Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tomato Chocolate Cake

Rose Levy Beranbaum's Heavenly Cakes is easily one of my favorite books - the photos are mouth watering and the recipes are straight forward and very detailed. So, of course, I was going to choose one of the delicious recipes to celebrate my husband's birthday.

My husband's favorite cake is chocolate with raspberry filling and covered in chocolate icing. He is not a huge fan of tomatoes. So when I read her "Tomato Chocolate Cake with Mystery Ganache" I turned the page almost immediately - seriously tomatoes and chocolate?? Sounded almost healthy and I am NOT a believer in healthy birthday cakes!

The thing that made me turn back was the picture. It looked delicious and fun and, oh did I mention, delicious. I decided to take a chance (of course, I wasn't going to tell anyone that I was putting tomato soup in it).

It is easy to prepare, easy to decorate and yes, delicious. It is very chocolatey, light yet deep in flavour and the presentation is whimsical yet sophisticated.

I used a combo of semi sweet, dark and milk chocolate in the ganache and it was great. I also mixed some vanilla pudding and raspberry jam into 1/3 cup of the ganache for the middle filling.

My suggestion is to put the "cookie" candles on JUST BEFORE serving as they do go soft fairly quickly (still ate them the next day soft or not).

I think piping gel works best for the candle "flame".

Make the ganache in the morning as it needs time to cool and thicken.

Everyone including the birthday boy loved the cake and NO ONE could guess there was a tomato in it!

Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache

- serves 16 to 20 -
Adapted from Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum.


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 can Campbell's tomato soup

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

3 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour, sifted into the cup and leveled off

2 cups berry or castor sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 1/2 sticks (1-3/4 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Mystery Ganache (recipe follows)
Pans: Two 9 by 2-inch round cake pans coated with baking spray and flour.

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

1. In a medium bowl, whisk the cocoa, tomato soup, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and half the cocoa mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Starting on medium-low speed, with the mixer off between additions, add the remaining cocoa mixture in two parts. Beat on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Using a spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pans, being sure to press the batter against the sides of the pans, and smooth the surfaces evenly with a small offset spatula.

3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a wire cake tester inserted into the centers comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the centers.

4. Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the pans and the cakes, pressing firmly against the pans, and invert the cakes onto wire racks. Reinvert the cakes so that the top sides are up. Cool completely.

Mystery Ganache


12 ounces dark chocolate, 60% to 62% cocoa, chopped

1 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream

1/4 cup tomato soup

About 59 4-inch Pirouette Wafer Cookies (2 cans, optional) - I like LU brand

Store bought red piping gel - I like the gel because it is more translucent and "flame" like.

What to do:
In a food processor, process the chocolate until very fine. In a medium saucepan whisk together the cream and tomato soup and scald it (heat it to the boiling point; small bubbles will form around the side of pan). With the motor running, carefully poured the scalded cream into the spout of the processor and mix for a minute until smooth.

Cool for one hour on counter. Place plastic wrap on the top of ganache and cool till thick and spreadable ( a few hours).

Final Elements:
When the cakes are completely cool, spread a little of the ganache on a serving plate and set the first layer on top. Slide a few wide strips of wax paper or parchment under the cake to keep the rim of the plate clean.

Spread about 1 cup of the ganache over the layer. Place the second layer on top and use the remainder to frost the top and sides. With the tip of a 1/4-inch-wide metal spatula, make lines through the ganache on top of the cake. Remove the paper strips from under the cake. If storing the cake under a cake dome, allow the ganache to set for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight before applying the Pirouettes or the moisture from the ganache will soften them (seemed to get soft regardless).

To surround the cake with the Pirouettes, you may want to trim them to to varying lengths as in pictures, using a small serrated knife. Repair any broken ones using ganache and press them gently against the sides of the cake. The ganache will hold them in place. If the ganache becomes too firm, heat it by applying a spatula run under hot tap water and dried.

Pipe little flames of red gel on top of each Pirouette.



  1. This is truly fun and delicious looking and sounding--much more sophisticated than the tomato soup cakes of yore. Thanks!

  2. What a beautiful cake! I love when there are funky ingredients that you would never think of putting in foods and they taste great! Your pics are lovely.

  3. WOW! This sounds and looks like a great cake for a celebration, and adding unique ingredients to baked goods is always so much fun!

  4. It looks like a castle!
    Love it!
    Your pics are gorgeous!

  5. Wow! Your cake turned out sooo good, great photos! I have the book, love it, and this was one of the cakes that caught my attention!
    so, it really tastes great, I am so making it ASAP! Also want to try Chocolate tweed angel food cake, looks so good...

  6. YUM!! I want to try this one just so I can point and laugh when the boyfriend finds out he actually ate tomato soup!
    It sounds very interesting, and your pictures look delicious! I'm not a fan of chocolate cake at all, but I really have to try this one. Thanks!

  7. This sounds fantastic - remember tomatoes ARE a fruit! I'm going to try it tonight - Thanks!

  8. great looking cake - love the cookies around the edge!

  9. This is so weird. I love it.

  10. Unbelievable that it looks like a regular chocolate cake. I have another recipe from "Southern Cakes" that uses tomato soup as well but have not dared trying it out yet. Maybe now .... Gorgeous cake.

  11. Not weird. I tasted a chocolate cake with tomato soup in it years ago at an office party and have looked for a recipe ever since. The lady who made it back then (was it 1982 or so?) called it a Red Devil cake and I've searched under that name - unsuccessfully. Finally occurred to me to Google on "chocolate cake with tomato soup" and Voila! I found it. I will try this soon. My recollection is that the flavor is deep, rich, exquisite and un-tomato-like.