I turned 36 today and wanted to celebrate by baking something quirky.

When I was much, much younger, the ads for All Gold Tomato Sauce claimed there were 36 tomatoes crammed into each bottle of their sauces. I don’t know how true that is for their current product but I was going for a more nostalgic hat-tip. June 17th is also apparently Eat Your Veggies day and I thought it would be fun to include that in my cake somehow. Now I know tomato is a fruit and not a vegetable but it’s pretty close to it in the mindset of most people.

In my box of recipe clippings from old magazines, there’s a recipe for cake made with tomato soup. It promised that the taste of tomato was indiscernible and that what emerged from the oven would be a rich and spicy chocolate cake. I looked online for a recipe that used ketchup instead of tomato soup (I was really committed to my All Gold 36) and I found one that used Heinz Ketchup. I didn’t care much for how many tomatoes went into a bottle of Heinz, it was just the direction I needed to make this cake happen.

I adjusted the Heinz recipe to include cocoa powder and coffee for a chocolate cake and it worked perfectly.

My husband and friends couldn’t guess what the secret ingredient was. There was not a single hint of tomato, only rich and spicy chocolate ones as promised.

Tomato Sauce Chocolate Cake

Serves 12

  • 300g flour
  • 150g cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground coffee
  • 125ml All Gold Tomato Sauce
  • 125ml water
  • 2 tablespoons prepared coffee
  • 175g Stork Bake, softened
  • 350g dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Grease two 23 cm round cake tins and line the bottoms with baking parchment.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients into a bowl.
  4. Stir the tomato sauce, water and coffee together in a separate bowl. Set aside.
  5. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until smooth.
  6. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  7. Add the flour mixture and tomato sauce mixture.
  8. Beat slowly, scraping down the bowl as needed, until the mixture is combined.
  9. Beat at high speed for 1 minute.
  10. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake tins.
  11. Bake for 25 minutes or until the centre springs back when touched lightly.
  12. Cool the cakes for 15 minutes before turning onto a rack to cool completely.
  13. I cut out rounds of cake to make these mini stacks.
  14. Frost with chocolate ganache or as desired.