For those of you who listened to my interview on CBC’s The Next Chapter, you know that Tomato Soup Cake generated a fair amount of chatter. Cakers can't get enough of it. Maybe one day, Tomato Soup Cake will be rightfully recognized as a hallmark of Canadian cuisine, alongside harp seal pie and fiddleheads.
So imagine my shock while reading a Heinz ketchup bottle the other day (one of my New Year’s resolutions is to read more) and I saw a recipe for something called "The Great Canadian Heinz Ketchup Cake."
“Mother of mustard!” I exclaimed to my hash browns. “Them folks at Heinz are putting the squeeze on Tomato Soup Cake.” I did what any proud Canadian would do – put my muskrat hat on, danced a jig to the Irish Rovers and then canoed to the dry goods store to rustle up the ingredients.
So…was The Great Canadian Heinz Ketchup Cake better than Tomato Soup Cake?
All in all, it tasted pretty good, kind of like the offspring of carrot cake and spice cake with a special guest appearance by red velvet. But it’s a lot of work. I used, like, three bowls! Plus, I kept wanting to stick chicken fingers into it. Suffice to say, I'm happy to welcome The Great Canadian Heinz Ketchup Cake to my vinyl tablecloth-covered table, but I don’t think the folks at Campbell's have anything to worry about.
2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) cinnamon
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground ginger
1/2 cup (125 mL) Heinz Tomato Ketchup
1/2 cup (125 mL) water
2 tbsp (30 mL) red food colouring
3/4 cup (175 mL) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) packed dark brown sugar
(There’s a cream cheese frosting recipe on the Heinz website. I saved myself the dirty dishes and bought store-made frosting instead. I also bought TWO containers. There's nothing worse than cutting into a cake and seeing a dental floss-thick ribbon of icing in the middle.)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease two 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Stir the flour with the baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and ginger into a bowl. Stir the ketchup, water and colouring in a separate bowl. Set aside.
Beat the butter and blend in the sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the eggs. Add the flour mixture and ketchup mixture. Beat on low, scraping down the bowl as needed, until combined. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 1 minute. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 30 minutes or until the centre springs back when touched lightly. Cool the cakes for 15 minutes before turning onto a rack to cool completely.
UPDATE: While I thought the cake was good, a number of my taste testers thought it was GREAT. Hmm. I think I might have to do a Tomato Soup Cake vs. The Great Canadian Heinz Ketchup Cake Taste-Off. Stay tuned....