Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mystery Cupcakes

I first read about this Mystery Cake on the caker blog, and immediately wanted to try it. Mostly to find out if you really could taste the secret ingredient. Plus I love spice cake. I actually found this recipe in one of my all time favorite cookbooks--mostly for the information and stories, since this is the first recipe I've actually made from it. It is the American Century Cookbook, and it combines history and recipes from the previous century--stories of how they developed and what their background was. So I can relate that this cake was first made using canned tomatoes, until the 1920s when people started using condensed tomato soup. It has many variations--some more of a loaf with nuts and dried fruit, others fancy layer cakes. This particular version is based on the Campbell's soup recipe, though I made cupcakes instead. I still do not have layer cake pans, but right now I only have two pairs of pants that fit--so priorities!

2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 (10 3/4 oz) can condensed tomato soup
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
cream cheese frosting

This is actually a super easy cake to make--I didn't have shortening or eggs, so I used light butter and egg beaters. All of the ingredients, except the frosting are dumped in the bowl and mixed on low until combined, scraping the edges. Once all are combined, the speed is increased to high and beat for 4 minutes. Honestly, I couldn't tell there was tomato soup in it--it was orange, sure, but it could have been pumpkin! I tasted the batter (the egg substitute is pasteurized, so it is safe to eat) and it didn't taste tomatoy. Then the batter is poured into muffin tins that have been sprayed or lined with paper cups (really, I don't have the right pan, do I seem like the sort of person who would have cupcake liners?) The cupcakes are baked in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees for 25  to 30 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean.

The Verdict: Can I say YUM? They turned out super moist, not too sweet, and super spicy! The frosting was not the best, but the walnuts on top were a perfect foil for the moist and delicious cupcake. It was a rosy red color from the soup, but the cloves and allspice were really strong. I brought half to my sister's house for dinner and half to work for a coworker's birthday. I forgot to take a picture after I took them out of the oven, so I snapped this picture of one in my office. Note the mustard color of my desk--it is original to the mid 1960s when the building was open.

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