Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake: The Cake Behind the Mystery

I couldn’t find a definite answer to my question about the origins of Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake but most people believe that Hellman’s came up with it in the early half of the 1900s.

Who knows? The fact of the matter is that mayonnaise cake is fudgey, moist, chocolate Nirvana. There is something about the mayonnaise that reacts with the rest of the ingredients to create a crumb that is unlike anything else.. You can’t taste the mayo at all…and many recipes don’t call for eggs

chocolate mayonnaise cake like grandma's.
I used this Chocolate Mayonnaise cake recipe on Epicurious and added a few changes, such as an extra yolk for a moister, more dense cake. I made this in three layers with chocolate buttercream in between. It was fantastic… and maybe we were caked out from so many parties this week but there was cake left…and it was just as moist and fantastic the next day.

steps to making chocolate mayonnaise cake

This cake will go together really quickly for you. There isn’t any separating of the eggs, fancy mixing, or special techniques – just a straight forward cake. You may want to put on a retro style apron and play some  Big Band music while you put this together…don’t forget the heels and pearls…

cocoa dusted pan

I dust my cake pans for chocolate cake with cocoa. That way any cocoa that clings to the crust of the cake it the same color as the cake. Just do it the same way you do with white flour…spoon a little into a greased pan and shake it around until it covers all surfaces then dump it out.

three layers of cake

Once the layers have completely cooled brush them lightly with your hand to get the loose cocoa and any crumbs off. Put the first layer on the cake plate, spoon your frosting on and you are ready to go….

chocolate mayonnaise cake closeup

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

serves 12


  • 4 ounces high quality 70% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate , chopped
  • 1 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa
  • 1 3/4 cups boiling dark coffee or water
  • 2 2/3 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 (I prefer Hellman’s to anything else….but do not use reduced-fat or fat-free)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Grease and dust three 8 -inch cake pans with cocoa
  3. Combine chopped chocolate and cocoa in a bowl. Whisk in boiling coffee (or water) and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
  4. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
  5. With a mixer beat the sugar and the mayonnaise until blended. Add eggs one at a time, and finally the egg yolk.
  6. Beat in the vanilla.
  7. Add the flour in four additions, alternately with the chocolate mixture.
  8. Beat well after each addition.
  9. Divide batter evenly among the cake pans.
  10. Bake about 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  11. Cool cake for 20 minutes.
  12. Loosen cakes from sides of pans, turn out, and cool completely.


  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate  chopped
  • 5 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups  unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. Melt chocolate in a double boiler.
  2. Beat the butter and powdered sugar until well blended and light.
  3. Add the  melted chocolate and the vanilla and beat well.
  4. Refrigerate until thick enough to spread.
  5. Spread between layers, and on sides and top of the cake.
  6. Lick fingers.

three layer chocolate mayo cake

This cake was so rich that I decided to go with a peanut butter ice cream rather than vanilla or chocolate. It was a great decision…brilliant even. I will be posting that recipe in the next day or two so check back, k?

images: marye audet

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