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 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 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 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 Adrianna May 14, 2010 at 9:25 am

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

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

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

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

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

  • 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. 🙂

  • 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 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 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 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 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!!

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