Spicy Shortcake with Applesauce – 1952

Wow, the title of this one really sounds innocent, considering the ingredients involved. Well, one ingredient at least. You see, this is one of the variations to the famous Campbell’s Tomato Soup Cake.

Yes, you heard me right.

Now, evidently the tomato soup cake was first invented in the 1920s, but this cookbook, according to my research, is clearly mid-century. Specifically 1952.

Dessert with tomato soup…. who would’ve thought?

We’re also doing things a little different today. Thanks to a long-distance friend who really wanted to see my reaction to this recipe, I’ve got a Youtube channel! So my actual attempt at the recipe is over there. However, a more detailed reaction and a printable version is still listed down below. Just scroll down past the video to see.


a square pan of spice shortcake, sitting in front of a can of tomato soup.

It was really good initially. The cake comes out of the oven with this nice reddish-brown color, which made it stand out from other spice cakes I’ve had, and the layer of applesauce gave it additional visual appeal. That could, however, be me as an Appalachian speaking. The concept (minus the tomato soup) really reminds me of an apple stack cake. Additionally, the spices are very forward, blending well with the tartness of the applesauce. Like any good spice cake, you can really smell them, both as its baking and after its been served.

A slice of spicy shortcake, split to form two layers with a layer of applesauce between.

But then there’s a taste that hangs on the back of the tongue… something slightly acidic or metallic- (it’s not the applesauce, I noticed it also after just eating some cake by itself). Both me and my husband noticed it individually, so it’s not just me imagining things because of tomato soup being on my mind.

It’s also just really dry. That forty minute bake time kind of zaps the moisture right out of it. Thankfully, the applesauce picks up the slack, but it’s still not quite enough.

Appearance – 4.5
Aroma – 5
Texture – 3
Taste – 3.5

Overall – 4 While it was certainly interesting to say, “here, have a piece of tomato soup cake”, I think in the long run I’d just prefer to have a normal spice cake, considering the dryness and that slight acidic taste.

Spicy Shortcake with Applesauce

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Print
from Cooking with Condensed Soups, 1952


1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp powdered cloves
3 T. butter or shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup (1 1/4 c) condensed tomato soup
1 1/2 c. applesauce


Preheat the oven to 350° F. Prepare a 9-inch baking pan, greasing and flouring.

Sift together your dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, soda, and spices.

Cream your butter/shortening and sugar until the mixture is fluffy; Add the egg and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients and the soup to the creamed mixture, alternating between the two and stirring with each addition.

Pour the batter into the prepared 9-inch baking pan and bake for 40 – 50 minutes. Afterwards, allowing the cake to cool completely.

Once it is cool, cut the pieces into squares or wedges. Split the pieces and fill with a layer of applesauce.

2 thoughts on “Spicy Shortcake with Applesauce – 1952

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