Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

February 14, 2017
Photo by Posie Harwood
Author Notes

This Depression-era cake recipe might sound bizarre, but the addition of mayonnaise yields a beautifully moist chocolate cake with a rich flavor and tender crumb. Use your favorite frosting: Here, I did a caramel sauce for the filling and a simple chocolate buttercream, but 7-minute frosting, caramel frosting, or salted peanut butter frosting would all be delicious. Adapted from Hellman's. —Posie (Harwood) Brien

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Makes one 9" double layer cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional, for enhanced chocolate flavor)
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/3 cups water
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour (or grease and line with parchment rounds) two 9" round cake pans.
  2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and espresso powder (if using).
  3. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla on high speed until very light and fluffy (at least 3 minutes).
  4. Reduce the speed to low and add the mayonnaise, beating until well-combined.
  5. Add the flour mixture and the water to the batter in three additions, alternating between the wet and dry. Mix until just combined. Don't overmix!
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake just begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
  8. Fill and frost with your favorite recipes: Any buttercream works well. In the photos, I filled the cake with a simple caramel sauce and frosted it in a basic chocolate buttercream.

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I like warm homemade bread slathered with fresh raw milk butter, ice cream in all seasons, the smell of garlic in olive oil, and sugar snap peas fresh off the vine.