Canned soup gets a bad rap. Some if it fair–sodium, lack of freshness–but some of it is unfair as well. It is cheap, filling, it frequently covers more than one food group, and it can be a handy ingredient in a certain type of cooking. I would never advocate making everything with canned soup, but as a convenience ingredient in occasional dishes, usually casseroles, it cannot be beat. Its use as a convenience ingredient also originated in a time when “better” ingredients (real cream, sour cream, butter) might have been too rare or expensive, for example during World War II. So while I certainly do not search out recipes with canned soup, I do not refuse them on that basis alone.
An example of canned soup being used creatively and unexpectedly is in this cake. I saw someone make a canned tomato soup cake on tv a while back (I no longer remember where), but it took me so long to find condensed canned tomato soup that by the time I did I had lost the recipe. Happily canned soup lasts forever–one of its many conveniences–so when I got Warren Brown’s United Cakes of America and saw that there was a recipe for canned tomato soup cake, I immediately hauled out my cans of soup.
I am so glad I did. As I stated before, cooking and baking from scratch will always be my preference, but this was extremely tasty. I made it for guests on a casual playdate Saturday night, and everyone loved it. To the extent that the other mom wrote the recipe down, deciding not to wait for this post! It was moist, similar to a pumpkin cake, but lighter and the clove flavor was stronger. The sour cream glaze complemented it perfectly, but by the next day it separated when it dried so I am not yet prepared to share a glaze recipe other than to advise to try any glaze you would like on a pumpkin cake.
- 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups (10 oz) sugar
- 8 oz (1 1/2 cups + 2 T) AP flour
- 1 t baking soda
- 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 t Vietnamese cinnamon
- 1/2 t ground cloves
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed tomato soup, such as Campbell's
This recipe calls for some odd sizes and temperatures, but it all worked. I used a 10 cup Bundt pan that would still look ok even if not filled to the top and that worked out fine. I guess you could also try a 9X5 loaf pan--and put some spillover in a mini loaf pan if necessary.
Preheat the oven to 335 F and place the rack in the middle position. Grease and flour a 9 cup Bundt pan (see previous note). Set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar on medium low speed until well creamed, about 5 minutes.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside.
Add the egg to the butter and sugar. Beat until incorporated.
Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches and the tomato soup in 2 batches to the butter mix, alternating, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the cake begins to pull away from the sides and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes before inverting.
When the cake is completely cooled, glaze with frosting of choice. He uses a plain powdered sugar with milk or water. I really liked the sour cream glaze (sour cream plus powdered sugar and some vanilla and a pinch of salt, heated to melt) but upon drying it separated a bit, so that method needs to be refined a bit still.
We had over 1 adult and 2 kids–between that family and ours, this is what was left when she left.