Patricia Polacco's Thunder Cake

Total Time
1hr 5mins
Prep 25 mins
Cook 40 mins

This is the Thunder Cake recipe from Patricia Polacco's "Thunder Cake" picture book. It is a wonderful chocolate cake with a hint of fruit flavor from the secret ingredient! It is perfect frosted with Chocolate Buttercream Icing and topped with fresh sliced strawberries! (The strawberries and tomato match wonderfully and I promise that no one will know it is tomato, they will only ask what you did to make it so wonderful!)

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease and flour two 8 1/2 inch cake pans.
  3. Cream together the shortening and sugar.
  4. Beat in the vanilla and egg yolks.
  5. Mix in the cold water and pureed tomatoes.
  6. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff and fold into egg/tomato mixture.
  7. Sift the cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
  8. Mix dry mixture into wet.
  9. Pour batter evenly into cake pans.
  10. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
  11. Let cakes cool on wire racks before frosting with chocolate buttercream icing.
  12. Optional: Top with fresh strawberries.


Most Helpful

This was a really great recipe. I made it for my tutoring student as an end of the year surprise. He had just read the book in class and he got really excited about it. I was skeptical about the tomatoes but it went really well together!

lynnfisi May 31, 2015

I am so glad you posted this recipe! My son brought home a hand-written recipe for this after reading the story at school and wanted to make it. However, after starting, I realized there was no flour listed in his version, as he missed it when writing. Thanks to you, we didn't waste a ton of ingredients, and he's happy, having helped make it. Baked in a 9x13 for a bit more time, frosted with milk chocolate icing and topped with strawberries. Thanks so much!

Queen Roachie October 14, 2012

My girls loved the book, and it's my younger daughter's favorite cake. We use a GF flour cake for a GF/CF version and frost with or favorite GF/CF chocolate frosting. I bake as 2 8" rounds with frosting between layers and on the outside. Put strawberries on top. I used to put sliced berries between the layers, but the girls didn't like oft-requested birthday cake in our house.

happycook23 April 25, 2010

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