Day 301: Tomato Apple Cake


We have a new contender in the Battle of the Birthdays. (Or at least a newest member of our Scorpio party.) My brand-spanking new nephew, Charlie, was born just a few hours ago. So that covers October 24th, 25th, 27th and 30th in our immediate family. (Or semi-immediate, I suppose. And I’m thinking since the rest of us are a good few decades or so older, he won’t have to share a party or anything.)

So that sort of trumps my now very lame sounding heart attack of a day, but I wasn’t really going to bore you with that stuff anymore anyway. It does give the cake I made today a little more meaning, and makes more sense for me to post it. I realize this week has been a little cake-heavy with the birthdays and all, but I had to test this for the new edition of Grazing and now, with a brand-new person in the world, it seems a little bit more celebratory. What else could I make on a birth day? Although even though it was invented on his actual birthday, I’m sure Charlie would be less than thrilled to be served a Tomato-Apple Cake once he’s old enough to appreciate what cake is.

Typing this, I can see now that it might be a harder sell on the general public than I first anticipated as well. Perhaps I should change the name to Apple Spice Cake or some such. It’s loosely based on a traditional Jewish apple cake, but made with a can of tomato paste, which makes it moist, sweet and dense in the same sort of way pumpkin puree might. After all, tomatoes are fruit. Ever hear of tomato soup cake? Tomato Apple Cake sounds much better, I think.

Our actual dinner was at Mike’s Mom’s, who didn’t get a birthday turn with us over the weekend. We raced over there after I got back from making 100 or so samples of crème brulee, crème caramel and panna cotta (I still have 3 pumpkin flans to make plus blood & guts cupcakes for CBC in less than 8 hours) for a class I’m teaching tomorrow night. It was very basic Chinese food – chicken balls, ginger beef, fried rice and beef with mixed vegetables. (Mike’s sister picked it up from Safeway – she made sure she went early in the day so that she could get it when it was “freshly made”, and then took it home and kept it in the fridge all day to reheat at dinnertime – in their plastic containers – so that it would be very fresh. I didn’t think a photo was required.)


Tomato Apple Cake

Recipe link


October 27, 2008


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp. ground flax seed (optional)

1 Tbsp. baking powder

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

4 tart apples, unpeeled and cut into large (1/2”-1”) chunks

1 Tbsp. lemon juice (or enough to keep them from turning brown)

3 large eggs

1/2 cup canola or olive oil

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 5.5 oz. (156 mL) can tomato paste

empty tomato paste can full of orange juice or water (about half a cup)

2 tsp. vanilla

1/2-1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


1Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a Bundt or tube pan well with nonstick spray.


3In a large bowl, stir together the flours, flax seed, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, toss the apple chunks with lemon juice, about 1/4 cup of the sugar and a bit of cinnamon; set aside.


5In a third bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, brown sugar, sugar, tomato paste, orange juice and vanilla until smooth. Add to the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.


7Pour a third of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Scatter with a third of the apples (and half the nuts, if you’re using them), then repeat with another layer of batter and apples and nuts, and a final layer of batter, then apples. (Nuts are best kept inside the cake to keep them from burning.) Pour any juices that accumulated in the bottom of the apple bowl overtop.


9Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Cool the cake in the pan to lukewarm before inverting it onto a wire rack or plate.


11Makes 1 cake; serves 24.


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14 comments on “Day 301: Tomato Apple Cake

  1. Lisa
    October 28, 2008 at 6:26 am

    Can you sister send her labour vibes my way? 😉 You just might have to take tomato out of the name. It a bit unsettling…. 😉 Waiting with bated breath to hear you this morning on the Eyeopener!

  2. Anonymous
    October 28, 2008 at 6:45 am

    Another vote to remove tomato from the title. Dense, rich, robust… anything but tomato!!

  3. robyn
    October 28, 2008 at 8:08 am

    Oh dear! I’m glad you clarified that it’s tomato paste. I was picturing chunks of tomato in the cake! Sounds tasty though.

    Congrats on the new nephew!

  4. Colleen
    October 28, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Looks good – I actually don’t mind the mention of tomatoes, but my kids sure would! It’ll be our little secret. Congratulations to your family for it’s newest member!

  5. Theresa
    October 28, 2008 at 8:47 am

    How did I end up anonymous? Forgot to congratulate you on the latest little Scorpio!

  6. Sheila
    October 28, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    Tomato Soup Cake was our family favorite! As a teenager, I think my brother made it every week… and it was happily devoured by all 8 of us family members!
    John’s Tomato Soup Cake
    ½ cup butter
    ½ tsp cinnamon
    1 cup sugar
    ½ tsp cloves
    1 egg
    ½ tsp nutmeg
    1 cup raisins
    1 tsp baking soda dissolved in
    1/3 cup hot water
    1½ cups flour
    1 can tomato soup
    ½ cup walnuts (opt)
    • Mix all together
    • Place in an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan
    • Bake 350 for one hour
    • Cool & top with cream cheese icing

  7. maplesugar
    October 28, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Congratulations on becoming an Aunt once again!

    Add my vote to the list to rename the cake leaving tomato out…whaddabout “Apple Surprise”?? I’m still mulling over the logic of “fresh” from the fridge chinese food… I’ve had a craving for Chinese all week – if you’re ever in the Hills Imperial Dynasty does really good North American Chinese, and dinner for two feeds 4 :)

  8. cellogeek
    October 28, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Oh no! Leave the “Tomato” in there…even better…Tomato soup!. With out that to peak one’s interest, the name implies just another Autumn apple cake. Tomato soup? Tomato-apple? Now you have my attention.

  9. Natalie
    October 29, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    I just made the cake – very good. Yes, more like a coffee cake than a birthday/dessert cake. I don’t mind the tomato in the title because I am always looking for ways to sneak nutrition into my 4 year old. However, you could play with the words a little: Apple Red Cake, Red Apple Cake (red for tomato), Harvest Apple Cake… I don’t know… I think I would just stick with the Apple Tomato …but maybe classify more as a breakfast cake?, coffee cake?……..

  10. Lana
    October 29, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Congratulations Aunt Julie!
    Talk soon..

  11. Nancy Gibson
    October 29, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Neat to see this recipe– my mom made something similar when we were kids only at the time, I don’t think we knew it had tomato soup in it! I will definitely give it a try and see if my own kids can guess the secret ingredient!
    Did you say you are coming out with a new edition of Grazing?! I would love to know when it is available –I have made many of the recipes from the first edition and they never disappoint –it is definitely my go to cookbook!

  12. Vivian
    October 28, 2009 at 11:39 am

    I am so looking for ways to use up mounds of ripened garden tomatoes, I would welcome a cake that DID use chunks of fresh tomatoes (perhaps a savory one). There’s got to be something out there that could accommodate this harvest…after the pizza sauce, salsa and BLTs. Fewer plants next year, for sure!

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