Friday, September 2, 2011

Grandma's Tomato Juice Spice Cake

There is nothing like aroma to transport you to another time and place. A few weeks ago, I volunteered to make desert for a get-together with friends and family. But what could I make for a group of 22, including thirteen adults, one nine-year-old girl, and eight boys aged two to eight?! 

Two desserts were obviously needed: chocolate cookies and Grandma's Tomato Juice Spice Cake.

The cookies were made first and were a raging success - the boys thought we should just eat them and take only the cake for dessert that night. I decided lunch was a better idea, and fed them something healthy on top of the chocolate cookie they had each just consumed.

Then, the cake batter was made to my Grandmother's instructions and went into the oven. Upon taking it out of the oven, I was transported back to my Grandmother's little apartment and her tiny galley kitchen.

Grandma and my Mother at my wedding

She told me of the origins of this recipe from the war time (WW2). They were rationing milk, so a cake recipe was created that did not require milk or other "fancy" ingredients, but could (in a pinch) be made with a can of condensed tomato soup and other ingredients every house-wife was sure to have on hand.

RECIPE: Grandma's Tomato Juice Spice Cake


2 cups flour
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup butter
1 cup tomato juice
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 cup currants, nuts, or raisins


> mix flour, sugar, and butter to fine crumbs; remove 1 cup for the toping (set aside)
> put soda and spices into tomato juice and add remaining crumbs to mix
> beat the egg well and add alone with the fruit and/or nuts
> turn into a greased pan and spread crumbs on top and pat down
> bake at 350ºF (175ºC) for 30-40 minutes and check with a toothpick

Grandma and my Father at my wedding

I am not entirely sure how my Grandmother would feel about me sharing her recipe. I think she would be happy to know that her spice cake is still being made, eaten, and thoroughly enjoyed. 

She was an incredible lady and I miss her.


  1. It was an amazing cake!! Thank you for sharing it with us at the get together, and now here so we can bake it for our families. Here is to your grandmother and other grandmothers missed so very much!

  2. Alyssa - thank you! I was glad to share it with you and I can hardly wait to make it again!!