9 Familiar Foods with Odd Ingredients

Everyone loves pizza. But does everyone love pizza with a candy corn topping? You might not know until you try. The following nine “recipes” were born out of curiosity. “What would a ketchup cake taste like?” “Is mustard ice cream really as bad as it sounds?” “Can processed cheese make a good fudge or cheesecake?”

With a genuine wish to know — and so you didn’t have to — I’ve tried the following nine recipes. Some good, some bad, some ugly, but all a lot of fun!

1. Candy Corn Pizza

Candy corn seems to be one of those polarizing foods that people either love or hate. The haters mostly hate because it’s too sweet. The lovers mostly love it for its brightly iconic yellow-orange-white layering.

While reactions to candy corn seem to be polemic, mostly everyone loves or at least likes pizza. So when I heard of this unlikely pairing, I knew I had to try it.

And the “recipe” is simple. You buy a frozen pizza — I used DiGiorno for both nostalgic reasons and because it’s supposed to rise better then other frozen pizzas — and cook it as you normally would with a generous layer of candy corn completely covering the top.

And when you pull it out of the oven, you get a delight for the eyes. But how does it taste? You’ll have to watch to find out!

Tooth-achingly sweet pizza?

2. Clam Chowder / Mac-n-Cheese / & SpagettiOs Popsicles

Clam Chowder popsicles originally surfaced on the online forum Reddit. And then, because everyone in New England loves their clam chowder, Boston Magazine posted an article on the popsicles which caused the internet’s collective brain to explode..

Fo those of you who are new to clam chowders, there are three main types: Manhattan clam chowder which is a red chowder being tomato based; New England clam chowder which is white, being milk or cream based; and then the lesser known clear chowder which can be found in Rhode Island. All of the chowders have chunks of clam and often potato.

While I was in the supermarket hunting for my canned clam chowder, I decided to make some other popsicle flavors as well. So I purchased a can of SpaghettiOs as well as a can of Chef Boyardee Mac & Cheese.

As you can imagine, the process of making these popsicles is pretty straightforward. Just open the cans and spoon the soup into your popsicle molds. As I was filling them, I used my spoon to kind of press out any air bubbles, then I placed the sticks right into the mold before placing the kit into the freezer to solidify overnight.

You can watch my taste these bad boys below:

Maybe I should have my kids try these first.

3. French’s Yellow Mustard Ice Cream

For their 115th year anniversary a while back, French’s — the yellow mustard people — came out with a recipe for mustard ice cream.

The mustard ice cream made its first (and last?) appearance on National Mustard Day which, if you don’t know, is always the first Saturday in August. When I learned that you could actually purchase a scoop of this ice cream at Coolhaus in Culver City, California, I knew I had to try it.

After all, it couldn’t be any worse then the mayonnaise ice cream topped with ketchup I made a while back!

And lucky for me, they provided an actual recipe for their ice cream, so it wouldn’t be a heavy lift in terms of recipe testing.

For this no-churn ice cream, the only piece of equipment you’ll need will be a blender. If you want to skip the mustard, you could actually flavor it however you like. Mint chocolate chip (my personal favorite) sounds pretty good right now!

This can’t be good, can it? 🤔

4. Ketchup Cake

What do you do to celebrate your 100-year anniversary? If you’re Heinz in Canada, you share a recipe for ketchup cake.

Called the Great Canadian Heinz Ketchup Cake, when I heard about this recipe containing every toddler’s favorite comment, I knew I had to make it.

Calling for only a half a cup of ketchup to an equal amount of water, the ketchup lends moisture, but not so much as to skew the flavor profile. Indeed, it tastes much like a very good spice cake, being flavored as it is with ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. If someone were to offer you this cake blindfolded, you would be hard pressed to say you tasted ketchup at all.

With its classic pairing of cream cheese-based frosting and spicy cake, the ketchup cake reminds me a lot of a carrot cake. Moist and sweet and spicy, this is an excellent cake which would be really fun to bring to a party where people have to guess the secret ingredient!

5. Volcano Mayonnaise Chocolate Cake

Another common condiment that you don’t see much in cakes or desserts is mayonnaise. Now I know what some of you might be thinking, but in my mind, if you put enough chocolate with anything it’s bound to taste good!

The mayonnaise chocolate cake was suggested by many of you in my ketchup cake video above. Apparently this recipe was invented in the 1930s during the Great Depression when people were trying to make cake without using eggs and oil. And since mayonnaise contains eggs and oil mayonnaise would be a very logical substitute.

I used Hellmann’s chocolate cake recipe which used to be printed on the side of mayonnaise jars. I did put a little spin on the recipe by turning it onto a volcano cake which, for our purposes, should be a lot more fun. If you’ve never seen a volcano cake before, or a molten chocolate cake, basically it’s a bundt cake filled with chocolate ganache which, when sliced, gushes out from the center like lava flowing from a mountain.

You can watch me make and taste my Volcano Mayonnaise cake below:

Careful of the lava!

6. Ketchup-Mayo Ice Cream 

Sometimes when enough fans call, I have nothing else to do but test out what they ask me. And one of those much-requested recipes was for a ketchup-mayo ice cream. Now I’ve done many recipes that call for either ketchup or mayo separately, including a Ketchup Cake and a 7Up Mayonnaise Jello Salad, but I have never done a recipe that combined the two.

And to test out the recipe, I decided to use the Mega Ball, a gadget that claims to make homemade ice cream by filling a plastic “ball” with ice cream base and ice, which you then proceed to kick around until your ice cream solidifies. So you can burn off the calories on the front end which you will put right back on when you’re done kicking!

And while we may feel that this ketchup-mayo combination is a bit strange, I learned that it was created in the Philippines at a place called The Freezer Burn where it is served with french fries. So this ice cream is referencing fry sauce — where you mix your mayo and ketchup together. Similar to when I was a kid and we would go to Wendy’s and order a frosty into which you would dip your fries. Did you ever do that? Please tell me you did that!

So back to the Mega Ball to make the ice cream: essentially you put your ice cream base in one compartment and then your ice and salt together in a second compartment. The effect is the same as an old-fashioned ice cream churners where you have separate compartments so the cream never touches the ice and salt but cools it to the proper temperature.

So if you’ve got a Mega Ball handy, all you’ll need for ingredients will be cream, vanilla, and sugar (and ketchup and mayo!) in addition to the ice and salt. You can watch me having fun with my Mega Ball below:

I think I forgot the fries….

7. Velveeta Cheesecake

This cheesecake is not your ordinary cheesecake as it doesn’t utilize cream cheese. Rather this cheesecake called for Velveeta cheese. If you’re not familiar with Velveeta, it is an American made processed cheese product that bills itself as “liquid gold.”

Velveeta, like many convenience foods, is simultaneously much beloved and much maligned. Invented in the 1930s as a healthful cheese, in the 1950s it was reformulated and branded as a spread.

Perhaps the most popular use for Velveeta is to make mac and cheese, a dish consumed quite regularly by American kids. Because the cheese melts uniformly into a liquid, it is seen as an easy and convenient product.

For this cheesecake, I modified my recipe from one I found over at Cooks.com. Fairly straightforward, you can follow along with me in the video below. Just remember, cheesecakes are best served cold, so when you’ve finished baking, be sure to chill it before tucking in!

It’s cheese cheese, right?

8. Velveeta Fudge 

Another recipe which utilizes Velveeta, this fudge recipe piqued my interest as I was curious to see what happens when processed cheese food meets chocolate. (The 2 POUNDS of powdered sugar it calls for also made me raise an eyebrow.)

While researching this recipe, I learned that Velveeta gets its name from the very melty, velvety texture and mouthfeel of the cheese. And being shelf stable it does not need to be refrigerated, as long as it stays wrapped in its foil package.

I learned these fascinating Velveeta facts from a book called “Better Than Homemade: Amazing Foods that Change The Way We Eat.” The book has entries on Twinkies, SPAM, Velveeta, Tang, Reddi-Whip, Cool Whip, and many other iconic processed foods.

But back to the fudge. Fudge, of course, is this very, very sweet confection that has quite a dense consistency — much denser than brownies. Here in the U.S., it’s usually flavored with chocolate while in the U.K. it’s more of a caramel flavor.

Today’s version is also going to be chocolate; and, of course, it’s going to contain Velveeta.

So the recipe I used came from the Better than Homemade book I mentioned above, but it is also the same recipe that can be found on Kraft’s website, here.

Because this recipe makes such a large amount — it makes a 13-by-9-inch pan’s-worth of fudge — I settled for half a batch. So if you follow the Kraft recipe, but only want half a batch, make sure to divide everything by two. Happy Velveeta Fudge making!

We’re putting what in there!?

9. Ranch Gummy Bears

Have you ever had a savory version of a gummy bear? No? Well, I had never had one either. But I’ve always wanted to make my own gummy bears, so when a kind viewer shared the recipe from the Vulgar Chef, I knew I had to try it.

Now, in the United States, ranch dressing is quite common. But if you don’t know what it is, it’s a creamy, white salad dressing featuring dill which is often served as a dip for cruditĂ©s, or carrot sticks and the like at parties.

If you do decide to make this recipe (it doesn’t have to be Ranch!) you’re going to need a mold. I used an animal mold which you can find in my Amazon storefront, here.

You’ll also need some gelatin, and if you’re going to be daring and make the Ranch flavor, some Hidden Valley Ranch powder. (Amazon affiliate links.)

Happy gummy bear making, lovelies!

I don’t know about this one….

That’s all! I hope you try at least one of these admittedly strange recipes. If you do, be sure to include a comment below to let me know how it turned out!

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