~ A Must Have Recipe: Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake ~
If I knew you were coming I'd have baked you a mayonnaise cake. While that might not sound appetizing, I always say, "what happens in my kitchen, stays in my kitchen" and in my food world, there is no reason to reveal to anyone they are eating a mayonnaise cake unless they ask for the recipe. In the event anyone rolls their eyes or turns up their nose, the joke's on them, as, they obviously don't know mayonnaise is a concoction of oil (which makes cakes tender), eggs and a bit of flavor-boosting acid (like vinegar or lemon juice) -- all common-to-cake ingredients.
Most folks think this cake was invented by Hellmann's and that's a natural assumption. The truth -- it was not. The earliest recipe in print titled "Mayonnaise Cake" was published in 1927. The Hellmann's brand didn't come along until 1937. That said, their aggressive ad campaign for "Mayonnaise Cake", sure did popularize it with World War II/depression era housewives, who were in the market for inexpensive substitutions for butter and milk. When you get right down to the common sense of it, a cake recipe containing mayonnaise is not much different than a cake recipe containing sour cream or buttermilk. < My recipe is neither Hellmann's vintage recipe pictured here nor the updated recipe on their website. It is the recipe my grandmother used, and, while I wish I did, I have no idea where it originated.
For "those times" when you are tempted to use a boxed mix -- don't. This super-easy scratch-made alternative is delightful.
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup + 6 tablespoons whole milk (Note: My grandmother's depression-era recipe originally called for water. I like the richness of whole milk better.)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
no-stick cooking spray, for preparing pan (Note: The original recipe calls for flouring 2, 9"-round cake pans. When I prepare this cake, I prefer 1, 13" x 9" x 2" one-layer, rectangular cake and no-stick spray makes life a bit easier.)
~ Step 1. In a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients: the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda until thoroughly combined. Set aside. Note: This "cake mix" can be made ahead and stored in the pantry.
~Step 2. Place the sugar and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Starting on medium speed of hand-held electric mixer and working up to high, beat until mixture is smooth and light and pale yellow in color, about 1 full minute, while scraping down sides of bowl with a large rubber spatula. Lower the mixer speed and blend in the mayonnaise, about 30 more seconds. Stir the vanilla extract into the milk. On medium mixer speed, blend in half of the milk mixture followed by half of the flour mixture, continuing to scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula. Blend in the second half of the milk followed by the last of the flour, increase mixer speed to high and beat another 45-60 seconds.
~ Step 3. Transfer batter to a 13" x 9" x 2" cake pan or 3-quart casserole that has been sprayed with no-stick. Bake on center rack of 350° oven for 28-30 minutes, or until puffed through to the center with a slight spring on top when touched with index finger. Remove from oven, place on a wire rack and cool completely, about 2 hours, prior to slathering with your favorite frosting or dusting with Confectioners' sugar. Better yet: A simple dollop of freshly-whipped cream or a generous scoop of ice cream will do nicely.
Light & moist & so easy even a cave man can bake it!
Special Equipment List: hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; 13" x 9" x 2", 3-quart cake pan or casserole dish; wire cooling rack
Cook's Note: When it comes to baking, even a recipe as easy as today's is a semi-precise to precise sport. It's important to use the ingredients called for in the recipe, weigh or measure them accurately, and not make any substitutions or whimsical additions. A complete understanding of flour types is a great place to start. Click into Categories, 5, 6, 7, 13 or 16 and read: ~ Flour Facts: All-purpose, Bread, Cake and Pastry ~. A successful baker is a happy baker!
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2017)