For something different try tomato soup cake

Dear Heloise: My mother got a fabulous cake recipe from your mother many years ago. I remember that it had TOMATO SOUP in the cake batter and tasted so good. Could you reprint that recipe? — Amy R., Nashua, N.H.

Amy, this is a fun recipe! My mother, the original Heloise (1919-1977), also called it Conversation Cake, because you don’t tell anyone it contains tomato soup. After they taste it, it starts a conversation! Here we go:

Mother’s Tomato Soup Cake

1/2 cup solid shortening

1 cup sugar

1 can tomato soup (10 1/2 ounces) — a little more won’t hurt

1 cup chopped nuts

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup raisins

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

The following are optional, but they add spice. Do experiment with one or two first — but not all of them, unless you REALLY like spice!

1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg

2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cream shortening and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in one can of tomato soup (undiluted) and the rest of the ingredients, one at a time. Cream well after each addition. Grease a 10-inch square cake pan. Pour in the batter, and when the oven reaches 375 F, bake for 45 minutes.

When cake is done, remove from the oven. Loosen the edges with a knife. Turn onto a cake rack and let cool. Cream cheese icing works well with this cake. But don’t tell anyone that there is tomato soup in the cake until he or she has eaten it!

If you like this recipe, I have many more in my Heloise’s Cake Recipes pamphlet. To receive a copy, send $3, along with a stamped, self-addressed long envelope, to: Heloise/Cake, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. There’s nothing like a homemade cake to make the perfect ending to a meal. — Heloise