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5 from 2 votes

1930s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

A moist and rich cake that dates back to 1937. Although the cake doesn't require any adornment, I spread mine with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.
Prep Time10 minutes
Course: cake, Dessert
Servings: 12


For the cake:

  • 2 cups|260g all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup|65g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups|335g sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup|220g real mayonnaise
  • 1 1/3 cups|320ml water

For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 cup|226g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups|540g confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 3/4 cup|62g unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2-5 tablespoons milk, cream, or half-and-half -- use enough to achieve a spreadable frosting


Making the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x13x2-inch baking dish with butter, shortening, or vegetable spray.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl if using electric beaters), beat the egg and sugar at high speed until pale and creamy -- about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and mayonnaise. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Next, at "low" speed, and in alternating additions, add the flour (3 additions) and the water (2 additions), beginning and ending with the flour.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean -- 30-35 minutes. (Add additional time if your baking pan is smaller than 9x13x2-inches.) Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

Making the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

  • In a bowl of a standing mixer equipped with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl if using electric beaters), beat the butter and confectioners' sugar at low to high speed until light and fluffy -- 2-3 minutes. Next, starting at low speed and increasing to high speed, beat in the cocoa powder and vanilla. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Beat in the milk one tablespoon at a time until a thick but spreadable frosting develops. Spread the frosting on top of the cake.