Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Cakes, Chocolate, Desserts

I firmly believe that the human population is broken up into two types: people who adore mayonnaise, or those that vehemently despise the stuff. I, on the other hand, am a bit of a hybrid of those two people, like, if they had a kid, you would have me. I love mayonnaise, but only if I don’t have to make it. The minute I throw egg yolks and some oil in a blender and see the emulsification process, my stomach tightens and I’m coughing on my knees, and am physically unable to spread the stuff on a slice of bread. But if it comes pre-made, in a jar, with the label Hellman’s or Duke’s, I’m all about it.

For mayonnaise fans, it has the ability to make things taste exponentially better. It adds awesome flavor and moisture to all sorts of things. Got a Chick-fil-A sandwich that’s a little dry? Add mayo! Need a sweet dipping sauce for French fries? Take a cue from the French, and use some mayo! Wanna make the lightest, most moist chocolate cake ever? Yes, that’s right, add mayo!

The mayonnaise in this cake actually replaces the vegetable oil that’s typically called for. And it sorta makes sense if you think about it, since all mayo really is is egg, a little vinegar and oil. And since this chocolate cake is so unusually light, I didn’t think twice about pairing it with chocolate frosting, which I typically would never do.

So to all you mayo haters, give mayo one more chance and make this cake. I think it deserves it.

{I loved, LOVED this icing.}

{Since I was transporting this cake to a party later on in the evening, I placed pieces of parchment paper in between the cake board and the cake, so when I was done icing the cake I could simply remove the pieces and have a clean cake board.}

{Messy parchment paper…}

{Clean cake board!}

{I show up to dinner parties with partially eaten cakes. Yep, I’m that girl.}

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Recipe from Bon Appétit Magazine

Print this recipe!


2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), 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 (packed) dark brown sugar

1 1/3 cups mayonnaise (do not use reduced-fat or fat-free)

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Special equipment: Twi 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Combine chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in medium metal bowl. Add 1 3/4 cups boiling water and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder into another medium bowl.Using electric mixer, beat both sugars and mayonnaise in large bowl until well blended, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 4 additions alternately with chocolate mixture in 3 additions, beating until blended after each addition and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Divide batter among prepared cake pans (about 2 1/3 cups for each).

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 30 to 32 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 20 minutes. Run small knife around sides of cakes to loosen. Carefully invert cakes onto racks and let cool completely.

For frosting:
Place chopped chocolate in medium metal bowl; set bowl over saucepan of simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Carefully remove bowl from over water; let melted chocolate cool until lukewarm, stirring occasionally.

Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth and creamy. Sift powdered sugar over butter and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Add melted chocolate and beat until well blended and smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl.

Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread 3/4 cup frosting over top of cake layer to edges. Top with second cake layer; spread 3/4 cup frosting over. Spread remaining frosting decoratively over top and sides of cake. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and let stand at room temperature.

Cut cake into wedges and serve.

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Leave a Reply

  • Reply Katrina May 10, 2010 at 5:02 am

    I’m not afraid of mayonnaise! I love the stuff (in moderation of course). I’ve never made it and just stick to Helmans too. This cake looks soo delicious!!

  • Reply Amber May 10, 2010 at 8:25 am

    I will go to my grave singing the praises of mayonnaise in cake, especially chocolate cake. When I was growing up, my grandfather made a cake using mayonnaise and coffee. No eggs at all. Supposedly it’s a depression era recipe.

    It’s the chocolate cake with which I measure all others, and I have to be honest, I haven’t yet met one that measures up. Maybe this one will. I’m certainly willing to give it a try! If you’d like to try an even simpler mayonnaise cake, the recipe is on my site.

    Beautiful photos, by the way.

    • Reply sarah March 20, 2011 at 7:13 pm

      Mayonnaise has eggs in it dear

      • Reply Adrianna March 20, 2011 at 7:16 pm

        Play nice, please!

      • Reply Lisa April 10, 2012 at 7:21 am

        That made me laugh out loud. Nice work sarah(;

  • Reply Patricia May 10, 2010 at 8:42 am

    I’m so glad it turned out well!! Though this recipe was staring me in the face, I ended up going with the triple chocolate fudge cake in the Sky High book that also uses mayonnaise. I have a huge jug of mayo in my fridge now, though, so it looks like I’m going to have to put it to good use with this one!

  • Reply Alicia May 10, 2010 at 9:40 am

    haha – I always want to cut into what I bake for get togethers! Maybe I should just be one of those people who show up with half eaten cakes as well! Looks Delicious!!

  • Reply Michelle May 10, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Love chocolate mayonnaise cake! Yours has me wanting to make one today. : ) I also am a huge fan of dipping fries in a little mayo. I guess I’m of the camp of mayo lovers, though I wouldn’t even dream of trying to make my own. Hellmann’s all the way.

  • Reply Adrianna May 10, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Amber–I’m pretty sure the recipe originated as a depression-era recipe, and then they figured that an addition of two extra eggs makes it more awesome. But, you’re right, there are plenty of recipes with just mayonnaise. I’ll check it out! Thanks.

    Patricia–dooo it! It was so incredibly amazing. And if you don’t want to do cake, then I’d suggest some cupcakes. 🙂

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  • Reply Memoria May 10, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    I came to look at the frosting recipe! It looks perfect!

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  • Reply Tickled Red May 11, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Ummm…that looks so moist 🙂 Great idea. I love herb mayo myself.

  • Reply Nastassia (Let Me Eat Cake) May 11, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    wow ok i’m sold. i was a little skeptical but you are right it is essentially the same ingredients you would put in the cake. great pics!

  • Reply Jenn May 11, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    I love mayo. Can’t wait to try it in a cake. The frosting looks so yummy!

  • Reply Kate May 14, 2010 at 7:26 am

    I made this cake. It is unspeakably delicious. First cake I’ve baked in years. Half of it is sitting under a cakesaver on my kitchen counter.
    I’m going to have a slice for breakfast.
    Thank you for the recipe!

  • Reply Adrianna May 14, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Kate–Isn’t it! Hearing that it turned out great makes my freakin’ day!

  • Reply Lindsay May 14, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    I’m from the South, so I love me some mayo! You have me wanting to bake this cake asap! Looks fab!

  • Reply Lahela May 16, 2010 at 7:12 am

    Another delicious recipe that I can’t wait to try! I’m a huge fan of mayonnaise but then again I’ve never actually made it myself so who’s to say watching the process would put me off entirely. But I shall definitely be trying this cake!

  • Reply Jordan May 17, 2010 at 8:24 am

    We had a graduation party for my husband on Saturday, and I made this cake for the occasion–it was so, so good! The only tiny alteration I made was to use hot coffee instead of boiling water, and it turned out great. I waited until all of the guests had tried the cake before I mentioned the mayonnaise. I admit, I got some strange looks, but they liked it so much it didn’t seem to matter to them. The icing was definitely my favorite part. Pretty sure this will be my go-to chocolate icing from now on. Thanks!!

  • Reply Adrianna May 17, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Jordan–Smart move on the coffee! I bet it really brought out the chocolate flavor–way to go!

  • Reply Stacyinga May 20, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    I will be baking this cake this weekend for my husband. YUMMY!!

    I laughed out loud at the poster that said she was going to have a slice for breakfast! 🙂

  • Reply Emma @ Poires au Chocolat May 25, 2010 at 1:34 am

    Wow, how unusual – I’ve never heard of mayonnaise in cakes. Though, as you say, it does make sense. I’ll have to give this a try – it looks divine!

  • Reply Erin R June 1, 2010 at 5:21 am

    What would happen if I were to try this recipe with low-fat or fat free mayo? Would it not rise and be super dense, just plain gross? any ideas?

  • Reply Adrianna June 1, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Erin–I wouldn’t recommend low-fat or fat free mayo since the recipe specifically says to not use that. But if you tried it, I won’t tell on you. I’m guessing it won’t be as moist. I mean, this cake is in no way something you wanna eat on a diet (even with using a fat free mayo) so I say go all the way and take a run later. 😉

  • Reply Lizzy June 10, 2010 at 5:23 am

    Oh, I love mayonnaise! Especially on french fries! So when you said it was good in cake, I believed you! I used this recipe to make cupcakes and they were fantastic. Just as moist and light as you promised and the chocolate flavor was perfect. They were yummy plain, but I also spread some with Nutella and they were amazing! By the way, these did freeze well in case anyone is curious. Next up are your corny dogs 🙂

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  • Reply Heidi May 26, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    I live in Chicago and one of the restaurants we’re famous for is Portillo’s, a hot dog joint. One of their main attractions is their chocolate cake. For years I’ve heard that the reason it’s so good is because they use mayonnaise. I myself won’t touch the stuff with a ten foot pole, but yet I DO put it in my pancake batter!!! I can’t wait to make this cake for my hubby, he’s a chocolate cake FANATIC!

  • Reply Jhully November 22, 2011 at 2:39 am

    Hello, i love your blog, i was looking for a chocolate cake recipe for my sister’s birthday and i’m going to try this delicious cake tomorrow wish me luck

    • Reply Adrianna November 22, 2011 at 3:12 am

      Good luck!! 🙂

  • Reply Erin February 7, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Hi there — This cake looks heavenly! I actually have a question about the icing recipe though as it looks so smooth and creamy. Did you follow the recipe as stated, i.e. one full tablespoon of vanilla and 3 sticks of butter? Just checking as I like to make my own buttercream all the time and would be interested to try if it looks and tastes as good as the pics! Thanks for posting…. can’t wait to try it out. Oh yea, what type of chocolate did you use ?

    • Reply Adrianna February 7, 2012 at 10:18 am

      Yep. I did. I followed it to the T. I used valrhona; a little indulgent but so worth it.

  • Reply Sarah rose February 11, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    I have made a mayo-chocolate cake before and it was fantastic but I’ve lost the recepie, I’ve been trying to convert ‘cups’ to ounces (I’m from the uk I struggle with cups) and it seems to work out as 8oz of sugar and 8 oz of dark sugar, is this right? Or do you have a conversion I could use?

    • Reply Adrianna February 12, 2012 at 10:50 pm

      I would go with grams. So for the all-purpose flour: 1 cup of AP flour = 125 grams.

      Sugar is a different conversion, unfortunately.

      White granulated sugar: 1 cup = 200 grams. Brown sugar is: 1 cup = 220 grams.

      I’m sorry it’s so annoying. I have dreams of creating them in both.

  • Reply Sarah rose February 13, 2012 at 6:01 am

    Thankyou, that does help 🙂 looking forward to making this cake for the man tomorrow

  • Reply Marie June 28, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Why can we not use reduced fat, will it change the consistency of the cake?

  • Reply Donna December 19, 2012 at 5:58 am

    How long should I bake the cake if I use a 13×9 pan ?

    • Reply Adrianna December 19, 2012 at 9:03 am

      Hmm…I’m not sure since I’ve never baked this cake in a 13×9 pan; my wild guess is that it’ll be done around the 45 minute mark. I’d recommend baking it for the recommended 30 minutes. At that point you can check on it every 5-7 minutes, testing it with a skewer as you go until it comes out clean.

    • Reply Jacqueline February 7, 2013 at 9:15 pm

      I used a 9×13 and it took roughly 45-50

  • Reply Kacey January 8, 2013 at 4:48 am

    I made this cake for my husband who was away for a month. He loved it!!!

    • Reply Adrianna January 8, 2013 at 8:20 am

      Oh that’s great. I forget how much I love this cake!

  • Reply Jacqueline February 7, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    OK so my husband is a miracle-whip addict..not sure why…to me it tastes like a ton of sugar was added to mayo and wah-lah!! Anyways I just made this cake for his birthday and used MW instead of mayo and it turned out FAB!! Even I’m picking at the corner-which I will cover with icing and deny!! Was out of powdered sugar so decided to cover and layer with ganache. I used a 9×13 and cut in half and stacked and it turned out great!!

    • Reply Adrianna February 8, 2013 at 8:28 am

      So happy! I love this cake recipe.

  • Reply Barbara May 9, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Your cake is so beautiful. I know this is an old post but maybe you can answer this question…have you ever baked this cake in a 13×9 pan? This is my father-in-law’s favorite cake — with a burnt sugar frosting. He is dying of lung cancer and I want to bring him this cake, but he likes edge pieces so I want to make a sheet instead of round.

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme May 9, 2013 at 11:09 am

      WOW! My thoughts are with your father-in-law. So incredibly sorry to hear this.

      To answer your question, I have never tried it with a sheet pan (13×9) but it should work just fine. For this recipe I used two 9-inch pans. You might have some extra batter left but it’ll definitely work. I’d just watch it carefully and test it at the 20-minute mark just to make sure it doesn’t over bake. Hope this works out!

  • Reply Barbara May 11, 2013 at 4:38 am

    Thank you for your response. I’ll try it today!

  • Reply b00mb00m b0ris July 22, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Anxious to try this recipe! What recipe alterations would you suggest for high altitude (4500 FT) climates? Thanks.

  • Reply Bob H July 22, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    You lost me as soon as you mentioned Chick-fil-a. GAG

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme July 22, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      For the record, this was written a few years ago (before all their political mumbo-jumbo). Since then I haven’t gone back, sadly. I do, however, think their pickle-brined chicken patties are awesome. 🙁

    • Reply KBolton July 23, 2013 at 4:05 am

      Adrianna, I’ll be trying this cake with coffee real soon! It looks great, so glad there was a link to it on the Huffington Post.

      Bob H. Chick-Fil-A is a private company who is run by a man with strict religious beliefs. Just because he supports what he believes in, doesn’t mean that he’s a bad person nor does it mean that those who don’t share in his belief should hate him or his company. By making comments like that, you show your true colors by trying to force your beliefs. I’m a way it makes you the worse. Those who don’t believe in same sex marriage don’t come to your job and boycott you do they. I was mistaken in thinking that in the US, one could voice their beliefs.

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  • Reply Louise Phaneuf July 23, 2013 at 5:49 am

    I have been using mayo in chocolate cake for 20 years. I add 3 eggs (room temperature), I cup mayo, 1 cup coffee and 1 tsp vanilla that is added to Betty Crocker’s chocolate cake mix ( must be Betty Crocker with pudding in the mix). Easy and delicious.

  • Reply Genelia Santanelli July 27, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    oh my goodness! i love you and I just met you!!… You are “that girl that arrives at dinner parties with partially eaten cake”?!?!… I never have the guts to do that and ALWAYS want to! I will next time thanks to you. 😉

    Btw – I am not stalking you… I am just looking around for a cake recipe that I can try out tomorrow. So far this one is in the lead. 😉

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme July 27, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      HAHA! OMG I kinda forgot about this post (it was 2 years ago!) so yes, I’m definitely the weirdo person who shows up with a slice out of the cake–it’s the only way! It was so lovely meeting you today. Thanks so much for coming. I actually just looked at the picture of Franklin begging for pancakes–it’s awesome! xo

  • Reply Ceph August 6, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Oh.My.Goodness. This cake came out soooo delicious and moist and fluffy and chocolatey. And I havent even put the icing on it. Yummmm!!! so excited! This was my first chocolate cake!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme August 6, 2013 at 8:25 pm

      Oh yay! I love this cake. So glad it turned out great.

  • Reply Joan Van der Slice August 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    I was working at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D. C. in 1952 when a nurse came into the office with mayonnaise chocolate cake and chocolate icing. It was gone by 11 o’clock and I got one piece. I made it at home right after that and it was sooooo good. I have to try it again. My husband makes a chocolate “Wacky Cake” prepared in the pan and baked, but I am all for trying the mayo cake again.

  • Reply Jenny November 29, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    I’m not a baker and have never baked a cake from scratch… This was my first one that I baked for my mom for her birthday (who happens to be a fabulous cook, so I was nervous!) but it turned out great and my 86 year old grandmother said it was the best chocolate cake she ever had! The only thing I noticed if I have to bake is for about 40 mins… Not sure if it’s just my oven thought. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme November 29, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      Oh yay!!! The mayonnaise in this really does contribute to an amazing cake. I’ll have to make it again soon. Glad it worked out.

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