Yep, you read that right, Tomato Soup Cupcakes. I'm going retro today with these old-school cupcakes. But the tomato soup isn't a gimmick; it's the secret ingredient for tender spiced cupcakes with a little air of mystery.
I have to admit I had never even heard of these — that is until The Kitchn asked if I'd be up for the challenge of developing a recipe for this throwback treat.
Of course I'm always up for a challenge. After doing a bit of research, it was easy to see that tomato soup cake (the precursor to the cupcake form) is a lot like spice cake. This is how many people describe it, and I agree — the flavors are a little duller than traditional spice cake with a slight hint of a tomato soup flavor. In fact, the soup flavor is slight enough that if you are not familiar with the taste of Campbell's Tomato Soup you may not even know it's in there. You can also kick up the spice cake flavors to your liking just by increasing the spices. I kept mine mild because that just happens to be my preference.
In terms of how the soup affects the texture — it definitely gives the cupcake a tight delicate crumb that's soft, almost like the texture of boxed cupcakes but not as airy.
The verdict on this retro cupcake: definitely make them. It's worth it. It's not at all like eating tomato soup with sugar and butter — the soup is only noticeable if you are looking for it. In fact even after I told my neighbors there was tomato soup in it they said no one noticed it at all. All the could taste was a lovely cupcake with a dreamy soft cloud-like frosting.
Speaking of frosting, I decided to go against the cream cheese, chocolate or mascarpone frosting I saw paired with the other tomato soup cupcakes out there. Instead I opted for for a bit of retro frosting I picked up from my best friend's mom. It's a mixture of cream cheese, marshmallow fluff and Cool Whip — no sugar, butter or cream. It was perfect in its "retro-ness" to go with these tomato cupcakes.
Now time to ask you guys, how many of you have had a tomato soup cupcake or a slice of tomato cake? What did you think of it? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.
Tomato Soup Cupcakes
Makes 14 to 16 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and warm
3 large eggs
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can tomato soup
1/2 cup hot water
For the frosting: 1 (7-ounce) container marshmallow fluff
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 (8-ounce) tub Cool Whip
To make cupcakes, preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake pan with liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, both sugars, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter and eggs. Add butter mixture into flour mixture and whisk to combine. Add the tomato soup and whisk to combine. Add in 1/4 cup of the hot water and whisk to combine. Pour in remaining hot water and whisk to combine.
Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way up and bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out free of crumbs and cupcake springs back when gently pressed. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.
To make frosting, combine the marshmallow fluff and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer bowl and beat until combined. Turn off mixer and stir in Cool Whip.
Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with your preferred tip and pipe the frosting on to the cupcakes.