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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
Makes one 9" double layer cake
cups all-purpose flour
cup unsweetened cocoa powder
teaspoons baking soda
teaspoon baking powder
teaspoon espresso powder (optional, for enhanced chocolate flavor)
eggs, at room temperature
teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour (or grease and line with parchment rounds) two 9" round cake pans.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and espresso powder (if using).
- 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).
- Reduce the speed to low and add the mayonnaise, beating until well-combined.
- 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!
- 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.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
- 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.