This Thunder Cake Recipe Will Get Tummies Rumbling

Thunder and lightning storms can be scary for little kids. But all that booming just might inspire some serious baking. At least, that’s what happens in Patricia Polacco’s book, Thunder Cake. In the story, a grandmother and granddaughter get to baking a delicious cake in time for the storm’s arrival. And if the idea of a super chocolatey cake sounds good right about. Now, this Thunder Cake recipe can be a delicious dessert.

As the storm draws closer and closer, the girl’s Babushka encourages her to gather the ingredients for the cake from around their farm. Eggs from old Nellie Peck Hen? Check. Milk from old Kick Cow? Check. The Thunder Cake recipe includes all the ingredients you’d expect from a classic cake, like chocolate, sugar, and flour. But there’s an ingredient in Thunder Cake that can be quite questionable and it’s … three overripe tomatoes.

When you tell your child that the chocolate cake that they have been looking forward to eating actually contains tomatoes, you’re going to get disgusted looks. (Trust me, you will.) And when you’re pouring the tomato puree into the batter, even you’ll want to think twice about this odd ingredient. Surprisingly, you don’t taste the tomato at all — even if you’re totally expecting it. And the tomato puree makes the cake very moist, which only adds to the flavor.

So whether it’s sunny skies outside or pouring rain, any weather report will warrant making this Thunder Cake recipe. You’ll find that baking this cake with your kid will feel like a sunny day.


Thunder Cake

Patricia Polacco
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American


  • 1 cup shortening or unsalted butter
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup milk or water
  • 14 cup pureed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 pint strawberries, washed and halved


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Beat the egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
  • Mix together cake flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients: egg yolks, milk/water, pureed tomatoes, and vanilla.
  • Mix together the wet and dry ingredients until blended.
  • Fold egg whites gently into the batter.
  • Grease 2 8-inch round cake pans.
  • Bake cakes for 40 minutes. Let cool.
  • Wash and pat dry strawberries.
  • Once the cakes are cooled, add frosting in between the layers. Place strawberry slices on top of frosting.
  • Place the second cake on top of the first.
  • Frost all around the cake with your kids.
  • Slice and enjoy.
Keyword chocolate cake, dessert


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