake layers about 5 minutes before removing from the pans.
There is no salt in the cake recipe. I believe that is because the condensed soup contains salt. If the soup you use does not you will need to add about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt to the cake ingredients.
Taste the batter and adjust the spices if needed before baking. Sometimes more is needed in spice cakes because of the freshness of the spices.
Part brown sugar might improve the cake recipe.
Many cooks during the 1930s added a cup of raisins to the batter. Soak the raisins in hot water, sherry, brandy or rum until plumped. Drain well before adding to the batter.
Chopped nuts could be added to the cake batter. Walnuts are traditional in spice cake.
Lemon or orange extract can be used instead of vanilla in the frosting.