Monday, February 21, 2011

Ketchup for Dessert?

Woot woot, long weekend Monday!  Louis Riel long weekend is a relatively new holiday here on the prairies.  Most provinces call this long weekend Monday 'Family day'.  Basically to break up the mundaneness of a long cold winter, the government decided that a long weekend in February would be prudent....personally I would long weekends during cabin season but I will take what I can get!  Louis Riel is considered to be the 'father of Mantioba' and a hero to the Metis people.  I really am not going to give you a long history lesson here but if you would like to read up on it, here are some links:

Mysteries of Canada

Historica Minutes

To make a long story short, Louis Riel led a couple of rebellions, was elected to the Canadian House of Commons while still a fugitive, was tried for high treason, and hung.  There is so much more but this is a food blog, not a history blog and I want to get on with the cake!

I saw the idea for this one on the back of the ketchup bottle.  It directed me to the website for the full recipe and lets just say I was intrigued.  I really had no idea what to think about this one but I knew that I had to make it, just to see if it really worked or if the Heinz company has completely lost it.  The name also threw me for a loop as if it truly is 'The Great Canadian', then why haven't I heard of this one before?  What better way to celebrate a Canadian icon than bake some 'Canadian' cupcakes??

Without further discussion, I bring to you:

The Great Canadian Ketchup Cake (well, cupcakes)
from: Heinz
  •  2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp round ginger
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp red food colouring
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
Pre heat the oven to 350 F.

In a bowl, measure out and stir together the dry ingredients:  the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and the spices.

In another bowl or measuring cup, measure out the water, the ketchup, and the food colouring.

In the bowl of he stand mixer (or a bowl with a hand mixer) cream the butter until fluffy.

Add the brown sugar and continue to beat.

Add the eggs and beat well.

Add the water/ketchup/food colouring mixture and keep beating.

Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

Mix well until everything is well incorporated and the batter is smooth.

Check out that colour!!!

Scoop into lined cupcake pans.

Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the tops spring back when touched.

I do admit to some skepticism on this one...but once the cakes were out of the oven and cooled a bit, I just had to break into one and get the boys to taste it for me (of course I had some too!)

The consensus was that is was really good. I mean down right tasty! These little red cakes taste like a spice cake.  The Boy said it tasted like a pumpkin spice cupcake but without the pumpkin!

Now it is time to talk icing!!  The original recipe calls for a cream cheese icing, which always goes well with a spice cake such as this one but I have been itching to try my hand at some Swiss meringue butter cream so I decided to use that!

I went with the vanilla Swiss meringue butter cream from Annie's Eats as it made a decent amount, but not too much.
Printable recipe
You will need:
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 lb butter, room temp. and cut into 2 tbsp portions
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • a double boiler
  • a candy thermometer
  • whisk
Set a pot of water to simmer.  Make sure you have a heat proof bowl that fits over this pot, but not in the water.

Place the sugar and the egg white in the heat proof bowl. I just used the bowl from my stand mixer.

Place the bowl over the simmering water and whisk pretty much constantly.  Use the thermometer to measure the heat.  You only want to heat the  mixture to 160F.  Make sure the sugar has dissolved.

Transfer the mixture to the stand mixer and whisk on med for about 8 to 10 minutes until the whites are are stiff and the mixture has cooled.  You can test the temp. at this point by placing the inside of your wrist on the bottom of the bowl.  The mixture should be room temperature at this point.

Add the butter, one cube at a time, making sure the previous addition has been fully incorporated before adding the next cube.

Sometimes the mixture will look like it is curdling or will turn kind of soupy.  Keep beating.  It just may pull together after all.  If it separates, it may take 5 minutes to come back together.

Add the vanilla (or other flavourings) along with any colouring gel, if wanted and mix to combine.

This is a very silky, smooth icing with a not too sweet taste.

This batch turned out very nicely but alas, I feel the cream cheese icing would have been a better choice here. You can find a great recipe for cream cheese icing here.

Either way, they were pretty darn tasty!!

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!


  1. Looks great, LM! This cake was a big hit when I made it for a neighbour last year. They could not believe it actually had ketchup. Then again, many old fashioned recipes called for mayo back in the day. Helps make a moist cake. :) I have to try the SMB again. *sigh* hahaha

  2. Yeah, mayo cakes. That's right. Great post. Fun formula. Love the red cake look.

  3. These cupcakes sounds interesting! Love the color, thank you for sharing :)


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