Make this magic Tomato Soup Cake! It's based on a classic retro 1950s recipe, with a whole can of soup in it. You can't taste the soup in the moist and fluffy spice layer cake.
I know, you're thinking TOMATO SOUP CAKE???? I was too. And then I tried it...
The results are a super moist, bright orange cake that tastes just like a boxed spice cake. But it's all from scratch.
I've tweaked the original 1950s recipe that was printed on cans a little to make it into a layer cake, rather than a loaf.
If you're going to make a cake with soup, you might as well turn it into a layer cake, right?
You’ll start by making a basic cake recipe with simple ingredients, plus, yup, condensed tomato soup. It's a super easy recipe.
Add homemade cream cheese frosting for a unique cake that’s uncommonly delicious!
If you would have told me that I would have been adding a can of savory condensed tomato soup to a cake recipe, I wouldn’t have believed it!
But after making this cake, I’m glad I did because this cake tastes better than I could have imagined and brings a retro feel to dessert.
Campbell’s soup published this recipe on their cans of condensed tomato soup in the 1940s though it was said to have been around since the 1920s. An eggless version became popular during wartime rationing in WWII.
Believe it or not, the soup doesn’t offer a strong flavor to the mystery cake! Nobody would know it's in there.
However, it does add a beautiful orange-red color and moist texture that pairs well with the warm spices and tangy homemade cream cheese frosting.
It tastes just like a boxed spice cake, and nobody will guess that there's a whole can of condensed tomato soup in there.
Go on, make this magic tomato soup cake. I dare you!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
By serving tomato soup cake, you’ll take everyone back to the 1950s for some retro nostalgia.
You won’t’ be able to taste tomato soup in this cake which means there won’t be a battle for sweet and savory. It just tastes like spice cake.
It's a really moist and tender cake.
The homemade cream cheese frosting gives a great sweet and tangy texture and flavor that pairs well with the flavors of the spice cake.
You can ask your guests to guess the mystery ingredient. I bet they can't!
The bright orange color is visually stunning and comes from the natural colors in the soup.
This cake was also a wartime recipe during rationing, so you could make it for a WWII school project. During that time, they wouldn't have made it with eggs and would have had much less sugar.
The texture is light and fluffy but still moist making it the perfect type of cake to serve at a party or for a weeknight dessert.
Add in your favorite chopped nuts or dried fruits to add flavor and texture.
The original cake recipe appeared printed on soup cans and magazines from the 1920s - 1970s. So it's perfect for a retro party.
Ingredients & Tools
- Condensed Tomato Soup - The star of this cake, this ingredient makes the cake moist and colors it beautifully. You use the contents of the can as they are (don't dilute with water).
- Baking Soda & Baking Powder - Help the cake rise and become light and fluffy. When you add the baking soda to the soup, it will froth and fizz a bit!
- White Sugar - Gives the cake its sweet taste.
- Unsalted Butter - Adds a rich texture and buttery taste. The soup has salt in it, so be sure to use unsalted butter.
- Eggs - Help bind the ingredients together and set the cake properly.
- Vanilla Extract - Infuses a light sweet vanilla flavor throughout.
- All-Purpose Flour - This is the main dry ingredient that forms the cake batter.
- Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Allspice - The combination of these 3 warming spices give the cake a great comforting flavor.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Cream Cheese & Butter - You’ll need both of these ingredients at room temperature to form a creamy, tangy smooth frosting.
- Powdered Sugar - Blends well with the cream cheese and butter, adds structure to the frosting and sweetens it.
- Vanilla Extract - Pairs well with tangy cream cheese and butter.
- Mixing bowl
- Electric mixer - to beat the butter, sugar and eggs
- 2 x 8" (20cm) round cake pans
- Sieve or sifter
Step By Step Tutorial
Follow this step-by-step photo tutorial, then scroll down to the recipe card for the full ingredients list and method.
Prepare the cake for baking by preheating the oven to 350F/175C. Lightly grease 2 x 8-inch/20cm round cake pans.
Add the condensed tomato soup to a bowl (don't dilute the soup with water) and stir in the baking soda (it will fizz a little). Set aside while prepping the rest of the ingredients.
Beat the sugar and butter together, then beat in the eggs, one at a time until well incorporated, then add the vanilla extract.
Mix in the tomato soup. (Note: it might ‘split’ slightly but don’t worry, it will come together with the flour).
Sift in the flour, baking powder, and spices, then gently mix to combine with a wooden spoon and not the mixer. Don’t overmix, but ensure no streaks of flour remain.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pans and bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely then spread with frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Beat the cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer until smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.
All refrigerated ingredients need to be at room temperature before baking to ensure even cooking inside the cake.
For this recipe, use unsalted butter as the tomato soup already contains salt.
The cake needs to be completely cooled before frosting to prevent the frosting from melting or running.
You’ll need to make sure you purchase condensed tomato soup only and DO NOT add water. Use the full can undiluted in the cake.
To make sure the cake stays light and fluffy, do not overmix the ingredients. Once you mix the dry ingredients in, use a wooden spoon and fold until there are no flour streaks present without overmixing.
Serve for dessert at a holiday dinner along with this stunning Stuffed Butternut Squash.
Have a slice of tomato soup cake with some friends and a glass of Cucumber Collins.
Top with this Tangy Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting as a dairy-free frosting alternative.
Pairs well with a thick glass of Almond Milk Egg Nog.
Add your favorite dried fruit to the batter such as raisins, cranberries or golden raisins.
Give tomato soup cake a nutty crunch with chopped walnuts, pecans, or cashews in the batter or on top as a crunchy topping.
To add a fresh spicy flavor, grate in 1-2 tablespoon of fresh ginger and fold it into the cake batter.
Add in some freshly shredded carrots for a tomato soup carrot cake for Easter.
Try it with caramel frosting.
What to make your tomato soup cake into cupcakes, bundt, sheet cake, loaf or other pan sizes? Check out these pan size conversions.
To Make Gluten Free: To make this recipe gluten free, use a gluten free flour blend that contains xanthan gum to replace the all-purpose flour.
To Make It Vegan: This recipe can be made vegan by substituting the eggs for an egg replacer (try flax eggs) and replacing the cream cheese and butter for vegan versions. This recipe has not been tested with vegan ingredients.
NOTE: I am not a certified nutritionist and make no claims to the contrary. If you have a food allergy or intolerance you should determine whether the ingredients in each recipe are suitable for you.
Storing: This cake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge or countertop for 3-4 days. Make sure the container is airtight to keep the cake from drying out.
Freezing: Freeze this tomato soup cake by wrapping individual slices in plastic wrap and adding to a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months. Let thaw on the countertop before serving.
Can I turn this cake mix into tomato soup cupcakes or muffins?
Yes! Pour the batter into greased muffin tins and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cooked through for best results.
Would this work in a bundt pan?
You can pour the batter into a greased bundt pan and bake at 350F for about 50-60 minutes or until baked through completely.
Where can I find condensed tomato soup?
You can find canned condensed tomato soup in the soup can section of your grocery store. Make sure it is plain, from concentrate, and does not contain any extra seasonings or spices as they may alter the flavor of the cake.
Make it a whole tomato feast by cooking up these other tomato recipes!
More Vegetable Cake Recipes
Okay, I know that botanically speaking tomatoes are a fruit. But in culinary terms tomatoes are a vegetable. And actually, tomatoes are legally a vegetable for customs purposes since a US Supreme Court Ruling in the 1800s. Fun fact for you there, people!
So, here are some more tasty and creative vegetable cake recipes for you.
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Tomato Soup Cake
- 1 10oz/295g can condensed tomato soup
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (200g) white sugar
- ½ cup (115g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour (plain flour)
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 12 oz (340g) cream cheese at room temperature
- ½ cup (115g) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 ½ cups (440g) powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Lightly grease 2 x 8-inch/20cm round cake pans.
- Add the condensed tomato soup (don’t add water) to a bowl and stir in the baking soda (it will puff up a bit as it reacts with the acidity). Set aside while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
- Add the sugar and butter to a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer then beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.
- Mix in the tomato soup. (Note: it might ‘split’ slightly but don’t worry, it will come together with the flour).
- Sift in the flour, baking powder and spices, then gently mix to combine (with a wooden spoon, don’t use the electric mixer). Don’t overmix, but ensure no streaks of flour remain.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pans and bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting.
- Beat the cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.
- Frost the completely cooled tomato soup cake.
- All refrigerated ingredients need to be at room temperature before baking to ensure even cooking inside the cake.
- For this recipe, use unsalted butter as the tomato soup already contains salt.
- The cake needs to be completely cooled before frosting to prevent the frosting from melting or running.
- You’ll need to make sure you purchase condensed soup only and DO NOT add water. Use the full can undiluted in the cake.
- To make sure the cake stays light and fluffy, do not overmix the ingredients. Once you mix the dry ingredients in, use a wooden spoon and fold until there are no flour streaks present without overmixing.
- Serve for dessert at a holiday dinner along with this stunning Stuffed Butternut Squash.
- Have a slice of tomato soup cake with some friends and a glass of Cucumber Collins.
- Top with this Tangy Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting as a dairy-free frosting alternative.
- Pairs well with a thick glass of Almond Milk Egg Nog.
- Add your favorite dried fruit to the batter such as; raisins, cranberries, or golden raisins.
- Give tomato soup cake a nutty crunch with chopped walnuts, pecans, or cashews in the batter or on top as a crunchy topping.
- To add a fresh spicy flavor, grate in 1-2 tablespoon of fresh ginger and fold it into the cake batter.
- Add in some freshly shredded carrots for a tomato soup carrot cake for Easter.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.
I made this recipe into cupcakes and added chopped walnuts and cranberries.
Oh my out of this world no frosting needed and taste like spice cake i also added
So good. I made it in a 9x13" cake pan so it was easier to serve for our church gathering.
My mother and her mom made this cake, I’m 70 now and still love the cake with raisins. No frosting, just as is with a cup of tea. Didn’t use allspice but 1/2 tsp Cinnamon, 1/2 tsp Cloves and 1 tsp Nutmeg. My sister in law also makes it from same recipe her Aunt had when her mom made it, aunt was in late 90s when she passed about 10 years ago so recipe is very old.
Childhood favorite, Does it have to be refrigerated to set the frosting?
Hi, no it's fine in a cake container on the counter, unless it's very hot out. just like any cake.
After a family gathering I learned Tomato Soup Cake was my dads favorite cake as a little boy but the family lost the recipe after their mom died. I did a quick google search and found this recipe - sounds the same! I’m going to surprise him this weekend with his childhood favorite - I can’t wait! Thank you!
I can't wait to try this recipe, looks so tempting! Is condensed tomato soup same as tomato paste/ concentrated tomato?
HI Penda, no they're not the same. Condensed tomato soup is the can of soup that you add a can of water to and eat (say, for lunch), while tomato paste is a tube or can of concentrated tomato that's used in recipes. Be sure to use the soup one - the can is in some of my photos.
Marjorie A DeRusha-Morris
I grew up eating this cake.
I had to try this retro cake because I have never heard of anything like it. You truly can't taste the tomato soup. It's a nice, moist spice cake.
What a delicious twist! Love tomatoes, soup and this cake.
My mother made this cake when I was a child, and I have made it for many years. Easy delicious and no one knows until you tell them.
Oh my gosh what a throwback! I love this cake and my mom remembers her mom making a cake like it. Great recipe, thank you!
Oh my gosh, I remember this cake! My grandmother used to make it! I can't wait to try it again!
Thanks a lot for this tomato coup recipe! It looks so yummy! I am so curious about its taste! Thanks for sharing!