Savory Tomato Soup Snacking Cake

Savory Tomato Soup Snacking Cake

What if you could experience the warmth of rich, creamy tomato soup combined with gooey grilled cheese all at once? What if it was in the form of an airy cake? Seems mind-blowing, right? That’s the sensation I hoped for (and nailed!) when developing this savory cake. I love making desserts with a savory spin because it’s an excuse to enjoy our favorite treats all day long. Plus, I like the challenge of turning something familiar on its head.

What Makes This Savory Cake Work?

To maintain the key aspects of cake–moist, tender, fluffy, and springs back when touched–I added more moisture and fat than I might typically. Much like buttermilk, the sour cream and condensed tomato soup help tenderize while adding a slight tang. I used a touch of brown sugar to add a caramel-y depth of flavor along with more moisture. The combination of olive oil, spices, and herbs is similar to what you might find in your favorite bowl of soup. Lastly, the caramelized onion and cheese finish reminds me of a sultry French onion soup topping while giving a nod to tomato soup’s sidekick: the grilled cheese.

So, is this just a quick bread?

I call it cake, so it is in fact a cake. But, what’s the difference? The main difference between bread and cake comes down to the ingredients. Bread uses yeast as the primary leavening agent, while cake uses baking soda and baking powder. Quick breads like banana bread or pumpkin loaf are similar to cake (some even say they are cake), but tend to have a tighter crumb. A higher sugar ratio in cake not only makes it the sweeter option, but it provides moisture and creates a tender, soft slice.

There are many ways to make this snacking cake your own from ingredient swaps to how you serve it. Make this as an on-the-go nosh or serve it as a side at your next potluck.

Tips for Making Tomato Soup Snacking Cake

  • Wilt the onions—Take your time when caramelizing the onions. One trick to encourage the onions to wilt down is to cover the pan for the first 10 minutes of cooking. This allows them to lose volume without browning. Then you can remove the lid and proceed to cook them until deeply browned and meltingly tender.
  • Soften the sun dried tomatoes—Oil-packed sun dried tomatoes or plain sun dried tomatoes are both good options for this recipe. Make sure to drain oil-packed tomatoes well. If using plain sun dried tomatoes, make sure they're pleasantly soft. If they're on the chewy side, place them in a bowl, pour boiling water over them, and let them sit for a few minutes. Then drain them and pat them dry before using.

The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

“The savory tomato soup snack cake was moist, fluffy, and delicious. The cheese, caramelized onion, and sun-dried tomato topping gave the cake a nuanced flavor with natural sweetness and texture. I enjoyed the heat the red pepper flakes provided, but you could easily reduce the amount for a milder flavor.” —Diana Rattray

A square of snacking cake on a plate in front of the baking pan with the remaining cake in it A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 cup caramelized onions (from 3 to 4 large onions)

  • 1 cup drained oil-packed or reconstituted sun dried tomatoes, divided

  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded parmesan cheese

  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

  • 2 2/3 cups (319 grams) all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons celery salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 (10-ounce) can condensed tomato soup

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1 cup sour cream

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat oven to 350 F with a rack in the center of the oven. Grease a 9-x 13-inch baking pan.

    ingredients for tomato soup snacking cake

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  2. Combine the caramelized onions and 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl. Combine the Parmesan and Cheddar in a separate bowl.

    caramelized onions and other ingredients combined in bowl with cheese in separate bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, pepper, celery salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl.

    dry ingredients for tomato soup snacking cake in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  4. Whisk together the eggs, tomato soup, olive oil, and sour cream in a separate medium bowl until thoroughly combined and smooth.

    wet ingredients for tomato soup snacking cake whisked together in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the tomato soup-egg mixture along with the remaining 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes. Stir together only until just combined and no traces of flour remain.

    wet and dry ingredients for tomato soup snacking cake in a bowl with spatula

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  6. Pour the batter into the greased baking pan, spreading into an even layer. Sprinkle the onion-tomato mixture evenly across the top.

    batter for tomato soup snacking cake in prepared pan with sundried tomatoes and caramelized onions on top

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  7. Sprinkle the cheese mixture all across the top.

    cheese mixture sprinkled on top of tomato soup snacking cake before baking

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  8. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cheese is melted, 25 to 30 minutes. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then slice and serve warm with a dollop of sour cream, drizzle of pesto, or spicy tomato jam if desired.

    baked tomato soup snacking cake with cheesy topping

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

How To Store

  • ROOM TEMP: The sooner you consume this snacking cake, the better. However, it will keep, covered, at room temperature for 3 to 5 days.
  • FREEZING: The cake will freeze well wrapped (try it in individual portions), placed in a zip-top freezer bag, for up to 6 months. Defrost at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Gently rewarm in the microwave or oven.

Feeling Adventurous? Try This:

Pan Conversion

  • This cake can easily be converted to different size pans. If you want to make them in individual portions, this recipe will make 48 savory “muffins.” Be mindful of the baking times.

Swap-Out Ideas

  • For a denser crumb, you can use melted unsalted butter instead of olive oil.
  • Swap any of the spices and dried herbs for whatever you have on hand.
  • Try stirring Calabrian chili paste into the batter for a kick of heat.
  • Feel free to leave off the caramelized onion topping or swap it for pesto before baking.
  • Just like how you can use a variety of cheeses for your favorite sando, try swapping the Parmesan and cheddar for options like fontina, gouda, feta, and more.


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