Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Canadian Ketchup Cake

Ketchup has long been a source of some debate in our household.

Not in the 'won't allow it to darken my door' type of debate - I gave up on that ages ago - when I realised that Blue would eat salmon fish cakes aged 18 months if they were liberally smothered in the stuff...

There's the ongoing red vs brown saga that rumbles on every time bacon appears - the boys prefer brown, Pink, red, and I sit on the fence.

Since we've moved to Wales there's been a more specific issue too. Pink declared that her favourite type of ketchup comes from a specific supermarket - the one that likes to help you live well for less. This store's own brand is apparently infinitely superior to Heinz's version. I have no problem with this, except there is no Sainsburys anywhere near us, so the Husband has had to divert on at least one of his business trips to include Bridgend. Large bottle procured she then announced that she didn't actually mind what type of ketchup she had. Grrr.

When I was researching possible cakes to take along to yesterday's Clandestone Cake Club meeting, I sparked even more ketchup controversy in the house. The theme was Commonwealth Cakes - in anticipation of the Commonwealth Games - and while I was tempted by various Carribean delights (one in particular involving the creation of pineapple marmalade, another involving significant amounts of condensed milk) I couldn't resist the lure of a Canadian cake, created to mark the 100th anniversary of Heinz in Canada, including - you've guessed it - Ketchup.

"Please don't" implored the Husband.

I did.

Canadian Ketchup Cake

250 g  self raising flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
 0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
 1 tsp cinnamon
0.5 tsp ground nutmeg 
good pinch of ground ginger
120 ml Heinz Tomato Ketchup (I did use Heinz - I find it much thicker and psychologically was more prepared to put Heinz in a cake than Pink's preferred)
125 ml water
10 g red food colouring*
170 g unsalted butter, softened
300 g packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs  


170g cream cheese at room temperature 
170 g butter, at room temperature
1tsp vanilla extract
500g icing sugar 
 To make the cake, first, grease and line the base of 2 23cm spring form cake tins and pre-heat the oven to 180C

Sift together flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and the ground spices into a bowl.

Mix together the ketchup, water and food colouring*

Beat together the butter and sugar till soft and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each is well combined.

Stir in the flour and then the liquid ketchup mixture, then beat gently to combine, then increase the speed and beat vigrously for a minute or so (at times like these, I am so pleased I have a Kenwood).

Divide the mixture between the prepared tins, smooth gently, then bake for around 30 minutes till a skewer comes out clean. 

Leave to cool completely.

Make the frosting by beating together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth and completely combined, then sift in the icing sugar (you may want to do this a bit at a time), and keep beating till fluffy, then fill and cover the cake with the frosting. 

It was quite warm when I made this, so I popped it in the fridge to settle down for a couple of hours.

So - does it taste like ketchup? Most emphatically no - and not in the least tomatoey either. Instead, it's a bit like a carrot cake - the spices obviously add those flavours, the frosting, and also the texture - it's just a moist cake - and pretty tasty.

I was pleased to report back to the Husband that the cake had gone down very well with my fellow cake clubbers. "That's excellent news" he replied, in a voice that suggested that neither hell nor high water would entice him to try it. 

Some you win.

In case you were wondering, at the same time, for the Husband, I made a much more conventional maple syrup & walnut cake that I found on another blog. It is delicious, and I commend it to you with the brown sugar maple frosting suggested in the footnotes to that blog post. But you should try the ketchup cake too, at least once!

* The original recipe suggested 30 ml of red food colouring. In the same way that I have never made a red velvet cake because all that colouring just can't be right, I couldn't face putting so much in this cake. It's not as red as it might have been, but I think red enough. Plus. I hadn't clocked how much I needed before I did the shopping and didn't buy enough...


  1. I saw a link to this cake on Pinterest the other day, and admittedly, I screwed my face up.. But you have tempted me to try this.

  2. Do it, do it, do it... I don't think I'd go so far as putting HP in a cake though

  3. Marvellous!
    I just have to try it one day, thanks for the idea!

  4. Wow, what a different recipe! It was my sister's birthday yesterday, she has been the biggest ketchup addict since we were tiny, I must send her this recipe! She can make her own belated birthday cake! :D

  5. You can be quite scary when you want to, I think. I love the idea of baking this cake but I think I'd have to lie about the ingredients to get anyone I know to eat it.

  6. Ooh, I'm fascinated....but given how courgette cake proved a tough sell I think I'll let the dust settle on that before I start raiding the condiments cupboard!


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