This old school Tomato Soup Cake recipe is a timeless dessert dating back to the 1930’s using a can of condensed tomato soup. Our version is moist and tender, with a warming spice flavor, finished with a layer of creamy brown sugar frosting. It’s so delicious!
You can also enjoy this cake with a drizzle of caramel sauce in place of the frosting, if preferred.
Easy Tomato Soup Cake
Along with Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake and Potato Candy, this Tomato Soup Cake is another gem from the Great Depression, incorporating unusual ingredients into baked goods when butter and eggs were scarce and wages were meager. This classic retro spice cake originated when Campbell’s Soup Company used their condensed tomato soup in the batter – the recipe was then printed on soup cans and in magazines up to the 1970’s. Since then, Campbell’s Tomato Soup Cake has been adapted many times, with some versions including dried fruit, nuts, and frosting.
Today we’re sharing our favorite tomato soup cake recipe which has milk instead of water, crunchy walnuts, sweet raisins, and an incredible creamy brown sugar frosting. It’s moist and airy, with a warming spice flavor. So delicious!
What Does Tomato Soup Cake Taste Like?
If you revealed the secret ingredient in this tomato soup cake to people before they took a bite, they’d probably scrunch up their noses. Wait until after they take a bite, and nobody will care about the canned soup! They’ll just beg for the recipe. The condensed tomato soup helps create a moist and fluffy crumb, that’s a little tangy with warming spices. It’s like a boxed spice cake, but completely from scratch. Think of it like carrots in carrot cake and zucchini in zucchini bread.
Tomato Soup Cake Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this tomato soup spice cake recipe:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Condensed tomato soup – Our star ingredient. Use the entire can, but do not dilute with water.
- All-purpose flour – Make sure it’s spooned and leveled, not scooped. Too much flour will make the cake dry.
- Baking powder and Baking soda – These are leavening agents that help the cake rise and become light and fluffy.
- Granulated sugar – For sweetness and to properly cream the butter.
- Unsalted butter – Adds richness. We use unsalted butter, so the cake doesn’t end up too salty.
- Eggs – Helps bind the batter together and provide structure so the cake can bake and set properly.
- Milk – Whole, full fat milk will provide the most moisture and best results.
- Salt – A little salt to heighten the other flavors.
- Spices – We use our homemade pumpkin pie spice, which includes a mixture of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.
- Raisins and Walnuts – Plump sweet raisins and crunchy walnuts add flavor and texture to every bite.
- Frosting – A combination of unsalted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, powdered sugar, and heavy whipping cream make up our luscious frosting.
- Use a different nut. We like walnuts in this cake, but pecans are wonderful, too. Or simply omit them.
- Replace the raisins. Try golden raisins or dried cranberries for a different flavor. Or just leave them out.
- Leave off the frosting. You can enjoy this cake with a dusting of powdered sugar instead of the frosting or with a drizzle of our caramel sauce, if preferred.
- Add butterscotch chips. These would add another layer of sweetness.
- Change the spices. The 5 spices in our pumpkin pie spice blend gives this cake a true warm, comforting flavor, but it can be replaced with 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, and a pinch of nutmeg.
- Add in some shredded carrot. Freshly shredded carrots stirred into the batter would be a delicious tomato soup carrot cake for Easter!
- Turn the batter into cupcakes. Pour the batter into lined muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
- Make it in a bundt pan. Pour the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees F for about 50-60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
Tips for Success
- Use undiluted condensed tomato soup. You’ll use the full can of tomato soup, but do not dilute with water.
- Spoon and level the flour. By scooping, you could end up using too much, resulting in a heavy, dry cake. Make sure to spoon and sweep the flour.
- Refrigerated ingredients should be room temperature. The butter, eggs, and milk should all be at room temperature before starting. This allows everything to incorporate better, ensures even cooking, and results in a fluffier baked good.
- Use unsalted butter. We’re adding in a bit of salt and the tomato soup already contains salt, so use unsalted butter or the cake will be overly salty.
- Don’t over-mix. Over-mixing can make the cake dense and tough.
- Cool completely before frosting. Make sure the cake has completely cooled before spreading the frosting on top, otherwise the frosting will just melt or be runny.
How to Store
- To store: Frosted cake can sit out at room temperature, tightly covered in an airtight container, for 3 days (unless your kitchen is too warm, then you should refrigerate or freeze it.) You can also store it in the fridge for a few extra days, making sure the container is 100% sealed so the cake doesn’t dry out.
- To freeze: Let cool completely, then wrap (unfrosted) in plastic wrap and then again in foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and then frost.
More Classic Cake Recipes:
Tomato Soup Cake
For the Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour , spooned and leveled
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (see note)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs , room temperature
- 1/4 cup whole milk , room temperature
- 10.75 ounce can condensed tomato soup (undiluted – do not add water)
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
For the Brown Sugar Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 to 5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream , room temperature
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
- In medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
- In large bowl with a handheld electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the eggs, milk, and condensed tomato soup; beat until well blended.
- Add in the flour mixture and beat again just until no flour streaks remain. Don't over-mix.
- Fold in the raisins and walnuts.
- Pour and spread evenly into prepared baking dish.
- Bake the cake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
- Make the frosting:With a handheld mixer, beat butter on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until creamy and lightened in color, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt until combined and smooth.
- Add in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until sugar is incorporated, scraping down the bowl several times to ensure everything is well blended.
- Slowly beat in 3 tablespoons heavy cream, increasing speed to high and beating for 1 more minute until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add in more heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, only if necessary. Frosting should be light and fluffy, and easily spreadable, but hold its shape.
- Spread frosting over entire cake, cut into squares, and serve.