An Old-Fashioned Recipe with Great Results


Do a web search for “chocolate mayonnaise cake” and you will find dozens of sites with very similar recipes, along with almost as many comments relating the cake to memories of those made by mothers and grandmothers and various other assorted relatives from the past. Few people can explain any source for the unexpected use of mayonnaise as a cake ingredient, but Hellman’s includes a “classic” version on their site, giving it some kind of authenticity too.

Though I rarely have mayonnaise (or the Miracle Whip style salad dressing) in the house, I did take advantage of a recent, really, really good price on a 2 quart jar of “real” mayonnaise and decided to try this old classic. I remember my mother talking about it, but she had no recipe for it in the collection of clippings and cards and cookbooks that I inherited. As a result, I started my internet search, took the ones that looked most realistic, and ended up with the following version. It results in a fine-textured, rich devils food cake that is extremely easy.. And one of the best things about the batter for kids there is? There is no problem with licking the beaters because the batter contains no raw eggs!

Since most Americans seem to have mayo as a staple in their refrigerators, this can be a great recipe if you find yourself without eggs or butter but still want to make a cake. Without butter or eggs and with sale-priced mayo, this can be a relatively frugal dessert as well. Oh, and if you check most other cakes of this size, “only” a cup of sugar is unusual as well, especially when the result is as rich tasting as this.

While suggested toppings for the cake include peanut butter and chocolate frostings, I found that a basic powdered sugar icing is second best–second only to serving the cake warm with some vanilla or butter pecan ice cream scooped on top. The version here also has chocolate sprinkles added for one more source of chocolate for those who can’t get enough!


(One important caveat: a couple of the sites I visited suggested this was a good cake for those with egg allergies–NO! Mayonnaise and even most, if not all, of the Miracle Whip dressings DO contain eggs, so don’t take chances if you or your family have any problems with eggs.)

Mayonnaise Chocolate Cake

1 cup real mayonnaise (I used Costco’s brand)
1 c sugar
1 c water or milk
1 t vanilla
2 c flour
1/2 c cocoa–or a bit more if you want this really chocolate-y
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 c chocolate chips (optional)
3/4 c coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

1.  Combine mayonnaise and sugar in a bowl and beat until smooth. Gradually stir in the water or milk and vanilla.
2.  Sift the flour, cocoa, soda, and baking powder together and add to the mayonnaise mixture. Blend just until completely mixed and smooth.
3.  Stir in the chocolate chips and/or walnuts if used.
4.  Pour batter into a well-oiled 9 X 12 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake. If a thin aluminum pan (disposable type) or glass pan is used, reduce the heat to 325.

While this can be stirred up with just a wood spoon or whisk  (and my 2 1/2 year old grandson was able to make the entire cake–other than measuring–in this way), I find that the mayonnaise is easier to blend with a mixer.


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