Winning Recipe: Spice It Up

It was a give-back bake-off, as locals entered their signature dessert recipes in the fourth annual Garner: It’s a Sweet Place to Be Dessert Challenge.

The challenge was part of Cooks for Books, a fundraiser to benefit the literacy enrichment efforts of the Garner Educational Foundation.

And in the end, the winner was a “mystery.”

Mystery Spice Cake, submitted by Katie Jefferson Waters, earned first-place honors among the dessert judges, who overlooked its name to discover a taste they couldn’t resist.

Here’s the recipe — you’ll love it too!

Mystery Spice Cake

By Katie Jefferson Waters

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cans (10 3/4 ounces each) condensed tomato soup

1 stick of butter, melted

¼ cup water

2 eggs; beat well and add to water


1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped pecans

2 cups finely chopped fresh apple, about 2 medium

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line with wax paper two 9-inch cake pans or a 13×9-inch baking pan, or line 24 muffin cups with liners.

Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the soup, melted butter, eggs and water. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed just until blended. Increase the speed to high and beat for 2 minutes.

Fold in optional ingredients. Pour the batter into cake pans.

Bake layers or muffins for 20 minutes or until the center is slightly soft to touch. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

Frost with the Cream Cheese Frosting, or serve unfrosted as breakfast muffins.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

8 ounces Cool Whip

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup confectioners’ sugar

Optional: 1 cup chopped, toasted and slightly salted pecans

Beat cream cheese, Cool Whip and vanilla extract in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until the mixture is creamy. Slowly beat in confectioners’ sugar until the frosting is creamy.

After frosting the cake, coat the sides of the cake with the chopped pecans.

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