Get a clue: The secret to Mystery Cake revealed

Hey there, you. Yes, you the baker. It’s me, your New Year’s Baking Resolution. You know the one where you said you were going to be more adventurous, try new recipes, new ingredients, new flavors?

I’ve been hard at work searching for our first escapade, and have I got a doozie! Ready to learn more? Check out this Mystery Cake, it’s made with..


Oh no you don’t, get back here! You promised! Here, does this help?


Ah, now that’s better. Mystery Cake is really a spice cake, rich with cinnamon and cloves, which just happens to use tomato soup. Trust me, it does not taste like tomatoes and if I hadn’t told you, you never would have known and probably would have had two pieces, making Weight Loss Resolution rather miffed.

Actually, Weight Loss would be pretty pleased with this cake. It hails back to the 1930s, when butter and eggs were precious commodities, so very little of either were used in this recipe.

Don’t get the wrong idea, though. This isn’t a dry cake. On the contrary – it’s very moist thanks to the soup, and doesn’t even need any icing, although vanilla icing just sends it over the top of Mount Yummy. This cake was wildly popular for the better part of 40 years, until packaged mixes and flashy new recipes such as Red Velvet cake (1962) and Tunnel of Fudge (1966) pushed it out of the limelight.

NO MORE, I say! YOU are a culinary leader for a new year, a new decade!  YOU can bring Mystery Cake back to its former glory, and win the praises of your family, friends and co-workers at the same time.

YOU are a Baker!

Oh, good. I can see from that look in your eye that you’re intrigued, inspired even. Let me show you how easy it is to make this cake, and you’ll be off on the road to culinary greatness in 2010.


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9″ round cake pan with cooking spray.


Line the pan with a circle of parchment paper, and spritz again.


In the bowl of your stand mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. The butter will lighten up in color and the sugar will blend in until it’s nearly invisible.


Add the egg and beat until the batter is smooth and well combined.


Now for the fun part. Stir the baking soda into the can of undiluted soup (10 3/4 ounce size) . Kids love this part, it’s like a science fair volcano.


Check out the fizz! Time to get this into the batter before we’re cleaning tomato soup lava from the counters.


Pour the soda/soup mix into the batter and stir to be sure all the soup is combined.


At this point the batter will look curdled. That’s normal and will be fine once the flour is mixed in. Hey, I’m your Baking Resolution. Would I steer you wrong?


Add the flour, baking powder and spices. You really should do this in a small bowl and whisk them all together first, to be sure that they are well combined. I think Less TV Resolution was out to lunch and I got caught up in a riveting episode of SpongeBob for a moment there.

Blend until well mixed. Stir in the raisins (if using).

Oooh, aren’t you the creative thinker! Yes, you can use currants, or nuts, or a combination. If it sounds good to you, go for it! Just keep it around a 1/2 cup total.


Pour the finished batter into the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.


Doesn’t that smell great? Oh, sorry. I forgot you don’t have smell-o-screen. I think that’s on Bill Gates’ Resolution list though. Shhh, I’ve said too much!


After loosening the sides of the cake from the pan, turn it out on a rack to cool. Peel the parchment circle off and revel in the easy cleanup.


Like I said before, this cake doesn’t need any icing, but a simple vanilla glaze makes it over-the-top good. I’ve also heard that chocolate icing is delish, and cream cheese icing transforms Mystery Cake into a real celebration cake. If I may say so, it’s mmm-mmmm, good!

I, your humble New Year’s Baking Resolution, am so proud of you. You embraced the challenge with open arms and an open mind. I’m hot on the trail of our next culinary outing and I’ll check in with you soon.

By the way, how do you feel about kelp? Or escargot? Wait, come back! Come baaaaack…

Please view, bake and review our recipe for Mystery Cake.

MaryJane Robbins

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...


  1. Kim

    I have a tomato soup cake recipe handwritten by my grandmother. She labeled it “Polish Soup Cake”. We have no Polish ancestry, so I’m not sure about the name. I love to make the cake and tell guests afterward what the mystery ingredient is. It is also yummy with cream cheese icing.
    Hi Kim,
    My original copy of the recipe is hand written by my mother’s aunt and dates back to the late 30’s. I didn’t see any references to this cake as Polish when researching, but maybe she got it from a friend who was Polish? Glad it’s a favorite with you too.
    ~ MaryJane

  2. Lish

    My grandmother was never ever a good baker, except for this cake. I used to make it all the time when I was in high school, but I don’t think I have made it in at least 6 or 7 years. I forgot how much I loved it. Thanks for the reminder, and the fact that it can still be eaten without leaving the healthy eating resolution behind. It also works with whole wheat flour fairly well.
    Hi Lish,
    Good to hear from you. Yes, this cake does take well to half white whole wheat. I haven’t tried adding any Hi Maize Natural Fiber to it, but I bet it would work well. Whatcha bought lately to make me jealous?? 🙂 ~ MaryJane

  3. Mary

    Sounds delicious, BUT…

    doesn’t Campbell’s Tomato Soup still have MSG in it? (Which some of us just can’t eat.) If so, how would substituting another brand affect the recipe – is there anything we should look for to make sure it comes out okay?

    You may use any commercially prepared condensed Tomato soup for this recipe. Pick your favorite. Frank @ KAF.

  4. Kathy

    It’s fun to see you take on cakes of yesteryear. What’s next? Crazy cake (the one where you mix it up in the baking pan)? Watergate cake? Election day cake? Jell-O cake (a family favorite)? As a woman who grew up reading old church and community cookbooks, I’m waiting with great interest!
    Hi Kathy,
    We LOVE church and community cookbooks here too. Some of the best recipes are “local secrets”. Stay tuned in 2010 for lots of great new recipes from your faithful bloggers. ~ MaryJane

  5. CJ

    I used to make tomato soup cake all the time when my kids were younger – I just didn’t tell them what it was. 🙂

    They loved it – I used to use cream cheese icing, though.
    Hi CJ,
    I know what you mean. We called this cake “spice cake” up until this year at our house. Now my 15 year old daughter Shannon knows the truth, so she can make it herself. 🙂 ~ MaryJane

  6. MaryO

    This was a lot of fun to read! I’m still grossed out by the look of the Campbell’s tomato soup –echh! but I just may give it a try.

    What I really want — a recipe for a homemade chocolate cake that’s as moist as a mix. I don’t do mixes, and yet I haven’t found a recipe yet that stays moist, with great chocolate flavor.

    Do you have one of those up your sleeve?
    Hi MaryO,
    Tee hee, take a deep breath, close your eyes and mix up the cake. You’ll love it once you try it! For the chocolate cake, the moistest chocolate cakes I’ve ever had are 1) Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake from Hershey’s and 2) this KAF Chocolate Cake recipe, made in a 9×13 pan with added chocolate chips in the batter. Hope this helps in your search. ~ MaryJane

    Here are my two favorite super-moist chocolate cakes:
    KA Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake
    KA Favorite Fudge Cake
    Enjoy! PJH

  7. CindyD

    Campbell’s tomato soup has a super high sodium content. Does that carry over to the cake?
    Hi Cindy,
    My husband is very sensitive to salt in baked goods, no caramel and salt for him, and he tells me the cake is not overly salty. There is no additional salt in the recipe. You could try the “reduced sodium” version of the soup, and let me know how it comes out. ~ MaryJane

  8. Moira

    Hi Mary Jane,
    This cake is totally new for me and looks delicious.
    But i don’t have Campbell’s tomato soup here in Portugal i wonder if i can make the cake with canned tomato pulp, what do you think about?
    Hi Moira,
    Unfortunately, I think the tomato pulp will have too much moisture in it. The condensed soups have most of the moisture removed. I think tomato paste would be too intensely tomato, and too thick. Anyone out there have any suggestions? Send ’em along! ~ MaryJane

  9. Yvonne

    Hi there,
    My family always has had tomato soup cake around Christmas or Epiphany We have it with a nice cream cheese frosting and it is wonderful! We add nuts, dates or golden raisins–whatever is leftover in the pantry fron Christmas. I have the family’s original recipe–handwritten by my great aunt in her old fashioned spidery handwriting–scribbled on an old envelope back. And it’s probably from the 1930’s! Good to know how old the recipe actually is–and to give the recipe a more alluring name, “Mystery Cake”. The tomato soup adds moistness and the unusual texture–who would ever guess the mystery ingredient? Another family favorite is Jell-O poke cake!
    I haven’t made poke cake in years! I remember a red and green version for Christmas, and a purple version. I’ll have to give that one a try soon. ~ MaryJane

  10. Marsha

    I noticed that this recipe calls for a ‘scant teaspoon of ground cloves”. What is a scant measurement? I always fill the measuring spoon heaping full and then level it with a straight edge.
    Hi Marsha,
    To scant the measure, after you level it, flick out a small bit with your fingertip, or the tip of the knife, or level with your finger instead of a straight edge. The curve of your finger will create a depression in the measure, making it scant. Great question!
    ~ MaryJane

  11. V Reed

    It’s a very interesting recipe…but will it stand up without the cloves? I’m not fond of cloves.
    You could try cutting the clove in half, or leaving it out altogether. I’ve never tried it with no clove, so I don’t know if you would want to bump up the cinnamon a bit, or add ginger. Give it a try and let us know. ~MaryJane

  12. Aubrey

    I’ve had a recipe for a Mystery Cake that I’ve been wanting to try but to nervous about actually doing it. Well not anymore, I am going home today and whipping up your version and I’m not going to tell any one the “secret” ingredient!
    Thanks for the new adventure I’m about to undertake! Can’t wait to see what other Baking Adventures you’ll be taking us on.
    Way to Carpe Diem Aubrey! I hope you love the cake like so many of us do. Stay tuned in 2010, we’ve got lots of great stuff planned. ~ MaryJane

  13. Janice

    Ohmygoodness, I can’t WAIT to try this…may just have to make a special trip to the store because the only tomato soup I use these days is in the carton from Trader Joe’s!! Oh, and my favorite chocolate cake (in response to MaryO’s post) is the Pioneer Woman’s Best Chocolate Sheet Cake Ever which is really similar to Texas Sheet Cake found in some Pampered Chef cookbooks. Ahhhh, I love KAF…if you guys ever open a California location, can I please, please, PLEASE come work for ya’ll?! 😉
    You betcha Janice! I’ve heard good things about Pioneer Woman’s Cookbook. Love her blog too. Guess I have to buy a new cookbook, what a pity. ;). Thanks for sharing.
    ~ MaryJane

  14. charlotte

    It is in the oven , now, smells wonderful…..I used a glass pan, and it is overflowing …..
    Charlotte, is the pan 2″ deep? Did you lower the oven temp by 25°? ~ MaryJane

  15. Sandra Highfield

    Hi, I am looking for a recipe for a date-nut loaf that was given to me by a good friend a very long time ago. From what I remember, the ingredients called for chopped dates (ofcourse), walnuts, flour, eggs, and I am not mistaken warm water… (that part is a little fuzzy). Please help me here. The end result was just so delicious and moist.

    Sandra (Florida)
    Sandra, take a look at our Low Fat Date-Nut bread recipe-on our web site. Great recipe. Hope it is close to what you remember. Joan D@bakershotline

  16. Cynthia

    Do you happen to have a recipe for an easy vanilla glaze? I am just learning to bake 🙂

    Cynthia, try 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and enough milk or cream to make it the consistency you like. Add the liquid slowly and sparingly, stirring as you go; a few drops make a big difference, once you get to spreadable consistency. Good luck – PJH
    Yep, that’s pretty much the one I use for cake glazes, and for cinnamon buns. Thanks PJ. ~ MaryJane

  17. Pam Baker

    I just emailed you all at KAF a question about the soup which seems to have occured to some already. So, I did an internet search. Basically, you can make your own “condensed soup” by making a tomato soup but use half the liquid ingredients. Then you can control all the spices and such. I don’t have any of my own canned tomatoes at present. Maybe someone in the readership can make their own condensed tomato soup and try the recipe. Next year I should have an abundance of tomatoes and can prepare for this recipe.
    I just love KAF. Not only the products but the staff and blogs and well, just everything!

    Thanks for the info., Pam – and for connecting here. PJH
    Great info Pam. I never thought of homemade condensed soup, but it’s a terrific idea. ~ MaryJane

  18. megan

    my husband can’t stand tomato soup, but I’m making this and telling him it’s spice cake like you mentioned in a previous comment! It look so good. I’ll try the cream cheese frosting you mentioned too. I can’t wait – now i just need a good occasion to make this!
    How about “it’s nearly Friday” or “I had a good hair day” or “Hey, look! The mail’s here, let’s have cake!” Don’t wait for a special day, make your day special. ~ MaryJane

  19. Chun

    MJ….in reference to Moira in Potugal, using tomato pulp in place of condensed tomato soup……What if she were to strain out some of the pulp liquid, reserving it, then put the rest in a blender to puree it, adding more liquid, should she need it? Just a thought.
    Tomato Soup Cake is awesome….. You can also add just a little Ameretto to the glaze or cream cheese frosting to add another dimension of flavor!
    Thanks for the suggestions. Moira and I appreciate it. ~ MaryJane

  20. lakotalady

    My Grandmother made this cake for afternoon tea’s when the ranch women would get together and gossip about the latest news around the county. They had to travel some distances so she always had her noon meal for them like fried chicken and all the trimmings. Her hot buttered biscuits were to die for! And magic cake for later in the afternoon.
    She also occassionally would pull a feather from her cap(recipe…the phrase was her’s) and bake new things and try them out on the girls.
    Has anyone ever seen the recipe for Sour Cream Coconut Chocolate Cake?
    I’m looking through my hundred’s of her hand written recipes I was honored with when she passed. I’m the only one who would have appreciated them in the family
    Anyway; the coconut was actually sourkraut that had been drained well and mixed with the sour cream before adding to the rest of the wet ingredients. I swear, you could not tell! I loved this cake and didn’t know it wasn’t coconut till she thought I was ready for the truth! Has anyone heard of this cake or was it one of her homemade inventions?

    We have a sauerkraut cake recipe on our site-Chocolate Macaroon Cake. Hope you will give it a try. Joan D@bakershotline.

  21. Juanita

    Dear Mary Jane,

    For Moira in Portugal and anyone interested in substitutions and sodium free ingredients: I use 1 cup home-canned tomatoes or 1 cup store-brand crushed tomatoes without salt and this spice cake is delicious. Maybe Moira could add water to her tomato pulp until it looks and stirs like condensed tomato soup. You may not need to add any spices, I never have; though you could read the soup label ingredients and decide for yourself.

    Since the 1950s in Ohio, my mother and I have enjoyed making Tomato Soup Cake since I received a Cooking with Campbell’s recipe book in the mail. I still have the book and we also enjoy a cookie recipe called Rosy Rocks which also has tomato soup in the cookies along with oatmeal.

    The original cake recipe is approximately double the amount of flour with 2 eggs but only one 10 3/4 ounces can of soup and makes two 8 or 9 inch layers or a 13 x 9 x2 inch oblong cake. One cup chopped nuts or 1 cup raisins were optional. The recipe includes 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice but only 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.

    My husband and four children frequently asked for Spice Cake for their birthdays and were surprised when they first found out that soup or tomatoes were in one of their favorites.

    On New Year’s Day we enjoyed an Amish Christmas Cake that has similar spices and raisins which is easier than fruitcake to make. It is so good, all of our adult children really liked it and the recipe will be shared with family.

    I hope everyone enjoys the taste and ease of making your Mystery Cake.

    Juanita from Michigan
    Thanks for all the great information. I truly love our community of bakers who are always willing to help out and offer suggestions and encouragement. I used to ask for this cake for my birthday as well. It’s at the end of October, so the flavors were just right for the season. In my heirloom family cookbook, my mother’s handwritten note says “MaryJane’s favorite”. I’d love to see the Rosy Rocks cookie recipe if you are willing to share. It’s Happy Baking!

  22. claire


    First of all, Mary Jane, your blogs are one of the best on the entire Web anywhere!! You are one terrific writer…as well as baker!

    I remember this soup from when my kids were younger….we just called it Tomato Soup Cake.

    But, from now on it will be Mystery Cake and I’m gonna go get some tomato soup so I can have another happy memory.

    My goodness gal, you’ve got me blushin’. Thank you so much for the lovely compliment, I’m very flattered. I’ve got a can of soup in my desk drawer. Swing on by, and it’s yours! ~ MaryJane

  23. Marianna

    I have never baked or tasted this cake but I am a big fan of spice cakes so this is a must try! Do you think that dried cranberries instead of raisins would taste good in this cake? I love to add them to a pumpkin spice cake that I make.
    Yes try the cranberries-they will be good! Joan D @ bakershotline.

  24. april stoddard

    Wow…talk about a flashback from the 50’s / 60’s! Tomato Soup Cake was extremely popular when I was growing up in a small mill town in Northern New Hampshire. Everybody made it and always with cream cheese frosting.

    It’s been a long time but I guess it’s time to revisit that era as it truly is a simple but tasty cake.

    Thanks for…the memory!
    Glad to share April. Enjoy your cake. ~ MaryJane

  25. Marcia

    Next thing you know–you will be posting a Cinnamon Custard Pie (that’s what I tell people, really it is a pinto bean pie)

    We also had mayonnaise chocolate cake too. Do you have an updated version of that one too.
    Marcia, I don’t know of a Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake in our archives, but it would be a good one to add. Can you tell us more about the pinto bean pie? I’ve eaten Frito pie, but I’m thinking this is something totally different, dessert-y in nature? Educate me, please! ~ MaryJane

  26. Sandy

    Hi, Thank you! I had forgotten about tomato soup cake. That cake, along with the mayonaisse cake and Wacky cake ( made in the pan with oil, vinegar and water) we family favorites. I still make the wacky cake and now I will make the “Mystery Cake” as well.
    We call Wacky Cake “King Arthur Flour Cake Pan Cake” and have several versions. It’s a great cake for kids to learn with, my 15 year old daughter still brings it to sleepovers and visits. ~ MaryJane

  27. Arlene

    I love all the attitude in your writing on this blog roll. As a writer and baker it’s such a joy to experience both and to find myself smiling while imagining making this. Thanks a million.
    Thanks very much. Trust in your Baking Resolution this year, and revel in the adventure! ~ MaryJane

  28. Sandy

    Yummmmm….I will most assuredly be making this cake! And the comments about the Jello Poke Cake sure brought back memories. My daughter was born on Christmas Day and when she was young the Jello Cake a fav for her b-day cake on 12/25. I always used red and green jellos and it was so colorful.

  29. Jenny

    After seeing this recipe I had to give it a try! It was just too interesting to pass up. I made a bunch of substitutions so that it would work with the low GI diet I’m on and it turned out great. I thought I’d share what I did.

    I used 1/2 c sugar and 1/2 c splenda, instead of all purpose flour I used half whole wheat pastry flour and half hi maize resistant starch, and I added a half cup of chopped walnuts. And I used the Heart healthy version of Campbell’s tomato soup.

    It turned out amazing! So moist and delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

    Jenny, thanks so much for sharing your substitutions – reminds me of the “it takes a village” concept. Recipes are constantly evolving and being tweaked to taste – your input is a valuable part of that process! PJH

  30. elianna m

    Before cake is eaten… “Hey everyone, try THIS awesome tried-and-true cake!”
    While it’s being eaten (coming from the family)… “Mmmmm!”
    After cake is consumed… “What? Soup can? Oh, yeah… let me explain”
    Somehow, “ewwww” gives way to “yummm” on this one! 🙂
    Great way to describe it Elianna! Been there, done that! ~ MaryJane

  31. Sharryn

    A friend and I were just reminiscing about this cake yesterday! Now I won’t have to search for it. Thank you, and I’m looking for fresh ‘kraut to make the other one, too. Love the blog, and the recipes

  32. Lish


    Just recently I bought some awesome chardonnay and dill goat cheese, valencia orange flavored olive oil in a non aerosol spray bottle (terrific on roasted carrots) and a jar of cranberries marinated in berry flavored vodka. They are great on pancakes. I also have been making some great whole grain recipes. I made whole grain spelt pasta with low fat ricotta sauce yesterday. It was flavored with this cool white truffle flavored honey that my husband got in his stocking. I made ginger muffins from the whole grain baking cookbook. We loved them but half the batch was left so yesterday I mixed up a jar of home canned peaches with frozen blueberries a bit of sugar and some instant clearjel and topped it with the crushed muffins and a bit more candied ginger bits, so today we are having “breakfast fruit crisp” with yogurt instead of whipped cream! Can’t wait to try it, it smelled great baking last night.

    I was wondering if maybe the instant clearjel would work to thicken tomato puree into a texture similar to tomato soup?
    Dude, I said “make me jealous” not “make me literally turn green AND drool over the goodies! ” 🙂 That all sounds so delicious. I have some great marinated cherries I’ve been meaning to try on pancakes, thanks for the reminder.
    For using the instant clear jel in the puree, you would need to be careful, as it usually clumps up when added directly to ingredients. Mixing the clearjel with the sugar in the recipe and then adding the puree MAY work, but I’ve never tried it. Someone else suggested pressing the puree to remove some of the liquid, so that may be an avenue as well.
    I’ll try to return to my normal color now (winter white in Vermont). Thanks for checkin’ in. ~ MaryJane

    Happy baking!

  33. Candy

    I want to thank you for posting this!! I grew up eating this cake. My grandmother, who passed away, used to make this every thanksgiving! it was SO very special. With her death, the recipes has been lost. I will give this a try, and hope it taste’s just like her’s!
    Thanks again

  34. SoupAddict Karen

    Soup cake? Hmmm, MaryJane, one must ponder, would such a thing appeal to someone like me? Would it, indeed? 😉
    Hey there Karen! My hubby told me he saw a comment “from a lady, something like SoupLover?” I knew it was you! Have you ever tried Tomato Soup Cake? You know you have to, just to keep your street cred high. Let me know how you like it! ~ MaryJane

  35. Ricardo Neves Gonzalez - Petrópolis, R.J., Brazil

    Here in Brazil, Tomato soup is not common as it´s in USA. But certainly it´s a new destination for my freshly organic tomatoes i buy here in local organic market.
    I hate all foods that are conserved on cans. I prefer all freshly. Then i´ll bake this cake during next weekend and surely will do it with my own version of freshly Tomatoes Soup!!
    It´s completely NEW to me…a cake made with Tomato Soup….!!

  36. Marsha

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. My grandmother and mother made a fruit cocktail cake that had very few ingredients with brown sugar & walnut topping. Served with cool whip or whipped cream. This recipe reminds me of that old-fashioned recipe.

    I am going to photo copy all my recipes from my Mom, Grandma and Mother-in-Law in their handwriting (on envelopes etc.) and make up binders for my 3 kids who are all awesome cookers. (When my middle child was little he used say, “You’re a good cooker, Mom”.) I love to look at recipes written in their hand. What a neat idea. I’m sure your kids will treasure them.What a great gift. Mary@KAF

  37. Kimberly D

    I made this cake in high school home ec class more than *cough* 25 yrs ago! I don’t have the recipe anymore, thanks for this recipe!

  38. Marie

    To borrow a phrase from Garth in Wayne’s World:

    “No spank you!”

    Happy that so many people can enjoy this, but I could never stop thinking about…gulp, tomatoes. Love them on the pizza pie, not in my cake. Enjoy thrillseekers!

  39. Suzanne Garrety

    Just looked up the KA page – so interesting!!!! Will definitely try the old favorite – Tomato Soup Cake. I once had KA recipe book or newsletter or something and want to get back on your sites. I don’t bake much but still use KA general purpose flour. I live in Amish territory amd would like to know more about the Clear Jel they use in many of their recipes.
    Thank you,
    S Garrety

  40. Moira

    MaryJane, Chun and Juanita,
    Thank you for your answers and your suggestions.
    I will try the recipe very soon.
    Regards from Portugal
    Be sure to let us know how it goes, we’re all rootin’ for you! ~ MaryJane

  41. Nancie

    I made this last night using the Healthy Request Campbells soup, with NO MSG, reduced fat and sodium. It came out wonderful. The only problem we had…. No able to wait for it to cool, we sliced it warm with just a pat of butter on top… it was fabulous. T
    his is the perfect dessert to follow your favorite comfort meal, especially on a cold, blustery night! I will make this again, can’t wait to make it for my dad, he will flip!

  42. Mari Donaghy

    Tomato soup cake is my husband’s favorite. My mother in law, Louise Donaghy, gave me the recipe in 1968. He has it every birthday. It is also one of our son, Aaron’s, favorites. We just tell people it is a spice cake as they are turned off when we tell them it is “tomato soup” then we sit back and watch them woof it down before we tell them the secret ingredient. We do add chopped up maraschino cherries for a little extra color and sweetness because we like them. Delicious.

  43. Delia Walberger

    In my mother’s recipe files is this very same tomato soup cake listed as Mystery Cake. It was often a crowd pleaser at Sunday dinners and other social gatherings. Thanks for sharing! We always topped it off with a cream cheese frosting!

  44. Clare

    Sob! We eat gluten-free and I can’t find a tomato soup that’s GF that isn’t “cream of tomato.” Do you think that would work?

    P.S. Eagerly awaiting your GF flour blend.
    Yes that will work or you can make your own tomato soup. Joan D @ bakershotline

  45. Angela

    I not only made one cake yesterday but I made two! I had a full day in my kitchen yesterday (bliss) and squeezed this in. I added a few milk chocolate chips with the raisins and topped it off with cream cheese frosting.

    The one I send home with my Mom is about gone!

    thanks so much!

  46. Deanna

    The mystery is, how am I going to stop eating this cake. It was fun and easy to make. I like making things that are just a little bit different.

  47. Susan H.

    Mystery Cake is a wonderful snack cake! I made it yesterday with Campbells 25% reduced sodium tomato soup, and it was great. The next time I make it I’ll add some cardamom and allspice. I told my husband that he could take it to work so that I could save my calories and bake something else today, and his reply was, “Can’t we keep it for ourselves? I don’t want to share it!”

  48. Pam C

    Your timing is perfect. My sister and I were just bemoaning the fact that neither of us have the Tomato Soup recipe my mother used to make when we were kids. She used to make if for all the school events – PTA meetings, Valentine Parties and almost never made it for home comsumption. But my mother was not the baker in the family – she passed that job to us when we were pre-teens. A blessing in disguise! We’ll try this recipe with the cream cheese frosting.

    Glad we were able to be a part of your recipe investigation and research! We hope this recipe meets your expections for taste and appearance, just like the one in your memory from Mom! Irene @ KAF

  49. Ray M

    I have been making this cake for years. My grandmother made this cake when I was a kid. Its pasted in her cook book which was given to her when she was little and my mother gave to me.

  50. megan

    I just made this cake yesterday (took your advice and didn’t wait for a special occasion after all) and it’s great! My husband still have no idea it has tomato soup in it, and he loved it. I used a spice frosting (from and old betty crocker cookbook) and it’s perfect. It’s so simple and easy, I’ll definitely be making it again.
    Good for you Megan. I hereby dub your special occasion “Megan’s Spicy Baking Day!”. It’s a bi-monthly holiday, so better make your plans for March, as it must include one new and one old recipe, and next time it will require the wearing of purple socks. Shop early! ~ MaryJane

  51. Jeanne C.

    I made this cake last night for my card club today. At 63, I am one of the younger players, and found it amusing that when I served it virtually all the older women oohed and aahed about how they remember this cake from their childhoods and how much they always loved it. It was a big hit and was VERY easy to make. I used some chopped dried apricot in addition to the raisins, and drizzled it with a browned-butter glaze. Very moist and delicious! I think if I grated some carrot into it, I could sneak some veggies into the grandkids’ after-school snack and they’d be none the wiser.

  52. Donna

    What changes might be needed to make this in a bundt cake pan? This sounds like it would be good at our monthly soup luncheon at work, but we’ve found that the ring shape keeps people from cutting too big a slice the first time. OK – as if one could take too much dessert! 🙂
    HI Donna,
    I haven’t tried to make this in a bundt pan, but it should work fine. You may want to reduce the oven temperature to bake the cake more slowly, to ensure that the center bakes through but other than that, it should work out. Be sure to let us know, I’d love to add it as a tip to the recipe. ~ MaryJane

  53. Sheila

    This was one of the very first cakes my Mom taught me to make. One of my other favorites which she taught me and is delicious is a saurkraut cake. Very moist and most people like the Tomato soup cake never know what it is. People who dont like kraut like it as well.

    Sheila, take a look at our Chocolate Macaroon Cake – bet you’ll find it familiar… 🙂 PJH

  54. Karen Ferro

    What a surprise…this tomato soup cake has been a staple in my family for generations since my grandmother from Germany made this every Christmas…this cake brings back many happy memorys.

  55. Ana

    Hi, I live in Poland and I’ve never heard about this cake. It cannot be ‘Polish soup cake’.
    Cake looks delicious! Maybe I will try it:-)

  56. Moira

    Hi Mary,
    Despite your advice about tomato pulp moisture, i used it any way to make the cake and guess what? It is simply fantastic. Maybe is not the same, but we loved it at home and you can see photos it at my blog:
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe.
    Regards from Portugal
    Glad to hear it worked out. Thanks for letting us know! ~ MaryJane

  57. Addie

    My mom had a tomato soup cake recipe that she made in a loaf pan – it was one of my favorite recipes, but it tended to “fall” everytime we baked it – i think because it was hard to get all the heavy ingredients to bake evenly. Why we never tried baking it in a different pan, I don’t know – I know what i’m going to do now!!

    For those who are skeptical about the sound of this recipe, it’s really just a very tasty spice cake. It was a family favorite of our household from many years ago.
    Thanks for sharing Addie. Yes, you’re probably right about the cake in the loaf pan. Give it a try in a 9×9 and I bet you’d see a big difference. ~ MaryJane

  58. Ted

    I’m guessing the reason the baking soda goes into the tomato soup is to lower the acidity? But wouldn’t that happen is you mixed the soda in with the other dry ingredients? It would seem to be a bit simpler to do that.

    Baking soda helps to eliminate the tomatoes’ acidity, allowing their rich flavor to shine through. It’s best to follow the recipe as written and accomplish this before mixing with the other ingredients. Happy Baking – (or volcano making?)! Irene@KAF

  59. lmmk

    My mother made this all the time and I loved to watch the looks on my friends’ faces when I told them it was Tomato Soup Cake.

    She also made Mayonnaise Cake and Saurkraut Cake, both recipes made amazing chocolate cakes. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to find her recipes, but I keep looking

  60. Janie

    Tomato Soup Cake has been in our family for generations! Handed down from my grandmother, her recipe contains dates and pecans and is topped with her recipe for Cream Cheese icing! She made one for our birthdays every year and its was what we looked forward to most! My sister is baking one right now for our mom’s 88th birthday tomorrow!

  61. Mary Fowler

    My mother always made Tomato Soup Cake for my birthday; she even sent one to me each year I was in college. My roommates and friends turned green when I told them it was made with tomato soup; however, they all came back for seconds once they had tried it. She always put dates and nuts in it and frosted it with cream cheese frosting. You have inspired me to make one for my 84th birthday this year….October 29th…and perfect for Hallowe’en!.

    1. PJ Hamel

      Mary, Happy 84th – and enjoy your tomato soup cake! You and my husband share the same birthday (though you’ve got 16 years on him), so I’ll raise a slice of his pineapple upside down cake to you Oct. 29. 🙂 PJH

  62. C.A.Zeidler

    Can you use Campbells Tomato Bisque soup? Was on sale and hubby bought a years worth! LOL I have eaten about all the chili I can stand using this bisque, cake would be a welcome relief if possible to use.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      It’s worth a try! If it has a lot of added herbs or flavors like onion or garlic it may not be terribly enjoyable though. Maybe try a half batch first to be safe. Annabelle@KAF

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