Tomato Soup Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This retro recipe has been around for decades. Campbell’s published it in a cookbook for the first time in 1940, but it was in existence well before then. The recipe found its way into my Mom’s hand-written recipe file and, as a child, I was convinced my mother was a magician and genius.  After all, who but MY Mom could put a can of tomato soup into a cake and make it taste so good??  (Turns out, LOTS of grandmas and moms did, but I prefer to keep  my Mom on the pedestal I built for her…)

A nice, thick layer of frosting on this is a requirement in my mind. It can be made as a layer cake, but I always use a 13″ x 9″ pan so that the cream cheese frosting (or “icing” in my coal region/Dutchie home) is not spread out between the multiple surfaces of layers.  Raisins are option, but use ’em if you like ’em, they add another touch of yum to this spice cake. 

I sometimes sprinkle finely chopped toasted walnuts or pecans over the surface of the frosting. (I like the flavor, the look of the garnish, and they help keep that fussy plastic wrap from sticking to the frosting for storage.)

Tomato Soup Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: DessertCuisine: Pa. Dutch, Coal RegionDifficulty: Intermediate


  • Cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/3 cups sugar

  • 4 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1 (10 3/4 oz) can condensed tomato soup

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 cup raisins

  • Frosting
  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 2 to 3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional but recommended)

  • OPTIONAL: 3/4 cup finely chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts


  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  • Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon and cloves.
  • Add the soup, butter, eggs, and water and, using an electric mixer, beat until smooth.
  • Fold in the raisins, if using.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake the cake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes
  • Let the cake cool completely.
  • Frosting
  • Beat the cream cheese until smooth and light.
  • Add the butter and beat into the cream cheese.
  • Add 2 cups of the confectioners’ sugar and beat until combined. Continue to add confectioners’ sugar until you have your desired consistency.
  • Beat in the cinnamon.Spread the frosting on top of the cooled cake.
  • Sprinkle with nuts if using.