Yes, you read that title correctly. For this week's Baked Sunday Mornings assignment, we were to make the Tomato Soup Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting. As bizarre as this cupake may sound, I actually have heard about these before reading the Baked book. I can't say that I ever thought I'd be baking them, though! Lucky for me, then, that this cupcake came up in the rotation for the group.
I've gotten used to setting aside huge chunks of time to make the Baked recipes, and I'm fine with that. However, if you're looking for a nice, easy recipe that is still just as elegant as the other offerings in this book, I definitely recommend that you give these a try. I was able to throw this whole thing together, including frosting the cupcakes, within my two year-old's naptime! I can't beat that!
So, what's up with the whole tomato soup thing, anyway? Where did this originate? Who ever thought to put a can of tomato soup in their cake batter, and then feed it to their loved ones? I really don't know, but they must have been on to something. This is one of those oldey-timey cake recipes that has been passed down for years, and I'm sure a lot of people hold this cake near and dear to their hearts. It is basically a spice cake, almost reminiscent of a carrot cake, without the carrot. The "secret" ingredient (not so secret if you know the title of the recipe, though!) dyes the batter a pale, pretty orange hue that still does not betray its identity. I mean, who would ever guess that the cake is orange because it contains some Campbell's?
As I said before, the cake itself came together in no time flat, and baked up beautifully. I loved the nice, domey tops on these! Next comes the frosting, which was a Mascarpone/Butter combo. I've made many a cream cheese frosting, but this was my inaugural batch of mascarpone frosting. While I've heard mascarpone described as a "fancy cream cheese," I actually think it's kind of its own thing. It's good, don't get me wrong. It just was not what I had expected. The frosting, to me, tasted very sweet, almost like a buttercream. Again, that's fine, but I supposed I was in for a tangy, tart/sweet topping to my cake and instead it tasted just sweet. Also, I think that maybe I just whipped this up wrong, because I accidentally threw the butter and mascarpone in the mixer at the same time. Only after this did I read in the book that the butter was supposed to be mixed first, all by its lonesome. Oops. My frosting, as a result of this (perhaps?) seemed a bit thin or something. It was not at all fluffy, but it spread just fine.
I'm glad I tried these, but I can't make any promises that I would bake them again. If I wanted a spice cake, I would probably just make a regular spice cake, sans soup. As for the frosting, if I absolutely had to make the cupcakes again, I would sub in just a cream cheese frosting for the mascarpone. Later this week, I'll be making Martha Stewart's Tiramisu Cupcakes, and they call for a mascarpone frosting as well! The preparation and ingredients differ from this one, so we'll see if I like that one better. Check out how the other members of Baked Sunday Mornings felt about this recipe by clicking on the link here.