Ona Vitkus’ Tomato Soup Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ona Vitkus’ Tomato Soup Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

wood_one in a million boy_hres

wood-monica_hresHello, readers. If you’re reading The One-in-a-Million Boy for your book club, here is a cupcake version of my main character Ona’s tomato soup cake.

I know, they sound awful. But don’t leave before trying one! My publisher also puts out cookbooks, so the recipe went through their test kitchen. I got the idea for tomato soup cake from one of the older ladies in my childhood neighborhood. She, like Ona, learned to get creative when the kitchen larder got bare. I won’t be baking these myself, by the way; ever since the Spice Cake Incident of 1985, my husband has been baking his own birthday cakes.

Author Monica Wood’s website

Ona Vitkus’ Tomato Soup Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes

Author Monica Wood pairs a vintage recipe, Ona Vitkus’ Tomato Soup Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting with her novel, THE ONE-IN-A-MILLION BOY. The tomato soup adds moistness and flavor to these spicy cakes.


For the cupcakes:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/3 cups sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 10 3/4-ounce can condensed tomato soup, such as Campbell's

1/2 cup shortening (or butter), at room temperature

2 large eggs

1/4 cup water

1 cup raisins

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

½ cup butter, at room temperature

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

Pinch of cinnamon


To make the cupcakes: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 muffin cups with baking cup liners, or grease and flour two cupcake pans, shaking out any excess flour.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the dry ingredients. Add the soup, shortening, eggs, and water and beat until batter is smooth (and pink!). Fold in raisins.

Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until skewer or fork inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean, 15-20 minutes. Let cupcakes cool completely before topping with Cream Cheese Frosting.

To make the Cream Cheese Frosting: Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy.

Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until the frosting is smooth with no dry traces of sugar. Add cinnamon and beat until incorporated.


The cupcake and frosting recipes are adapted from Food52.

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