Sharing a seriously fun love for food

Mayonnaise Cake

Mayonnaise Cake

The name of this cake really doesn’t do it justice. The depth of chocolate is simply intoxicating – the crumb is tender and moist. This cake is the perfect example of good things coming from adversity!

It is said this recipe originated during great depression and was always baked during the rationing of World War II, when a large number of food and supplies were in short supply. During WWII ration books were issued to buy the most basic of staples including coffee, eggs, sugar and cooking oil.

My Grandmother, who was quite possibly the most honest woman ever, was only known to have ever told little “white lies” when purchasing sugar. One could not buy certain foods or supplies without a ration stamp along with a verbal confirmation that you were in fact in need of that item. My Grandmother was “always in need of sugar” and made certain she never ran out!

The mayonnaise became a creative substitute for cooking oils and shortening when they were in short supply. For this cake you want real mayonnaise, not the salad dressing version. And though cold water was originally used, this recipe uses coffee to deepen those chocolate tones.

A few tips. Use a light hand when mixing the cake. As with any cake or quick bread, over beating the batter leaves you with a tough bite. Bake the cake layers until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Trust your nose – when you begin to catch a whiff of that chocolate aroma, give them a test. Check each layer for doneness.

Let the cake layers cool completely before you frost them. Make certain the butter is very soft and you sift the powdered sugar before you add it. There’s no amount of beating that will remove tiny lumps of powdered sugar in your frosting.

If you’ve never made a layer cake don’t stress over it. You’re not being graded on this and there is no test on the final product. But no matter the outcome you will have a delicious cake that everyone will love!

It’s not often that one makes a layer cake. They can be time consuming and a little daunting. But when you finish one, just take a breath and pat yourself on the back – they can be pretty spectacular!

Mayonnaise Cake

Before you start, grease and flour three 9” round cake pans and preheat your oven to 350-degrees.

For the cake:

1-1/2 cups hot dark roast coffee

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2-1/2 cups sugar

4 extra-large eggs, room temperature

1 cup good (real) mayonnaise

1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the frosting:

1-1/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips, not quite one 10-ounce bag

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

4 tablespoons heavy cream, divided

¾ cup butter (1-1/2 sticks), room temperature

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 cups sifted* powdered sugar, divided

*Sifting the powdered sugar removes any lumps and leaves you with a smooth frosting.

To make the cake:

Add the cocoa powder to the hot coffee, stirring to dissolve the cocoa powder.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt.

Toss the sugar and the eggs into a separate large mixing bowl and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is light in color and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the mayonnaise along with the vanilla extract and blend in on low speed.

Stir in about 2/3 cup of the flour mixture at a time alternating with the coffee and cocoa.

Mix each addition on low speed just until blended into the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally to make certain the batter is well mixed.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans, dividing evenly between the three.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the cakes test done in the center with a toothpick. (Check the cakes after about 20 minutes.)

Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edges and turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely. (I keep small wire racks on hand to make this step easier. You can place one over the top of the cake pan, flip it over and let the cake gently release on the rack.)

While the cakes bake and cool, make the frosting.

For the frosting:

Place the chocolate chips along with the corn syrup and 3 tablespoons of the cream in the top of a double boiler or into a small heatproof bowl. Set over a pan of simmering water on low heat.

Stir occasionally just until the chips have melted, about 10 minutes. Set aside to let the chocolate mixture cool completely.

Cream the butter on medium speed until light and fluffed. Add the kosher salt and vanilla along with half of the powdered sugar. Mix together starting on low speed, then on medium speed for about 1 minute.

Add the cooled chocolate and blend into the butter and sugar on low speed. Using low speed stir in the last two cups of the powdered sugar, adding the remaining cream only if needed for a frosting that is easily spread.

To assemble the cake:

Place the first cake layer top down on a large, flat cake plate. Spread about ½ cup of the frosting over the top, pushing the frosting out to the edge. It will be a thin layer of frosting.

Add the second layer, top up and spread another ½ cup of frosting over the cake. Place the third layer bottom side up on the second layer. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the side of the cake, sealing any loose crumbs.

Finish by frosting the top of the cake and spreading the remaining frosting onto the sides of the cake.

Serves 8 to 10.

Mayonnaise Cake, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

February 3, 2020
: Serves 8 to 10.

The name of this cake really doesn’t do it justice. The depth of chocolate is simply intoxicating - the crumb is tender and moist. This cake is the perfect example of good things coming from adversity!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the cake:
  • 1-1/2 cups hot dark roast coffee
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 extra-large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup good (real) mayonnaise
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • For the frosting:
  • 1-1/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips, not quite one 10-ounce bag
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
  • ¾ cup butter (1-1/2 sticks), room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted* powdered sugar, divided
  • *Sifting the powdered sugar removes any lumps and leaves you with a smooth frosting.
Directions
  • Step 1 To make the cake:
  • Step 2 Add the cocoa powder to the hot coffee, stirring to dissolve the cocoa powder.
  • Step 3 In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt.
  • Step 4 Toss the sugar and the eggs into a separate large mixing bowl and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is light in color and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Step 5 Add the mayonnaise along with the vanilla extract and blend in on low speed.
  • Step 6 Stir in about 2/3 cup of the flour mixture at a time alternating with the coffee and cocoa. Mix each addition on low speed just until blended into the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally to make certain the batter is well mixed.
  • Step 7 Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans, dividing evenly between the three.
  • Step 8 Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the cakes test done in the center with a toothpick. (Check the cakes after about 20 minutes.)
  • Step 9 Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edges and turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely. (I keep small wire racks on hand to make this step easier. You can place one over the top of the cake pan, flip it over and let the cake gently release on the rack.)
  • Step 10 While the cakes bake and cool, make the frosting.
  • Step 11 For the frosting:
  • Step 12 Place the chocolate chips along with the corn syrup and 3 tablespoons of the cream in the top of a double boiler or into a small heatproof bowl. Set over a pan of simmering water on low heat.
  • Step 13 Stir occasionally just until the chips have melted, about 10 minutes. Set aside to let the chocolate mixture cool completely.
  • Step 14 Cream the butter on medium speed until light and fluffed. Add the kosher salt and vanilla along with half of the powdered sugar. Mix together starting on low speed, then on medium speed for about 1 minute.
  • Step 15 Add the cooled chocolate and blend into the butter and sugar on low speed.
  • Step 16 Using low speed stir in the last two cups of the powdered sugar, adding the remaining cream only if needed for a frosting that is easily spread.
  • Step 17 To assemble the cake:
  • Step 18 Place the first cake layer top down on a large, flat cake plate. Spread about ½ cup of the frosting over the top, pushing the frosting out to the edge. It will be a thin layer of frosting.
  • Step 19 Add the second layer, top up and spread another ½ cup of frosting over the cake. Place the third layer bottom side up on the second layer.
  • Step 20 Spread a thin layer of frosting over the side of the cake, sealing any loose crumbs. Finish by frosting the top of the cake and spreading the remaining frosting onto the sides of the cake.


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