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Grandma Moore’s Easy Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake piece

For some reason, I recently had a hankering for Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake, a staple in our house when I was growing up. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a wonderfully moist chocolate cake that was created, according to food legend, by the wife of a Hellman’s salesman to help increase his sales. Although it may seem like an odd ingredient, the mayonnaise is used in place of eggs and oil, making it handy to throw together with just a few pantry ingredients. It was probably one of the first cake recipes that I could make on my own (by age 11 or so), carefully following the directions on the back of the Hellman’s Mayonnaise jar. I thought that I’d be able to find the recipe online, but it proved to be a bit of a challenge.  None of the current recipes matched the one I followed years ago (most used a cake mix). I knew that the original recipe called for boiling water, because it was the one step that always made me nervous as I poured the hot water in a measuring cup. I decided to search the always reliable Cook’s Illustrated for the recipe. They have one that uses mayonnaise called “The Best Easy Chocolate Cake”, which has been updated to included chopped bittersweet chocolate and brewed coffee, and though sounded great, I was on a mission to find the cake of my youth. I phoned my Mom, who said she hadn’t made it in years, but recalled that indeed “there was always a mayonnaise cake in our kitchen”.  She suggested calling my Aunt, who still had a copy of the now vintage PTA cookbook, which she felt would surely contain the recipe. As predicted, my aunt had the recipe but it turned out to be her mother’s recipe, so I was thrilled to try my grandmother’s recipe for mayonnaise cake. The method was exactly as I remembered and the resulting cake was spot on – utterly moist with uniquely chocolate flavor.

Grandma Moore’s Easy Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Makes one 9" square cake

 Download Grandma Moore's Easy Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake recipe

1/3 cup Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa

1 cup boiling water

11/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup mayonnaise

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and adjust racks to middle position. Grease and flour 9x9” square or use baking spray.

2. Whisk together cocoa and boiling water in a medium bowl until smooth and cool to room temperature. When cool, whisk in vanilla and mayonnaise.

3. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, soda and salt. Add chocolate mixture and beat on low speed for 30 seconds to combine. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 1 minute until smooth.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 23-26 minutes or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean and cake springs back when lightly pressed.

5. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack, 1 to 2 hours. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, cut into squares, and serve straight from the pan; or turn cake out onto serving platter and dust with confectioners’ sugar or frost with favorite vanilla buttercream or cream cheese frosting.

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake baked


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I used mayo in a spice cake I make. I got the recipe from a baker friend years ago and I love how moist the cake comes out. This chocolate one looks scrumptious!

Aileen Foo

Never really thought of using mayo on a cake before. Interesting combination of ingredients that require further investigating. This will be my next dessert dish.

Jo Bev Fain

This is my 44 yr. old son's favorite cake. He requests it almost every year for his birthday. Making it today. The vanilla buttercream frosting is so good on it too. It brings out the rich dark flavor of the cake rather than competing with a chocolate frosting!

Jo Bev Fain

Forgot to mention, my Mother's Mother was a Moore. I got my recipe from her! Coincidence?!


It must be a "Moore" tradition - enjoy!

Can the ingredients be doubled to make a 13x9 cake?


yes, doubled will work fine in a 9x13 - enjoy!


the picture looks very good and I think it has a great taste

Stephenie Zamora

This photo looks exactly like the ones I used to make...was looking for the recipe and this sounds like it. Going to give it a try today. Thanks!

It is too simple!!! Today on my mother’s birthday, we made this cake. It was very delicious!!!! Everyone praised of this cake.

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