Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake is answer to all your chocolate cravings as it is the best chocolate cake (ever). This old fashioned mayonnaise cake is indulgent and delicate, and has moist crumbs that are light, fluffy and tender. Pour a rich, silky and smooth chocolate ganache on top of the cake and you have the most delicious chocolate cake.
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When it comes to chocolate cake, any baker would want to have an authentic and reliable recipe in their recipe box. This one is mind blowing and right on the top there when I want to bake a quick, easy and incredibly indulgent chocolate treat.
This rich and homemade chocolate cake doesn't require much effort. Follow this simple recipe from scratch and never bake a chocolate cake using a boxed cake mix.
The secret ingredient of this vintage recipe from the 1930's is mayonnaise.
My mom used to make this Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with a thick chocolate buttercream frosting all the time. We loved it. The first time my mom asked us to guess the secret ingredient, none of us got it right. And how could we? Can you imagine mayonnaise will give you a moist, tender and melt-in-the-mouth cake. At the time I really thought it was a crazy cake!
A few years later I found this retro recipe in an old church cookbook that I bought from a thrift store. It has stayed with me ever since.
I have since incorporated real mayonnaise or full fat mayonnaise in quick breads as well as in my 4-Ingredient Banana Bread recipe.
If you follow this blog you'll see that I also have a thing for chocolate. My Chocolate Cream Sour Pound Cake, Coca Cola Cake and Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake are all time favorites as well.
Why This Recipe Works?
- Easy & Quick: This is one of the simplest cake recipes that you can put bake in 30-35 minutes.
- Few ingredients & One Bowl: The Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake ingredients are simple and most likely readily available in your pantry. Also, you need only one large bowl to whisk up the cake.
- Serve At Any Occasion: Take this rich chocolate cake at any potluck, at a party or enjoy at home.
- Incredibly Moist: The use of full fat mayonnaise in this chocolate cake gives it a super moist and light crumb.
History & Origin of the Cake
This cake recipe was first created in the United States back in the 1930’s during the time of Great Depression era. According to the One-Bowl Chocolate-Mayonnaise Cake the cake “born out of a scarcity of fresh eggs” during the time.
This cake recipe was largely published on jars of the mayonnaise dating back to 1937.
Because there was a scarcity of butter and eggs, the mayonnaise filled the gap for the common man, who was still able to have a decadent chocolate mayonnaise cake on their tables. So, mayonnaise became a perfect substitute for Chocolate Cake.
This Peanut Butter Bread from that era is another recipe that gets me compliments every single time.
Pro Tip # 1 - Room Temperature Ingredients
Always use room temperature ingredients (unless otherwise specified) for baking. Ingredients such as butter, eggs and other dairy ingredients like milk, sour cream, yogurt form an emulsion by trapping air inside the batter. The trapped air expands in the oven resulting in perfect baked treats.
Ingredients for Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake.
Ingredients for Chocolate Ganache.
- All-purpose flour: provides the base and structure to this cake.
- Mayonnaise: the hero ingredient of this cake. Use full fat for best results.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: I use Dutch cocoa powder for a darker chocolate hue. You may use regular as well.
- Caster Sugar: provides sweetness to this cake. Use castor sugar.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda: leavening agents for this cake.
- Vanilla Extract: to enhance the flavor.
- Salt: to balance the sugar and overall enhance the chocolate flavor.
- Hot Water or Boiling Water
Pro Tip # 2 - Digital Scale
Use a digital scale to measure all-purpose flour and other dry ingredients. To measure with cup, fluff up the all-purpose flour container using a spoon, then scoop out the flour with spoon into the measuring cup. Never scoop out of the container. It may result in more flour than required resulting in dense bakes.
These are basic process shots for this recipe. For detailed instructions refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Take a large bowl and combine the dry ingredients together. Whisk.
2. In a medium sized bowl add mayonnaise, vanilla extract and hot water.
3. Whisk until combined.
4. Pour the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
5. Pour the batter in the 9 x 13 sheet pan.
6. Bake the cake at 350 F in a preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Insert a tooth pick or cake tester in the center of the cake and remove the pan if it comes out clean.
7. Heat the whipping or heavy cream with butter until about to boil. Pour over chocolate chips.
8. Let it sit for a minute or two.
9. Mix until the chocolate is combined with the heavy cream and you get a smooth and silky chocolate ganache.
10. Once the cake has rested and cooled down apply the chocolate ganache.
- 9 x 13 cake pan.
- Large bowl.
- Medium bowl.
- Wire rack.
- Electric mixer.
- Tooth pick or cake tester (to check the center of the cake).
Substitutions & Variations
- Fat Free or Fat Free Mayonnaise: Substitute full fat mayonnaise with fat free or low fat mayonnaise but know that the texture will be different. Full fat mayo works best.
- Nuts: Add ½ cup of chopped nuts in the cake batter of your choice such as walnuts or pecans.
- Coffee: Use boiling brewed coffee instead of water in equal ratio for even a more intense chocolate flavor. I like strong coffee for an intense chocolate flavor but you may use instant coffee or even espresso as well.
- Cream Cheese Frosting: I prefer the cake with chocolate ganache but cream cheese frosting is equally good. Prepare the frosting and apply on the cake once it has cooled properly. Find the recipe of cream cheese frosting here.
- Fresh Berries: Serve the cake with fresh berries of your choice such as strawberries and raspberries.
- Vanilla Ice Cream: Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream before serving. A good reason to enhance this cake further.
Use Dutch Process Cocoa: instead of the regular cocoa powder as the Dutch Cocoa powder has a darker tone than natural cocoa powder. Also the Dutch cocoa powder is also known as the alkalized cocoa meaning it does not react with baking powder or baking soda as it is not alkaline in nature.
Let the Cake Cool Completely: Once the cake is baked, remember to let it cool down completely before pouring the ganache over it. If you will try to take out the cake of the pan, it can break very easily. And this comes from experience. I once tried to take it out of the pan immediately and the cake was in pieces all over my counter. The crumb of the cake is soft and it needs time to settle down before you can further use it.
Boiling Water: The boiling water will help to break and melt the sugar once the dry ingredients are mixed with the wet ingredients. Or the sugar will remain grainy in the cake. Also use castor sugar which is extra fine sugar to ensure quick melting in the batter.
Hot Knife Method: Dip a knife's blade completely in a large glass of hot water. Let it sit there for a while. Remove and wipe off the blade with paper towel or kitchen towel. Once the blade is dry (but still hot) start cutting the cake. Repeat the process after each cut. This method will ensure smooth cuts of the cake slices.
Frequently Asked Questions
The simple answer to this questions is no you don't. To tell you the truth, once you try this cake, you won’t even be able to even have a hint that there is any mayonnaise in the cake. That's the best part of this amazing cake.
Yes, make sure that you use the full-fat mayonnaise for this Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake. The low fat mayonnaise will not give you the tender texture and moistness that you would want for this decadent cake. Having said so you may use low fat mayo in this cake but the texture will be different.
Yes, use a 12'' Bundt pan of your choice to bake this cake. Keep an eye on the oven as the baking time may vary.
Yes. Prepare the batter of the old fashioned chocolate mayonnaise cake and divide it equally in two 9'' round pans. Keep an eye on the baking time as it may vary and the cakes may be done sooner than the 9 x 13 inch pan.
How to Store
- I recommend not to ice the cake if you plan to store it for later.
- This cake will stay fresh on the counter for up to 2 days.
- Place the cake pieces in an air tight container and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- To freeze the cake take a baking tray and place the cake pieces on the tray. Place it in the freezer for up to an hour or so until the cake pieces become hard. Then wrap up individual cake pieces in plastic wrap and add a layer of foil to each piece. Stash the pieces in an air tight container or a plastic ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
This recipe was originally posted in December 2021. I have updated the recipe with fresh pictures and step by step instructions.
Find more cake recipes here:
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Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
- 1 9 x 13 cake pan or sheet pan
- 1 large bowl
- 1 medium bowl
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Digital Scale
- Rubber Spatula
- Electric Mixer
- tooth pick or cake tester
Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
- 2 cups All-purpose flour (240 g)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (5 g)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (5 g)
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (50 g)
- 1 ½ cup castor sugar (300 g)
- 1 cup full fat mayonnaise (220 g) room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence (5 ml)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (225 g/8 oz)
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream (180 ml)
- 1 tablespoon butter (14 g) cut into small pieces
Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a 13 x 9 inch pan with baking spray.
- In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, castor sugar and salt together. Whisk well and set aside.
- In another bowl, add mayonnaise and whisk it. Add boiling water and vanilla essence to mayonnaise and mix until combined.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients. Incorporate until combined.
- Pour the cake batter in the sheet pan and place the cake pan in the middle rack of the preheated oven.
- Bake the cake for 25 – 30 minute or until a skewer or tooth pick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. The sides of the pan will start to pull away or shrink a little.
- Add the semisweet chocolate chips to a bowl and set aside.
- Add butter to the heavy cream and place in the microwave and warm it up in 30 seconds interval until the butter has melted and the heavy cream is about to boil with simmering bubbles on the top of the cream.
- Pour this cream mixture over the chocolate chips and let it sit for a minute or two. Then whisk it until the ganache is smooth and silky.
- Let the cake cool down completely and then pour over the ganache.