Nana’s Kitchen: Tomato Soup Cupcakes

Nana’s Kitchen: Tomato Soup Cupcakes

Greetings, home cooks, welcome to Nana’s Kitchen,

While looking through recipes I came across a recipe for tomato soup cake. What? Cream of chicken and mushroom soup are used frequently in my kitchen, and tomato soup with crackers is an easy meal. But tomato soup in a cake? I have never encountered this recipe. This required some investigation. 

Well, the recipe for tomato soup cake came from the Campbell’s Soup Company. It was created in the 1920s to 1930s. In October 1940 Campbell’s came out with a recipe called Steamed Fruit and Nut Pudding, a classic steamed pudding with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and Campbell’s Tomato Soup. In 1942 the cake was modified to Halloween Spice Cake. In 1949 a recipe for the cake appeared in the New York Times. From 1950-1960 tweaks in the recipe were tried in the Campbell’s Test Kitchens. Different types of flour, baking temperatures, more eggs, less eggs, more or less water, all to find the perfect texture. In 1966 experiment # 38 met with success. It was adapted to use the ready made cake mixes that were becoming popular at the time. 

Spice cake recipes before WWII would have been made from scratch. Baked in layers with chopped dates, nuts, and raisins. There was a Holiday Tomato Soup Cake from scratch with cloves, nutmeg, chopped candied fruit, raisins, or mincemeat, and chopped walnuts. Campbell’s continued to evolve the recipe. A bundt cake version made with a gingerbread mix and holiday fruit cakes appeared. Today many different recipes are available from the Campbell’s Kitchens including Glazed Carrot Raisin Cupcakes to a “secret ingredient” Sweet Potato Pie.

After searching I came upon many different recipes for the cake, from scratch , cake mix versions, with and with out nuts and fruit, cupcakes, loaf pans, 13×9 pans, and layered methods. All have one common ingredient – Campbell’s Tomato Soup. For years the recipe appeared on the label of the Campbell’s Tomato Soup can, starting in 1960. It is no longer on the can but the Campbell’s Soup Company still has people  requesting the recipe.

This is a from scratch recipe for Tomato Soup Spice  Cupcakes 

2 cups all purpose flour                                      
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.                            
1 1/2 teaspoon ground all spice 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 can Campbell’s Tomato Soup (undiluted)
1 package cream cheese (8oz) softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 16 ounce confectioners sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk flour,baking powder,all spice cinnamon, and cloves in large bowl.
Beat butter and granulated sugar in mixing bowl until mixture is creamy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating till just mixed after each addition.
Add 1/4 cup milk and the soup, beating till well blended.
Add flour mixture and beat on low just until well blended.
Line 24 muffin pan cups with paper liners, dividing batter among the cups.
Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool. Ice when cupcakes ready. 
Beat cream cheese and vanilla in a medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until mixture is creamy. Gradually beat in confectioners sugar until frosting is desired consistency.
A little milk can be added as needed.
Frost cupcakes, a little grated orange zest can be added for color and flavor.

Be sure to cream the sugar and butter well.
This recipe is moist, flavorful, but a little heavy.
The batter was thick and produced 20 cup cakes, not 24.
Some recipes used Spry or Crisco instead of butter.
Added milk to frosting and it became too loose. Hard to reclaim. It still tasted good. 
The kitchen smelled spicy while baking.

Now for the easier recipe with using a boxed cake mix:

1 box spice cake mix
1 can Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup 
1/2 cup water
2 eggs
16 ounce store bought cream cheese frosting or home made
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease and flour 2 (8-9 inch) round cake pans.
Combine cake mix, soup, water, eggs in a large bowl and mix according to package directions
Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool cake for 10 minutes.
Remove from pans and cool completely. Fill and frost with cream cheese frosting.
Enjoy !!!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Powells’ Food Fair in Pomeroy , Ohio for their support of Nana’s Kitchen. 

Just an added recipe made in a loaf pan:

1951 Tomato Soup Cake

2 cups sifted cake flour.            1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup sugar                                  1/4th teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cloves.          1 10 ounce Campbell’s Tomato Soup (condensed)
1 teaspoon cinnamon.                  1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream butter and sugar, sift flour, add spices. Blend well. Alternately add dry ingredients and soup, beat until combined, bake at 350 degrees till done.