I saw this recipe on Epicurious recently and was immediately reminded of a story from many years ago. My aunt, who always won “Best Chocolate Cake” at the local Fall Fair, had been rumoured to put mayonnaise in her cake. She would never divulge her secret recipe but I was always intrigued by this seemingly odd addition to a chocolate cake. Since this recipe finally gave me a chance to try this idea, and it combines two of my favourite things … chocolate and cake … I decided I really needed to bake it.
It turned out to be a lovely cake and no, you can’t taste the mayonnaise! The cake was wonderfully chocolatey and moist, but also light in texture. I think that’s where the mayonnaise really comes into play. The frosting was great, too (although I wish it was a little darker in colour … maybe I’ll add a little cocoa next time). It wasn’t super sweet, which I liked, but boy … three sticks of butter. Try not to think about that when you eat it ;)
Here’s some photos of this yummy cake.
Oh, and here’s a great little layer cake tip I learned from Martha (yes, that Martha), in case you haven’t seen it before. Put some strips of parchment or waxed paper around the edge of your plate before frosting. This will keep your plate clean. Simply slide them out once you’ve finished frosting the cake and no more messy plates.
Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
Summary: This is a wonderfully moist and chocolate-y cake, thanks to the addition of mayonnaise (really just eggs and oil, after all). A classic chocolate cake perfect for any occasion.
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 3/4 cups boiling water
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 1/3 cups mayonnaise (do not use reduced-fat or fat-free – I used Hellman’s™)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- For the cake:
- With rack in centre of the oven, preheat to to 350° F. Butter and flour three 8-inch-diameter cake pans.
- In a medium bowl, combine the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder. Add 1 3/4 cups boiling water and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
- In another medium bowl, sift together or whisk the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
- Using electric mixer or your stand mixer, beat both sugars and the mayonnaise together until well blended, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Add flour mixture in 4 additions, alternately with the chocolate mixture, beating until well blended after each addition. Occasionally scraping down sides of bowl.
- Divide the batter among the 3 prepared cake pans.
- Bake the cakes in the pre-heated oven until a tester inserted into centre comes out clean, about 30 to 32 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 20 minutes. Run a small knife around sides of cakes to loosen. Carefully invert cakes onto racks and let cool completely.
- For frosting:
- Place chopped chocolate in a medium metal bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. (I used the microwave for this step). Let melted chocolate cool until lukewarm, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer and a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Sift the powdered sugar over the butter and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Add the melted chocolate and beat until well blended and smooth.
- Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread 3/4 cup frosting over top of cake layer,spreading to the edges. Top with second cake layer; spread 3/4 cup frosting again. Top with the third cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting over top and sides of the cake.
- Cake can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and let stand at room temperature.
Prep time: 15 min | Cook time: 30 min | Total time: 1 hour
Number of servings (yield): 8-10
Adapted from this recipe on Epicurious