Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake ~ a Southern Cake for the Groom

Groom cakeThis Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake was the companion cake at my sister’s Friday night pre-wedding family shindig. Groom, Mike likes chocolate. I like chocolate. I like Mike and wanted to make him a chocolatey cake from Nancie McDermott’s Southern Cakes – Sweet and Irresistible Recipes for Everyday Celebrations. But OOPS — three mistakes got me THIS close to possibly wrecking my relationship with Mike… read what I did…

  1. I picked the wrong recipe. California heatwave was upon us; we had to drive over an hour in late afternoon to the party. I picked a icing recipe that SHOULD have been used immediately – it said so right there on the page. But I erred on the side of safety (as in, don’t-let-the-frosted-cake-arrive-all-mushed-up), and chose to bring all the parts to the party and frost there. The icing was too stiff by then (I chilled it), so it was rough going to frost.
  2. I used the wrong mayonnaise. Mayo is eggs and oil, don’t be bothered about it being in a cake, it makes total sense. But the mayo in our ‘fridge was Trader Joe’s Organic, not Best Foods or Hellman’s. TJ mayo is heavier, oilier and saltier. I could taste my mistake.
  3. My pieces of wax paper were too large. Home Ec 1-0-1: place wax paper strips under the bottom layer, frost the cake and then {theoretically} simply slide the papers out for a clean plate edge. Except my pieces were big and it was like trying to pull a rug out from under a dresser. My layers got a little stuck. *sigh*

happyThat said, both recipes are a thumbs-up to me. Simple to bake. Chocolatey. Dark. Dense.  It was a guy cake. Mike had other things on his mind that evening, so if ever there was the right time to screw up his cake, that was it.  PS – to learn about the rubber ducky cake toppers, read my post on the bride-inspired Coconut-Pineapple Cake.

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake from Southern Cakes

  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

TO MAKE THE CAKE: heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8-inch or 9-inch (I made 9-inch) round cake pans generously, line the bottom of each pan with a circle of kitchen parchment, grease the paper and flour the pan. Measure the cocoa into a medium bowl, add the boiling water, stirring with a whisk or a fork to mix them together well. Set aside to cool.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and stir with a fork to mix everything together well.

When the cocoa mixture has cooled, add the mayonnaise and vanilla, and stir with a wooden spoon, spatula or whisk to combine everything well. Gently sprinkle the flour mixture onto the batter and then beat until the batter is smooth and thin. Quickly divide the batter among the pans.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cakes spring back when touched gently in the center and are beginning to pull away from the sides of the pans. Cool completely in the pans on wire racks or folded kitchen towels.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge Frosting from Southern Cakes (page 151) – I chose this because the description said it “sets up like fudge” – TOTALLY TRUE. I didn’t get it onto the cake before it did (my fault, needed to travel with it), but it was definitely yummy.

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cocoa and salt, and stir or whisk to mix everything well.  Add the butter and milk, and place over medium heat, stirring to melt the butter and mix everything together into a smooth, brown sauce.

Stir well and bring the frosting to a lively boil, stirring often.

Adjust the heat to maintain an active but gentle boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. When the frosting begins to thicken, remove it from the heat, stir in the vanilla and set it aside to cool for about 20 minutes.

Beat the frosting just until it thickens and looks shiny, and then spread it over the cake or layers.

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