Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

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Old Fashioned Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake is super moist and tender, with lots of chocolate flavor. Forget about the box, making a cake from scratch couldn’t be any easier!

Slice of chocolate cake on a white plate and a bite on a fork.

This chocolate mayonnaise cake recipe is a nostalgic classic from the 1940s. It is so tender and moist – it’s truly one of the best cakes you’ll ever taste!

My homemade chocolate frosting is the perfect topping. You can add sprinkles for a fun and colorful finishing touch, or just leave it as is. You could even forgo the frosting and just top with powdered sugar for a simpler cake.

Why We Love This Recipe

  • From Scratch – If you’ve never baked a cake from scratch, this is a great recipe to try!
  • Moist and Velvety Texture – The mayo gives chocolate cake such a great texture without ANY ‘mayo’ flavor.
  • Creamy Buttercream Frosting – Don’t forget the smooth and creamy homemade chocolate frosting.
Whole frosted chocolate cake in a baking pan with a knife.

Ingredients For Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

The ingredients for old-fashioned Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake are simple and likely already in your pantry! Here’s what you need:

For the Cake:

  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – I like to use a higher quality for the best flavor, like Hershey or Ghirardelli.
  • Mayonnaise – Any brand will work. You could even opt for an avocado mayo to make it vegan.
  • All-Purpose Flour, Granulated Sugar, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Water, and Vanilla Extract

For the Frosting:

  • Butter – You can use salted or unsalted and just adjust the salt amount. Make sure to soften to room temperature first.
  • Powdered Sugar – I like to sift to remove any lumps for a smoother frosting.
  • Milk or Cream – To get the right consistency.
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, Vanilla Extract, Salt
Ingredients for chocolate mayo cake.

How To Bake Chocolate Mayo Cake

Get a detailed list of ingredients & instructions in the recipe card below.

Making a chocolate cake from scratch is easier than you think! Set aside that box mix and follow these steps instead:

  1. Prep – Start by preheating the oven and lightly greasing a 9×13 inch pan or 2 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Mix Batter – In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients before stirring in the mayo until well combined. Gradually stir in the water and vanilla and blend until the batter is smooth. 
  3. Bake Cake – Pour the batter into the greased pan(s) and lightly tap the pan a few times on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely before frosting.
  4. Frost Cake – While the cake cools, mix up the chocolate frosting in a stand mixer. You can adjust the amount of milk or cream added to get the right consistency. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. 

FAQs

What does mayo do to a cake?

Mayonnaise can replace the oil and eggs in a cake. The mayo gives the cake a moist and velvety texture without giving it any ‘mayo’ flavor.

Where did mayonnaise cake originate?

A recipe for mayo cake was first printed in the 1920s, but it was in the 1940s that it became popular because ingredients like dairy and sugar were being rationed during World War II.

Serving Suggestions

If you really want to make this dessert extra decadent, try serving it with one of the following:

  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Fresh Strawberries – No better pairing than strawberries and chocolate!
  • Dust with Powdered Sugar – For a fantastic presentation.
Slice of chocolate mayonnaise cake on a white plate with a fork.

Variations

  • Store-bought Frosting – If you’re short on time, you can swap in store-bought frosting for the homemade chocolate buttercream.
  • Cupcakes – If you prefer to make this into cupcakes, you can fill a lined cupcake pan about ⅔ full with batter and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  • Double Chocolate – For extra bursts of chocolate, try folding in chocolate chips or chunks to the cake batter.

Storage

Storing: For best results, store leftovers, covered, in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Freezing: To freeze, place the cake on a baking tray and flash freeze for one hour. Wrap frozen cake in plastic wrap and pop into the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw fully in the fridge before eating.

Room Temperature Butter for Frosting – It is very important to use softened butter when making the homemade frosting. Cold butter will not cream and fluff up into frosting.

Use Toothpick to Test for Doneness – The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.

Full Fat Mayo – For best results, use a regular, full fat mayonnaise. You can use a light mayo but it will change the texture of the cake. 

Don’t Overmix – When making any cake batter, it’s best to not overmix. It’s okay if there are some small lumps.

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Chocolate Mayo Cake social media image.

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

5
Old Fashioned Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake is moist and tender. Forget about the box, making a cake from scratch couldn’t be any easier!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 slices
Calories 669kcal

Ingredients
  

Cake:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Frosting:

  • 1 cup butter softened to room temperature
  • 3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Milk or cream as needed for consistency
  • pinch of salt

Instructions
 

For the Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch pan or 2 9-inch round cake pans.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Stir in mayonnaise until well combined, then gradually stir in water and vanilla and blend until the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour the batter into the greased pan(s). Lightly tap a few times on the counter to release air bubbles.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixerwith the whisk attachment, beat the butter for several minutes or until it’s light and fluffy.
  • Gradually add the cocoa powder and 1 cup of powdered sugar. Beat at low to medium speed until fully incorporated. Add more powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. After the 3rd cup, stir in the vanilla, salt and a tablespoon of milk.
  • Taste and add more sugar, ½ cup at a time, until you are happy with the sweetness level. Add more milk, a tablespoon at a time, for a thinner consistency.
  • Spread frosting over cooled cake.

Nutrition

Calories: 669kcalCarbohydrates: 83gProtein: 5gFat: 38gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 13gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 520mgPotassium: 138mgFiber: 3gSugar: 55gVitamin A: 493IUCalcium: 66mgIron: 2mg

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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