Food and Culture

From Beer To Tomato Soup, Unusual Ingredients That Make For Delicious Cakes

solar_calendar-linear Apr 16, 2024 3:00:00 PM

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Cakes come in all flavors and forms. So why not try these delicious cakes made with surprising and unusual flavors?

From Beer To Tomato Soup, Unusual Ingredients That Make For Delicious Cakes

Cakes come in many shapes and sizes and a variety of tastes. There’s the classics, like chocolate and vanilla, and the refreshing ones like strawberry and orange. Then there’s the fruit cakes like pineapple and apricot, nut cakes like almond and walnut, and novelty cakes like red velvet and hazelnut. There’s also cakes with ganaches, frostings, icing and other toppings that add another layer of flavor to them. But among all these delicious cakes is also a lesser discussed category—that of cakes that are as delicious as the rest but made with surprising and unusual ingredients. One example is carrots. While carrot cake is popular, the idea of putting carrot in cakes certainly sounds confusing. But it works, doesn't it? All these cakes are like that. They sound odd or even wrong at first, but we can assure you, they taste delicious. Here’s our roundup of a few of these cakes and their recipes.

Beer Cake


Any alcohol adds a moistness and softness to a cake. Beer in particular also adds a tinge of its taste and makes it refreshing and nuanced in flavor.


  • 1 ¼ cups butter, room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups brown sugar
  • Three eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups stout beer
  • ⅓ cup molasses
  • 1 ⅔ cup flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Six oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Tahini Cake


Made with sesame seeds, tahini is an interesting dip or spread. It's creamy, moist and has a strong flavor note. Adding it to a cake sounds weird but it works surprisingly well.


  • 100g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for the tin
  • 250 gm light brown soft sugar
  • 85 gm tahini
  • Two large eggs, lightly beaten
  • One tsp vanilla extract
  • 275 gm plain flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 60 ml milk
  • 2-3 small, very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds

For the buttercream topping:

  • 115 gm unsalted butter, softened
  • 125 gm icing sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2½ tbsp tahini
  • 3 tbsp chocolate chips

Chilli Cake


Chilli, with its heat and spice, pairs surprisingly well with a rich and deep dark chocolate. The sweet and bitter flavor notes of the dark chocolate and the spice of the chillies lead to a masterful combination of flavors.


For the sponge:

  • 175 gm wholemeal self raising flour
  • 175 gm soft light brown sugar
  • 175 gm soft unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 heaped tbsp of cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 red chili pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes

For the filling and frosting:

  • 250 gm dark chocolate
  • 250 ml double cream
  • 1 heaped tbsp butter
  • 1 red chili pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp hot chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp of dried chili flakes

Olive oil cake


For a healthy alternative, use olive oil instead of butter in your cake. It will be moist, refreshing and delicious.


  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon

Tomato soup cake


The savory flavor and salt of the soup combine with the sweetness of the cake, making it moist and delectable. The soup makes the cake spongy and delicious and gives it surprising flavor notes that ultimately work well together.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup golden raisins

For the frosting:

  • 1 pack cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt

Basil Cake


Fresh and refreshing, basil is a favorite flavor note to add to savory dishes like pastas and toast. But it also sits surprisingly well with ingredients like flour and butter as part of a cake. Try it before you toss it.


  • 200 gm white granulated sugar
  • 5 gm lemon zest
  • 190 gm full fat Greek yogurt
  • 15 gm lemon juice
  • 90 gm olive oil
  • 100 gm eggs
  • 210 gm all-purpose flour
  • 8 gm baking powder
  • 2 gm salt
  • 3 gm basil leaves, finely chopped

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