However you say “tomato,” it’s probably a safe assumption that the next word out of your mouth won’t be “cake.” Dare to add tomato soup to the classic dessert, though, and what you’ll pull from the oven is a rich, tender spice cake that will make you forget all about its carrot cousin.
We know you’re thinking of tomato soup and grilled cheese, but you’ll just have to trust us. This recipe, which comes from Food52, was a favorite of the former editor’s late grandmother--one taste, and it will become one of yours, too. The unexpected addition came about thanks to Irish immigrants who were looking for cheap baking alternatives, according to the food blog.
They found a winner. The crumb of this spice-laden sweet is perfectly moist thanks to a generous helping of raisins, keeping it fork-tender days after baking. Warm winter spices like allspice and cloves meld perfectly with a thick, luscious layer of cream cheese frosting. We went easy on the confectioners’ sugar and added a generous sprinkling of lemon zest to our icing for a complex cake with just a touch of the bite left from the cream cheese.
Though it doesn’t taste drastically different from carrot cake, we think the tomato brings out the sweetness of the spices a little more than the root veggie. Even as a die-hard carrot cake lover, I had to admit that this recipe is irresistible. So grab a can and get baking. Just maybe don’t tell the family what’s in it until they’ve already taken a bite and fallen in love.
Get the full recipe and directions from Food52.
Images by Linnea Zielinski