Mayo cakes became popular during the depression era, when ingredients for baking were difficult to find. Eggs and oil were replaced by mayo in cakes. Even mayonnaise brands started putting the recipe on jars. The most popular for me growing up was on the Hellman’s jar. I remember my grandmother making this cake when I was growing up. It was always a favourite because it was chocolatey and moist. And we never questioned why mayonnaise was added.
I make this cake for my kids now, but I don’t tell them there is mayonnaise in the recipe. Some of my kids are picky and don’t like mayo, so they think they will taste it, so I stopped telling them the cake is made with it.
My Grandma’s Chocolate Mayo Cake Recipe
Recently I asked an older family member if they remembered how my grandmother made her chocolate mayo cake. Turns out my grandmother’s recipe was written down and saved by one of my cousins but it wasn’t what I expected.
The ingredients were listed as follows: flour, sugar, soda, cocoa, mayo, water and vanilla. There were no amounts for the ingredients. The instructions were: mix together and bake. That’s it. It was really no help to me. But that is how all my grandmother’s recipes were. Most of them were in her head. She could mix up a cake in a matter of minutes. Her measuring cup was a tea cup, and she used the spoons out of the cutlery drawer to measure smaller amounts. That is when she actually measured. She usually just eyeballed everything.
What makes my mayo cake different?
There are a few substitutions I have made that make this cake different from the original cake. This recipe calls for eggs as well as the mayo. The original recipe didn’t have eggs because the mayonnaise replaced both the eggs and oil in the recipe. Adding eggs makes this cake heavier so it is more like a pound cake.
Cake flour is also used instead of all purpose flour. If you don’t have cake flour, you can use all purpose flour. I have made it using both flours, the results are similar. When baking this cake using all purpose flour, 2-½ cups of all purpose flour replaces the 3 cups of cake flour.
I also use strong, freshly brewed coffee in place of water to enhance the chocolate. And this cake is baked in a bundt pan then topped with milk chocolate. In total there are three types of chocolate I use in this recipe, making it a rich, chocolatey cake that is still easy to make. Milk can also be used in place of the water for a richer flavour than using water.
There are also three different kinds of chocolate in this recipe. Unsweetened cocoa is mixed into the flour for the cake, then chocolate chunks are folded into the batter before baking. Then the cake is topped with milk chocolate. This recipe definitely satisfied a chocolate craving. (if you don’t have chocolate chunks on hand, you can use semi-sweet chocolate chips)
Almond extract is also added to the recipe. This is another ingredient that enhances the flavour of the chocolate.
Chocolate Mayo Bundt Cake
- 3 cups cake flour
- ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1½ cups white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup strong, freshly brewed coffee
- 1 bag chocolate chunks
Milk Chocolate Topping
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 bag milk chocolate chips
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325°F
- Grease a bundt pan and set aside
- Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl
- In a large bowl, beat eggs with sugar, vanilla and almond extracts.
- Stir in flour mixture, alternating with mayonnaise, until all ingredients are just incorporated
- Pour in coffee and stir to combine.
- Fold in chocolate chunks
- Pour into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes
- Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean
- Let cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely on a rack
- Place sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl
- Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, until all chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
- Stir in vanilla
- Pour evenly over cooled cake and allow to cool before serving