And I knew just the cake.
Making this cake was a bit of a challenge. My kiddies are used to hanging out in the kitchen, passing me ingredients, helping me grease and flour the cake pans and of course licking the bowl afterwards. But not with this cake. I didn't want them to find out the secret ingredient, because if they knew before hand, they probably wouldn't have even tried it. So I had to wait until they were all too busy and preoccupied with distractions like cartoons, Christmas toys and video games on the computer. And even then, I kept looking over my shoulder every couple of minutes to make sure they didn't discover the secret ingredient.
As I read and re-read the recipe, I knew that the smart thing to do would be to halve the recipe, in case the cake turned out to be a complete disaster. But I couldn't ignore that little voice inside my head that kept telling me that this cake was going to be just as delicious as every other cake I've baked from my Southern Cakes cookbook and it would be really fun to play a round of "name the secret ingredient" with everyone for Dia de los Santos Inocentes. So, I went against my better judgement and made the full recipe.
For the 25 minutes that the cake was in the oven, my stomach was in knots. I couldn't help but think that this cake was going turn out to be a big, fat, horrible FAIL!
When I opened the oven door, I found a beautiful, golden and aromatic cake that looked and smelled just like Pumpkin Cake.
Now for the moment of truth... I had to pinch off a piece to see what it tasted it like. (Pause.) OMG! It tastes like Pumpkin Cake. I pinched off another piece to make sure I wasn't imagining things. (Pause.) Yep! Tastes exactly like Pumpkin Cake.
Once the cake had cooled, I topped it with a little Cream Cheese Frosting, then handed out slices of cake to Hubby, the kiddies, my suegra, my sister-in-law, two of my college student nephews and one of my neighbors. I tried my hardest not to laugh as we all devoured our cake and was pleasantly surprised that no one had guessed the secret ingredient. Truth be told, I never would have guessed the secret ingredient either. And no one believed me when I told them what the secret ingredient was. They all thought it was a Santos Inocentes prank.
So what was the secret ingredient???
The recipe was for a Tomato Soup Cake, but since I've never seen a can of Tomato Soup here, I used tomato sauce. And the result was absolutely delicious. No joke!!!
If you like Pumpkin Cake, then you'll love this Tomato Sauce Cake, that really should be called "I can't believe it's not pumpkin" Cake!
I Can't Believe It's Not Pumpkin Cake!
(Tomato Soup Cake recipe adapted from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)
- 2 cups flour
- 1-1/3 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1-1/4 cups plain tomato sauce (or one 10-3/4 oz. can tomato soup)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup water
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. Mix with a fork until well combined.
Add in the tomato sauce, butter, eggs, vanilla extract and water. (My kiddies didn't believe this was really a Tomato Sauce Cake until I showed them this photo. )
Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined and the batter is creamy. (About 2 to 3 minutes.)
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan/dish.
Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched in the center. (I couldn't resist pinching the cake over and over again, because it was so good!) Let the cake cool to room temperature.
Prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting by creaming together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy and spreadable. (If frosting is too soft, add more powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time until desired consistency. And if the frosting is to thick, thin it out by adding a tablespoon or two of milk until desired consistency.)
Refrigerate the frosted cake for 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!!!