You didn’t think I would only do one vintage Christmas recipe this year did you? Oh no my love, this year, we are doing two!
As i was glitter crashing from my wedding around Christmas time last year, I didn’t release a video (only a blog) of any vintage cooking adventures so I thought I’d make up for it and do two this year. We’ve already made Frosty the Slaw-Man which was … an experience … so today we are making something sweet in the way of the classic vintage ‘Magic Cake’. This cake is named the Magic Cake due to it’s secret ingredient being a tin of condensed tomato soup which apparently help stop it drying out and adds extra flavour.
There are multiple variations of this cake floating around as it was quite popular in the 50’s and 60’s. The recipe I will be referring to today is from 1960 and it’s taken from an advertisement for Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup. In this version, there is added candied fruit to give the cake a bit more of a Christmas vibe which make it’s perfect for us to try out.
-1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
-1 cup sugar
-3 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp each ground cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg
-1/2 cup shortening
-1 can Campbell’s Tomato Soup
-1 cup chopped candied fruit (or raisins, or prepared mincemeat)
-1 cup chopped walnuts
-85 grams of cream cheese
-1 tbsp milk
-2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
-Grease and flour 9 inch tube pan.
-In a large bowl, sift dry ingredients together.
-Add shortening and 1/2 can of soup. Beat until smooth. Add remaining soup and eggs. Beat until smooth.
-Fold in fruit and nuts.
-Pour into pan. Bake about 1 3/4 hours. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, remove the cake from pan.
To make frosting; soften 85grams of cream cheese with 1 tablespoon of milk. Gradually blend in 2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
-Decorate and serve.
As far as cakes go, this one was pretty easy to follow. It was a load of factors outside my control that made this particular bake a challenge. I didn’t have a tube pan so I used a cake pan that I already had and it turned out absolutely fine. I’m always worried I’ll have a cake mishap after my first vintage Halloween recipe attempt so I really made sure to grease and flour all the nooks and crannies well.
Problems starting arising when my hand held mixer died and started to shoot small pieces of metal into my cake mix. I had no choice but to throw out the mixture and start again which meant a quick trip to the shops for new soup. My mother lent me her new hand mixer and by golly was it a strong little piece of equipment (no wonder my bakes took so long to combine).
During filming, I had quite a few mic issues where the mic just cut out, changed the pitch and I had to rely on my spare camera to pick up any audio so I do apologize for that in the video. In the end, with quite a few meltdowns along the way (I’ve also had a migraine for two weeks, I’m just tired and cranky in general), we finally had a cake!
I bet you are wondering how it tastes, well, I have never been so confused by a piece of cake. My tastebuds understood that it was cake and cake is good, but I could also still taste the tomato soup which made it all a little odd. I enjoyed the spices that were put in the soup but my brain couldn’t seem to separate the knowledge that the cake contained soup away from just to taste without judgement. I should share that I cannot stand tomato sauce/ketchup, the smell instantly makes me gag and want to throw up, no idea why, I’ve always been like this. I’m wondering because I had to smell the tomato soup all day that perhaps I didn’t enjoy the cake very much because of that. The smell whilst cooking was very strong and looking at the footage I was definitely trying to avoid the smell as much as possible. I’m normally fine with tomato soup if I make it at home and tomatoes are delicious but keep the sauce away from me.
To make the experiment fair; my husband took a chunk of cake to work and let his office friends have a piece and he received many compliments (I think they were just being nice). Even after everyone was told it contained tomato soup, no one ran violently for the sink or bathroom. My family enjoyed it and said it had a vague hint of carrot cake in it’s texture and flavour. It was reported that more tomato flavour came through on the third and final day of it’s existence.
Overall, the cake was simple and easy. It wasn’t a dry cake and the texture was lovely. I really liked the cream cheese frosting which is probably giving me those carrot cake vibes. I don’t think I would make this again, mainly because the experience wasn’t an overly joyful one, but I am hoping to keep making more weird and wonderful vintage recipes in the new year.
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