One Bowl Surprise Cake

You’ll never guess what the surprise ingredient is that makes this One Bowl Surprise Cake so moist & delicious. And when you taste this spice cake topped with a crunchy toasted coconut topping, you just might want to skip dinner and go right to dessert. Just sayin’!

One Bowl Cake on white platter garnished with red and white flowers.

This recipe today has got to be at least 40 years old as I can remember writing it out when I was a young teen. In fact, it’s still on an old index card that I keep in my recipe box. I know, I know, yes I still have one of those!

Old Recipe Cards | 2 Cookin Mamas

I just can’t make myself get rid of them even though most of my recipes now reside on my computer. But I love looking back at all the old recipes especially the ones that my Mom had handwritten for me. It always makes me smile when I think of my beautiful, sweet Mom and how she loved to bake anything & everything.

Cake on platter with slice removed.

One of these days I am going to have to work my way through all the recipe cards and share them here. There are some delicious recipes that you just don’t see any more. And I just love easy recipes that don’t dirty up half the kitchen bowls and utensils. This one uses just one bowl and the baking dish. Now how great is that?!

The first time I made this cake, I remember thinking, this is going to turn out awful! Especially with a can of the surprise ingredient in it. Did you peak at the next pictures? OK, then you know – that surprise ingredient is a can of tomato soup! Who knew that this pantry staple could make such a moist and delicious spice cake! 

How to make

Prep shots for making one bowl cake.

  1. Start by placing melted butter into the baking dish. If you are using glass you can just place the baking dish in your microwave for 30 seconds. Sprinkle brown sugar on top in an even layer.
  2. Then add coconut to cover sugar. 
  3. Next place dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add that surprise ingredient – one can of tomato soup. Beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes.
  5. Add eggs, and continue beating for 2 more minutes.
  6. Pour on top of coconut in an even layer.

Cake ready to bake and baked.

  1. Even the top out and bake.
  2. Once baked, let cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Baked and inverted onto platter.

  1. Invert partially cooled cake onto platter and leave pan on top of cake for several minutes then remove. 

One Bowl Surprise Cake slice 2 | 2 Cookin Mamas

When the cake has cooled, sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and add flowers as a garnish. Serve warm or room temperature, if you can wait that long. 

One Bowl Surprise Cake bite 2 | 2 Cookin Mamas

This easy one bowl Surprise Cake is super moist with a spice-cake like flavor. It doesn’t have to be dolled up with any frosting but if you prefer something a little sweeter a cream cheese frosting would go perfectly. It makes a quick go-to dessert or afternoon snack and you might even be tempted to have a slice for breakfast (now I can’t imagine why I thought of that!). Enjoy!

More quick & easy desserts

Fruit Cocktail Cake – A sweet cake with yep, you guessed it, fruit cocktail in it, with a crunchy topping of pecans and coconut that takes only 10 minutes to whip up.

Louisiana Stranger Cake – Weird name but easy, delicious cake. Just a boxed cake mix, frosting, 3 other ingredients & bake. 

Milky Way Bundt Cake – is like a candy bar in cake form! A deliciously moist, buttery cake with swirls of caramel and milky way candy bars then covered with a chocolate glaze.

There’s more! Find the best easy cake recipes right here on 2CM!

Love quick & easy recipes? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter for all the latest recipe inspiration! Plus join my email list here and receive a free e-book.


One Bowl Surprise Cake

This easy one bowl surprise cake is a moist & delicious spice cake with a crunchy toasted coconut topping. You'll never guess the surprise ingredient.
Print Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 9 servings
Calories: 540kcal
Author: Linda Warren


Toasted Coconut Topping

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 4 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 cups flaked coconut


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup
  • 2 eggs


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Melted butter and pour into bottom of an 8x8-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with brown sugar then top with coconut.
  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except eggs. Beat with mixer for 2 minutes.
  • Add eggs to batter and continue beating for another 2 minutes.
  • Pour over top of coconut topping.
  • Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Let stand on wire rack for 5 minutes then invert onto serving plate. Leave baking dish in place for a few minutes.
  • Lift off baking dish and allow to cool (or eat it warm if you can't wait!). Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar prior to serving.


Calories: 540kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 115mg | Potassium: 288mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 368IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 2mg

This post has been updated and was first published on April 12, 2017.

One Bowl Surprise Cake

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.