For Chocolate Lovers only

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Tips: This recipe was developed in the 1930’s by the wife of a mayonnaise company employee, and it is a great example of ingenuity. I’d never have thought to put mayonnaise into a chocolate cake, but after all, it’s made primarily of oil and eggs, so there’s no reason it can’t work. There are other cakes that have more chocolate flavor or a more velvet texture, but this is so quick and easy that it’s a good choice when you need something fast or for introducing young ones to the magic of baking.
It is the nature of this cake to dip slightly in the center, but that can be covered up with frosting (or, serve squares of the cooled cake, dusted with confectioners’ sugar, with scoops of ice cream). I grew up on Hellman’s Mayonnaise, so that’s what I use here. I find the original, ultra-high-fat type to be best for this cake. Hellman’s Light Mayonnaise can also be used, but the cake will be somewhat gummy in texture. Incidentally, no salt is called for in the recipe, as there’s plenty in the mayonnaise and baking soda.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, stirred before measuring
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup nonalkalized (non-Dutch process) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup good-quality mayonnaise, preferably at room temperature, stirred well before measuring
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 7 by 11 or 9 by 9 inch pan, at least 1-1/2 inches deep, with vegetable shortening. Dust the greased pan lightly with flour, knocking out any excess. Set aside.

Into large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Set aside. Place mayonnaise in medium bowl; gradually beat in water with fork or small whisk. Mayonnaise will thin considerably. Stir in vanilla.

All at once, add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients. Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat at low speed until ingredients are combined; scrape bowl and beater(s) well. Beat at medium speed for 1-1/2 minutes. Batter should be smooth.

Turn batter into prepared pan and spread level, then push batter slightly higher in corners and along sides of pan. Bake in preheated oven for 28 to 35 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center emerges with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Do not overbake.

Remove to cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting or storing. If unfrosted, store airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days; freeze for longer storage.

Yield: 8 to 12 servings

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