Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Glossy Icing

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This is the cake of Carol’s childhood, which we most recently made for a memorial service for her brother Peter.  Mayonnaise may sound like a strange ingredient for a cake until you realize that the two main ingredients of mayonnaise, oil and eggs, are standard cake ingredients.  This cake tastes better the day after it is baked.  The icing comes from the Antoinette Pope cookbook.


3 cups (9.9 oz.) cake flour

1.5 cups (11.3 oz.) sugar

1 Tbs. baking soda

6 Tbs. cocoa

1.5 cups Mayonnaise (standard Midwestern approach would be to use Hellman’s but I used Duke’s)

1.5 cups water

1.5 tsp. vanilla


¼ cup hot milk

2 Tbs. soft butter

1 tsp. vanilla

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 oz. melted baking chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line the bottom of two 9-inch cake pans with baking parchment circles and coat the parchment and the sides of the pans with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl mix together the dry cake ingredients.  Then add the wet cake ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together until smooth.  Bake for 45 minutes until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 5 minutes on a cake rack and then remove from the pan and fully cool before icing.

While the cake is baking, mix together in a bowl the icing ingredients in order.  Mix until smooth. Cover and rest for 20 minutes and then check the consistency.  If too thick to be spreadable, thin with a small amount of hot water, added tablespoon by tablespoon until the right consistency is reached.  If too thin, mix in additional confectioners’ sugar.

This cake is best served a day after it is made.


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