Wednesday 30 September 2020

Spaghetti Pizza for Two

I saw a recipe over on the Betty Crocker site last week that captured my eye.  Spaghetti Pizza.  It seemed very simple and it looked delicious.

Two things I really love in the food world are Pizza and Spaghetti.  The thought of both of them combined really made my mouth water and my tastebuds tingle.

I live with a partner who hates both of those things however.  That makes it difficult at times. He will eat it when push comes to shove. He has always been quite good that way.  I just don't like to feed him something I know he doesn't really like.

It goes against my principles as a wife and a homemaker. Call me old-fashioned if you must, but I was brought up in a home where the head of the household was very much catered to. Old habits die hard.

Spaghetti Pizza for Two

 I do cook and serve both of those things on occasion, but only in small amounts.  The recipe on the Betty Crocker site serves 8 people. We are only two.

I decided to adapt the recipe to a size that feeds only two people. Not only that, I created a delicious sauce of my own rather than use bottled marinara sauce. Not that there is not great bottled marinara sauce out there, but its so simple to make your own so why not!

Spaghetti Pizza for Two

 I also created some tasty cheesy garlic bread to serve on the side using the stale end of a loaf of bread.  It already had a crust on it, so why not!  (My father loves to make toast with the heel of the loaf. He calls it crispy toast.) 

I simply spread it with softened butter and sprinkled it with Italian Garlic Seasoning. I also added a layer of grated mozzarella and Parmesan, prior to baking it in a hot oven for about 5 to 8 minutes.

Spaghetti Pizza for Two

 My mother always cooked to please my father.  He had very simple tastes. He was never fond of casseroles and he insisted he only liked his food seasoned with salt and pepper because that is what his mother used. B O R I N G

She did used to make what she called "Italian Spaghetti." It was usually on the menu at least once a week. My father liked Italian Spaghetti.

Spaghetti Pizza for Two

Her idea of Italian Spaghetti involved browning a pound of cheap ground beef in a skillet. (Ugh!)  Then she would add a can of Catelli spaghetti sauce, (double ugh!!) and heat it through.

This would be served on what was undoubtedly over-cooked spaghetti noodles. In rerospect, I don't think the cook time was ever paid attention to or followed.  Those were the times we were living in.

Spaghetti Pizza for Two

We had never been to Italy. We didn't even know any Italians. Our expectations were low.  It was considered quite edible by the majority of the family and when you added some smelly sock cheese from the green plastic tube, it was considered downright exotic! 

I could never abide my spaghetti with meat sauce. I liked it with tomato sauce alright, but mom never paid for quality ground beef and so it was always quite fatty and filled with things like gristle, etc.

Spaghetti Pizza for Two

 If even a morsel of that touched my teeth I was off to the gagging races.  I have a very strong gag reflex.  At the end of dinner my plate would be filled with little pieces of hamburger. 

I was an expert at routing out ground beef.  From anything.  Even macaroni. I would get it out of the holes. It would all end up lined up on my plate, which would annoy my father to no end. He considered it wasteful.

Spaghetti Pizza for Two

 Anyways, after a time, my mom decided that rather than force me to eat what I simply couldn't stand, she would save me some of the sauce aside without any meat in it. For years that is how I enjoyed my spaghetti.

I am always very grateful for a mother who went to great length to please all of us as best as she could. As an adult I learned how very good spaghetti with meat sauce,  or Spaghetti Bolognese, could be.  Especially if you used a quality ground beef.

Spaghetti Pizza for Two

With a sauce made from scratch, not out of a tin.  And with real grated Parmesan Cheese, not smelly sock from a green plastic tube. 

We are relatively spoiled in these modern times.  Some of the best ingredients and foods in the world are readily available to us. We really shouldn't take any of it for granted.  All  of us are only one ecological disaster away from hunger. We should never forget that.

Spaghetti Pizza for Two

 Anyways, this Spaghetti Pizza doesn't have a meat sauce. It has a simple stir-together flavour filled sauce that goes together in a flash.  You can pronounce all of its ingredients as well.

The spaghetti is perfectly cooked al dente and then tossed together with three cheeses and some egg and milk before it is poured into a small rimmed baking sheet.

 Spaghetti Pizza for Two

This gets baked for a short time and then it gets topped with the sauce, more cheese and some pepperoni, until being baked again.  Not for too long, jus long enough to get everything bubbling and the cheese melted. 

You do get a few crispy bits of spaghetti around the edges. I don't mind that in the least. I rather like the crispy bits.

Spaghetti Pizza for Two

 I could not resist cutting it into wedges. I have to say this was quite, quite QUITE delicious! If you wanted to add a meat sauce or crumbled cooked sausage or beef you certainly could instead of just having a tomato sauce.

I thought that it was just right as it was, with the cheese and a few slices of spicy pepperoni on top. Not something I eat very often, but I do like pepperoni on things like this and we can get really good Italian pepperoni over here in the UK.

Spaghetti Pizza for Two

 I did add a delicious green salad on the side as a nod to healthy eating. It was filled with cucumber, broccoli, edamame, peas, grated courgettes,beans and spinach, with a healthy sprinkling of toasted pumpkin seeds.

It was a ready salad, M&S.  Their salads are always nice.

I am not always a hedonist.  Sometimes I can actually eat something which is good for me, and today, aside from the cheesy garlic bread, I did.

Spaghetti Pizza for Two

Spaghetti Pizza for Two
Yield: 2
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 10 Mincook time: 35 Mintotal time: 45 Min
A scaled down version of a delicious old family favourite. It boasts a flavour filled spaghetti base topped with a rich sauce, three cheeses and pepperoni.


For the Spaghetti:
  • 4 ounces (115g) uncooked spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) whole milk
  • 1 small free range egg
  • 1/4 sp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup (35g) grated mozarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup (30g) grated strong cheddar cheese
  • 2 TBS finely grated Parmesan cheese
For the sauce:
  • 1 cup (240ml) tomato sauce (passata)
  • 1 TBS Tomato puree (tomato paste)
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seed, crushed
  • pinch ground cloves
You will also need for topping:
  • 1/4 cup (35g) grated mozarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup (30g) grated strong cheddar cheese
  • 2 TBS finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 thin slices of pepperoni


  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Butter a rimmed baking sheet, approximately 7 by 9 inches in size.  Set aside.
  2. Cook the spaghetti in a pot of lightly salted boiling water to al dente according to the package directions.  Drain well and rinse with cold water to cool down. Cool the saucepan down with cold water and drain well.  Beat the egg, milk, seasonings and cheeses for the spaghetti base together in the saucepan.  Add the spaghetti and toss together to combine.  Pour this mixture into the prepared baking tin, spreading it out evenly.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  4. While it is baking whisk together all of your sauce ingredients. Tase and adjust seasoning as desired.  Remove the pan from the oven and spread this sauce evenly over top of the spaghetti.
  5. Mix together the cheeses for the topping. Sprinkle evenly over top of the spaghetti and sauce.  Place the pepperoni slices on top.
  6. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and everything is heated through.  Serve immediately.
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Tuesday 29 September 2020

Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart

Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart

 One of the things I am always grateful for living here in the UK, is that I have spent the last twenty years living in a very close proximity to the European Continent, or "The Continent" as it is referred to here.  When we lived down in Kent, we could be sitting at an ouside cafe in France enjoying a hot drink by mid morning, depending on how early we got up. 

This was always really nice.  We often went over to Calais and Bologne sur Mer for a day's shopping. There was a huge Carrefour in Calais, so we would go sight-seeing in Bologne, have lunch and then double back to Calais and load up on French goodies before catching the train through the Euro-tunnel back to England.

Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart

 One time we went over with our friends Jo and Colin and spent a day traversing all down the coast line from Calais South-bound, stopping to have a picnic along the way.  It was a lot of fun. Did you know the French are obsessed with any thing Egyptian?  I discovered that on that particular trip. It was astonishing.

One thing the French do really well is breads, cheeses and wines/spirits. I believe their bread is some of the best in the world. Once you have enjoyed a fresh French Croissant, you are spoiled for any other kinds. 

That is one thing I really love about travelling to other countries. Being able to try their foods. I am a culinary tourist more than anything else!

Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart

 One year we were blessed to be able to spend a few weeks down in the Bordeaux/Dordogne region of France with our friends Audrey and Peter Lee. What a wonderful time we had.  Peter had rented a stone cottage out in country side.  

We spent our days hiking and exploring and then would come back to the cottage in the evenings where I would whip up a dinner for us from what we had managed to gather in the daytime during our travels. On that visit I got to try beautiful Caneles from the medieval town of Saint Emilion. 

Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart

 I fell in love with those beautiful French pastries.  A beautifully rich caramel interior sealed into a crispy caramelised shell.  So delicious! 

Another time we stayed in the Alsace region of France/Germany.  This region is an area in the North East of France that has alternately been either French or German throughout the centures, reflecting a mix of the two cultures. At the moment it belongs to France.

Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart

 We spent a full day in Strasbourg which is the capital of the Alsace region. There is a street there that is lined with tall poles on both sides.  There are stork nests situated on the top of each pole. I had never seen anything like it. Not before, not since.  Storks (Cigognes Blanche are the symbol of Alsace, as is this fabulous Bacon and Onion Tart. 

Tarte Flambee/Flammekeuche is its official name. It is sort of like the French/German equivalent of Pizza, but don't say that too loud or they might throw you in jail! haha

Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart

 Essentially it is a round flat, open-faced tart with a beautiful incredibly crisp pastry bottom. This is topped with sour cream/creme fraiche, caramelised onions, two cheeses and beautiful Alsatian bacon/lardons. 

Simple, and yet incredibly delicious in its simplicity.  Along with the Choucroute Garnie (essentially sauerkraut and smoked meats/sausages) it was one of my favourite foods from the region. We enjoyed the Choucroute one day at an open table in a market square. It was served with the most delicious boiled baby potatoes.

Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart

The Bacon and Onion Tarts are baked quickly in very hot ovens which gives them a very crisp crust.  This is almost impossible to replicate perfectly at home, but I do try my best. 

The thinner you can roll the dough out the crisper it will be. Or you can cheat a tiny bit and use puff pastry, which comes out crisp every time. This is my cheat/go-to option and something which we I can live with very happily.

Whilst it is not totally authentic, it is quite delicious and the perfect nod to this traditional tart of Alsace. With is crisp bottom and edges, not to mention rich toppings, it always goes down really well. 

Having said that, however, it is a rare, once in a blue moon treat as it is also very indulgent, to say the least.  Let's face it.  Puff pastry, bacon, sour cream, two cheeses caramelised onions.  How much more indulgent could you get?

I have never been able to resist anything in pastry.  When I was about 13 years old my mother had to go away one weekend. She had left a family sized homemade pot pie for me to heat up for our Saturday night supper. My whole family accused me of having taken the largest piece for myself. 

I denied it of course, it just so happened that after I had dished out everyone else's, there just happened to be a nice sized piece left in the dish for me. Was it done on purpose?  I cannot say for sure, but I do know I have never been able to live it down!

Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart

To this day I am known for having taken the largest piece of pie for myself. On purpose or not.  I don't think I really intended to take the largest piece myself. I prefer to think of it as a happy accident. 

Nobody wants to be known as selfish or a glutton. In all truth however, when it comes to pastry, I am completely untrustworthy. Anything in pastry sings the song of my food-loving heart!

Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart
Well, almost anything at any rate.  I don't think I would be lining up for "Stargazy pie." (A british pie stuffed with whole fishes, heads intact. The bake the pie so that the heads poke out of the steam vents in the top of the pie, as if to be gazing at the heavens.) 

I think I would gladly give the whole of that pie to anyone who wanted it.  This Alsation Bacon and Onion Tart however . . .  that I might be tempted to fight for! 
Food travel is often the best kind of travel, and in these modern times you never really have to leave the comforts of your own home to experience it.

Yield: makes 6 - 8 slices
Author: Marie Rayner
Alsatian Bacon & Onion Tart

Alsatian Bacon & Onion Tart

This is a simple tart that is delicious with caramelized onions, bacon and cheese. Perfect for a lunch or light supper when served with a salad, or cut into smaller bites and served as a party bite over the holidays.
prep time: 20 Mincook time: 25 Mintotal time: 45 Min


  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TBS white wine or Calvados (French apple brandy)
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/2 cup (125g)of creme fraiche (about 1/2 cup)
  • 8 rashers of bacon, par-cooked (see notes) and chopped
  • 1/4 cup (20g) of grated gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup (20g) of grated cheddar cheese
  • egg wash made with 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp of milk or water


  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and golden brown. This will take about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the wine or Calvados, if using, and stir gently to release any flavourful browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer until the wine is evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.
  5. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to a circle, about 13 inches in diameter.
  6. Transfer the rolled out dough to the prepared baking sheet. Spread with the creme fraiche evenly over the pastry, leaving a one inch border free all the way around the edge. Sprinkle evenly with the chopped bacon and the onions. Top with the grated cheeses.
  7. Fold over the exposed edges of the dough, fluting decoratively as you go, forming a 1 inch border. Brush this border with the prepared egg wash.
  8. Bake until the tart is golden brown and the bacon is crisp, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cut into 6 to 8 slices and serve hot.


To par-cook the bacon, place two layers of paper kitchen toweling on a microwave safe plate. Lay the desired amount of bacon in a single layer on top of the paper towel. Cover with two additional sheets of paper. Microwave for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, or 30 seconds per rasher. (I do two rashers at a time.)
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Alsation Bacon & Onion Tart  This content (written and photography) is the sole property of The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. 
 If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at: mariealicejoan at aol dot com Thanks so much for visiting. Do come  

Monday 28 September 2020

Ultimate Pizza Bagels


One of my favourite things of all of the food groups is Pizza. I adore Pizza in any way shape or form. You may not think of it as a food group, but I do.  We have our fruits and vegetables, our meat fish and poultry, our dairy, our grains and breads and then there is Pizza, which from where I am sitting deserves a group all of its own. 

It combines the best of all the food groups, and it does it in a most delicious way. I will forever be grateful to the Italians for this delicious contribution to the world. It was always my dream to be able to eat pizza in Italy, but I don't think that is ever going to happen now for one reason or another!


It was not always so, this love I have for pizza. I was well into my teens before I ever tasted a pizza. Our high school did a Winter Carnival every Winter. It lasted several days and it was a happy mix of games and activities.  

That was back when we used to get quite a bit of snow in Nova Scotia in the Winter months. You could make snow sculptures and go ice skating out of doors, tobboganing, etc. I believe in Global Warming because it has certainly changed a lot in recent years. 

The year I was in Grade nine, they held a "Coffee House" on one of the nights of our High School Winter Carnival. The gym was set up with a stage for the performers and there were tables scattered throughout for our "customers" to sit at and enjoy the music and pizza which was available to buy by the slice. 

Our Home Ec Department was kept very busy making the pizzas for sale and I, as one of the "waitresses," was kept very busy taking and delivering orders. 

This was the very first time I ever tasted Pizza. I fell in love. (Who wouldn't!) Next time I tasted it, it was by way of a boxed Pizza Mix, enjoyed in the comfort of our home, introduced to us as a family by my then boyfriend, who would one day become my husband.  Apparently, it was something his sister's made quite often at home. 

So what does any of this have to do with Pizza Bagels?  Why nothing really!  It was just an attempt on my part to explain how Pizza, which is something which we all take very much for granted these days, became one of my great loves.

Pizza can come in many ways, shape or forms, aside from the traditional.  There are French Bread Pizzas, Naan Pizzas, Spaghetti Pizzas, Cracker Pizzas, etc. Pizza Bagels and Pizza Bagel Bites. This, I am sharing today, is my attempt to share with you what I feel is the Ultimate Bagel Pizza!

Ultimate Pizza Bagels

It combines all of the things I love about Pizza, but in the form of a very delicious, hand held, Pizza Bagel.  I used Sour Dough Bagels for my Pizza Bagels.  It provided the perfect case for all the cheesy ooey gooey goodness! 

I started by brushing the cuts sides of a bagel with some softened butter and sprinkling them with some garlic Italian seasoning. Onto this I sprinkled some coarsely grated Parmesan Cheese. I then popped them into the oven to crisp up the edges and melt the cheese.

Ultimate Pizza Bagels

Onto that went some pizza sauce. I have always made my own pizza sauce.  It is delicious. I downsized it to a smaller amount for these. (Quantities are given for enough to make one are are easily multiplied to make more!) 

This went onto both the top and bottom of the bagels.  On top of that almost garlic bread topping. It is all about layering flavours here. 

Ultimate Pizza Bagels


Next I applied a sort of an uncooked sofrito/mirepoix of very finely chopped vegetables. I used two kinds of sweet bell peppers (yellow and red), onions and green and black olives. You could use whatever combination you wanted to use. 

It is meant to be another layer of flavour in what is already shaping up to be something quite delicious to say the least. And I am all for the flavours!

Ultimate Pizza Bagels


Onto that, and again on both sides, goes a layer of grated Mozzarella cheese.  Ooey, gooey, milky Mozzarella Cheese.  This helps to "glue in" those vegetables and keep them in place.

I added a layer of very thinly sliced Pepperoni.  Italian Pepperoni. You will never catch me snacking on a Pepperami stick, but on a pizza, I love the flavour of Pepperoni. It just fits.

Ultimate Pizza Bagels

Of course if you don't like Pepperoni, you can add whatever kind of protein you like, or even no protein at all.  Just make sure it is thinly sliced. You could try ham, or proscuitto, even mortadella or sliced hotdogs. Cooked ground beef, Italian sausage.  Crisp diced bacon. Whatever floats your boat!! This is placed only on the bottom half of the bagel.

Its then time to close it all in by flipping the top half of the bagel over top to cover everything up. You might think that I would be finished here, but nope, there is more!

Ultimate Pizza Bagels


Finally on the top I gild the lily with some melted butter.  A thin layer brushed over top of everything.  More flavour it added by lightly sprinkling on some dried basil and oregano leaves, and then a final dusting of very finely grated Parmesan Cheese. 

Now it is time to pop your Pizza Bagel into the oven. Make sure you line your baking sheet and lightly spray it with low fat cooking spray. That cheese will melt and the sauce may ooze a bit. You don't want your pizza bagel to end up stuck to the baking tray.

Ultimate Pizza Bagels

 You are almost at the finish line now. Into the oven for a quick bake.  Just until the bagel is warmed through and gilded on the edges, the cheese has melted and that buttery parmesan topping is golden crispy! 

Prepare to fall in love!  Grab the napkins and get ready to drool! Get ready to open wide and enjoy a spectacularly delicious hot sandwich!

Ultimate Pizza Bagels


These delicious hot delights are the ultimate in Pizza Bagels.  Not just a half a bagel like most Pizza Bagels you will see, these are the whole shebang! 

With double the sauce, double the toppings and double the cheese.  A true delight you can wrap your mouth around.

Ultimate Pizza Bagels


Hot, delicious and oh so moreish. I guarantee these Pizza Bagels are sure to become firm family favourites.  

I cannot claim fully the inspiration for this delicious treat. I was largely inspired by a photo of some Pizza Bagels I saw on Pinterest from Don't go Bacon My Heart. Lush and lucious. I have adapted the recipe in a way I feel puts them together better and so that if you only want one or two you can easily manage that. Plus I like to make my own sauces, etc. If you would like a full size recipe for my pizza sauce, you can find it here.

I don't know how you feel about Pizza, but as far as I am concerned, there can never be too much of it in my little world. My husband does not share my passion, but that's okay. It just means that there is more for me to enjoy!

Ultimate Pizza Bagels

Ultimate Pizza Bagels
Yield: One
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 15 Mincook time: 15 Mintotal time: 30 Min
Quantities are given for one Pizza Bagel. You can multiply as per your requirements. These are fabulously tasty. Best Pizza Bagel ever, which says a lot!


For the Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup (60g) tomato sauce (Passata)
  • 1/2 TBS tomato puree (tomato paste)
  • pinch fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp each dried basil and oregano
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
For the filling:
  • 1 TBS softened butter
  • 1/2 tsp garlic Italian seasoning
  • 1 TBS coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup (50g) grated Mozarella cheese
  • 1 TBS each minced onion, peppers, olives
  • 4 thin slices pepperoni
You will also need:
  • 1 sour dough bagel split
  • 1/2 TBS melted butter
  • 1/2 TBS finely grated Parmesan Cheese
  • pinch each dried oregano and basil


  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas  mark 4. Line a small baking tray with aluminium foil and spray it lightly with canola spray.
  2. Place the split bagel onto the baking tray.  Spread both halves with the softened butter and sprinkle with Italian garlic seasoning. Sprinkle over top the coarsely grated Parmesan cheese.
  3. Pop into the oven for 8 to 10 minutes to gild the lily and melt the cheese.
  4. Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together to combine well.
  5. Remove from the oven and spread each half of the bagel with half of the pizza sauce. Top with the chopped onions, peppers and olives, dividing the chopped vegetables between each half. Top each half with half of the Mozzarella cheese, pressing it down lightly to adhere.
  6. Place the pepperoni onto the cheese on the bottom half. Carefully place the top half of the bagel over the pepperoni, cheese side down.
  7. Brush the bagel all over with the melted butter.  Sprinkle with some oregano and basil. Sprinkle the finely grated parmesan cheese over top.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for a further 15 minutes until the bagel is crispy, the cheese inside has melted and the topping has gone golden crispy.
  9. Cut in half to serve. Deliciously scrummy!
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Tag @marierayner5530 on instagram and hashtag it #EnglishKitchen

Ultimate Pizza Bagels 

This content (written and photography) is the sole property of The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at: mariealicejoan at aol dot com 

Thanks so much for visiting. Do come again!  


Sunday 27 September 2020

Tomato Soup Cake

You know it is autumn when the temperatures start to dip and the kitchen starts to smell like sugar and spice and all things nice.  Cinnamon. Cloves. Nutmeg.  Yep, a Tomato Soup cake is in the oven! 

Tomato Soup Cake?  What the heck? Say what?  Today I am tipping my hat to this fabulously retro recipe which dates back to days of old. I got the recipe from my Canadian MIL.  I am sure she got it from a tin of tomato soup!

People are always really surprised when you give them a slice of this delicious cake and are told what kind of cake it is!  You can almost guarantee their eye brows will rise in question.  Almost like they have heard you wrong.

Nope, you tell them. It is Tomato Soup Cake.  And then you can see them kind of nervously dipping their forks into it.  Not quite sure of what to expect.

They raise their fork to their mouth and you can almost see them cringing.  They are not sure what to expect but it can't be good right? 

WRONG!  They are almost always pleasantly surprised and have no problem digging their forks into the cake for a second bite. This is love at first bite, every time.

Tomato Soup Cake is a spicy sweet classic that has been gracing tables across North America for a great many years, back to the 1930's and the great depression.  This simple spice cake is also known as Mystery Cake. 

The secret ingredient, a tin of condensed tomato soup, has kept people guessing to no avail as to just what it is. You cannot taste any tomato soup in it. It just tastes nice and spicy.

Tomato Soup Cake

 I can only guess some really brave housewife happened upon the idea of using tomato soup to help cut back on butter and eggs which were really scarce at the time, along with wages.  There is some, but not a lot.

What a wonderful way to think outside of the box! How very innovative.  Whoever it was, I thank them very much!

In all truth it was probably a dietitian working for one of the soup companies who came up with it as a way to sell more tinnd soup. It doesn't really matter. The end result is one very delicious cake! 

I had never heard of it before my MIL gave me the recipe. It was not something my mother had ever made.  The first year I was married my MIL gave me a little handwritten notebook filled with all of her tried and true recipes. This was one of them.

I confess, I, too, was quite sceptical when I first saw it.  It was my ex husbands favourite cake however and so what was a good wife to do. Eager to please, I baked it for him. 

It smells heavenly when it is baking.  All spicy and warm, like autumn.  Your house will smell amazing.

To me, this is the smell of Home Sweet Home. Homecoming. Changing leaves. A briskness in the wind. Crisp and cooler mornings.  The smell of spice and woodsmoke.  

This tender and moist, spicy cake is to be honest, simply wonderful. It is very similar to my Applesauce Spice Cake both in looks and in flavour.  They both smell fabulous when baking.

The applesauce cake is not quite as dark in colour.  Both recipes are a nod to the ingenuity of the cooks and bakers of days gone by, when nothing was ever laid to waste and every scrap was used. 

I have added a cream cheese icing to my MIL's recipe. Hers was always plain.  Where she used to bake hers in a square pan, I like to bake it in a loaf tin. I think it turns out much moister baked in a loaf tin.

The cream cheese icing really adds a special touch I think.  A certain richness. I have had to fiddle a lot with my cream cheese icing since moving here to the UK.  Cream cheese here is wetter I think. It took me a very long time to get it to work out properly.

It is a fine balance between butter and cream cheese, and I do find it takes me a lot more icing sugar to get it to the right consistency here, which does result in more icing, but you can freeze the extra. Or keep it in the refrigerator for a short time if you know you are going to be using it up soonish.

Tomato Soup Cake

You can leave it plain if you wish, or just make a vanilla butter cream.  Plain it is lovely toasted lightly and spread with butter. 

Yes, I do know how to add extra calories to just about everything.  What can I say?  Guilty as charged.I guess I just know how to put the good in taste.  And my hips don't lie. They are the proof of the pudding.

Tomato Soup Cake

This spicy moist cake is studded with sweet sticky raisins. You can leave them out if you want, but if you are a raisin lover, I highly recommend you leave them in. You could use chopped dates in their place if you wanted to, or even both.

Same with the walnuts.  Leave them in and do toast them first if you can. It does make a difference. You could probably use pecans in their place, but I have just always used walnuts. Where I come from if a recipe calls for nuts, its usually walnuts.

Tomato Soup Cake

I really hope you will bake this.  Don't tell your family what it is until after they have fallen in love with it and then watch for the surprised look on their faces.

This has been a family pleaser for about 90 years now I reckon. There is something to be said about the staying power of a recipe such as this. Like the music of the Beatles and Spaghetti Bolognaise, may it never go out of style.

Tomato Soup Cake

Tomato Soup Cake
Yield: 1 (8 by 4-inch) loaf
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 10 Mincook time: 45 Mintotal time: 55 Min
This sweet and spicy classic loaf cake is studded with sticky raisins and crunchy toasted nuts. A cream cheese frosting is its crowning glory. You know its autumn when one of these is in the oven!


  • 1/4 cup (60g) butter
  • 1 cup (195g) sugar
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 1 (10 3/4 oz)(295g) tin of condensed tomato soup, undiluted
  • 1 tsp  bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/2 cups (210 g) sifted all purpose (plain)flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup (50g) raisins
  • 1/3 cup (40g) toasted walnuts (coarsely broken)
For the cream cheese frosting:
  • 2 1/2 TBS butter, at room temperature
  • 4 TBS cream cheese, at room temperature
  • few drops of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (130g) icing sugar sifted (or enough to give you the consistency needed) (In the UK it may take considerably more)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter an 8 by 4 inch loaf tin and line with baking paper. Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg.  Beat in the tomato soup.
  3. Sift together the flour, soda, baking powder and spices.  Add to the creamed mixture and mix together just to combine.  Fold in the raisins and nuts.
  4. Spread in the loaf tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until well risen and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. (Here in the UK, mine took an additional 10 minutes.)
  5. Let cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then tip out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. When the cake has cooled make the frosting. Beat everything together until smooth, adding enough icing sugar to give you a smooth, thickish yet spreadable frosting. Spread over the top of the cake. 
  7. Cut into thick  slices to serve.
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Tomato Soup Cake  How are you coping with all of the changes in Blogger? I am having a heck of a time myself. I have never been one much for writing code etc. Like a car, I just want to get behind the wheel and turn the key.  This sure is different!  I suppose in time it will become old hat! Things are not quite looking the same on my home page, but I am hopeful that they will sort themselves out in due time.

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