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Lisa Shock

Mayonnaise or Tangy Salad Dressing Chocolate Cake

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The basic formula for these cakes was developed by the wife of a mayonnaise salesman in an effort to help him out. I did a bit of research, and have found many variations. Early variants generally involve using less cocoa, which I cannot recommend. Later variants involve using cold water instead of boiling, adding salt, and additional leaveners. I personally do not feel that any additional salt is needed, as mayonnaise and that famous, tangy brand of salad dressing (sometimes the label just says 'Dressing') both contain a fair amount of salt. If you are using homemade mayonnaise or a low sodium product, an eighth teaspoon of salt may boost the flavor a bit. And, of course, somewhere along the way fans who prefer a certain salad dressing over mayonnaise started using it to make this cake. Nowadays, the Hellman's website has a different formula -one with added eggs and baking powder. I have not tried this newer formulation.

 

Some versions of this recipe specify sifted cake flour. This will result in a very light cake with virtually no structural integrity, due to the paucity of eggs in this recipe compared to a regular cake. Cupcakes made this way give beautifully light results. However, every time I try to make a traditional 8" double layer cake with cake flour, I experience collapse. I recommend AP flour or at least a mix of cake and pastry flour.

 

I have never made this with a gluten-free flour replacer. This recipe does not have very much structural integrity and as such does not make a good candidate for a gluten-free cake.

 

I have made this cake many times, the type of sandwich spread you choose will affect the outcome. Made with mayonnaise, the cake has a good chocolate flavor and moistness. Made with that famous, tangy, off-white salad dressing that gets used as a sandwich spread, the cake has a subtle bit of extra brightness to the flavor. If one chooses to use a vegan mayonnaise, the result is tasty but lacking a little in structure; I would bake this in a square pan and frost and serve from the pan.

 

The cocoa you use will also affect the flavor.  For a classic, homey flavor use a supermarket brand of cocoa. To add a little sophistication, use better, artisan type cocoa and use chocolate extract instead of the vanilla extract.

 

Supposedly, the traditional frosting for this cake should have a caramel flavor. Look for one where you actually caramelize some sugar first. Modern recipes for the icing seem like weak imitations to me; using brown sugar as the main flavor instead of true caramel.

 

Chocolate Mayonnaise or Salad Dressing Cake

makes enough for two 8" round pans, or a 9" square (about 7 cups of batter)

 

2 ounces/56g unsweetened, non-alkalized cocoa

1 cup/236g boiling water

1 teaspoon/4g regular strength vanilla extract

3/4 cup/162g mayonnaise, vegan mayonnaise, or salad dressing (the tangy, off-white, sandwich spread type dressing)

10.5ounces/300g all-purpose flour

7 ounces/200g sugar

0.35ounce/10g baking soda

 

Preheat your oven to 350°.

Grease or spray two 8" round pans or an equivalent volume square or rectangle.

Place the cocoa in a medium (4-5 cup) bowl. Add the hot water and stir with a fork to break up any clumps. Allow to cool down a little,  then add the vanilla extract and the mayonnaise or salad dressing spread. Beat well to eliminate lumps. In the bowl of an electric mixer or larger regular bowl if making by hand, sift in the flour and add the sugar and baking soda. Mix the dry ingredients to distribute evenly. Slowly beat in the cocoa mixture. Mix until the batter has an even color. Pour immediately into the pans. If making two 8" rounds, weigh them to ensure they contain equal amounts.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the center of the top springs back when touched lightly. (The toothpick test does NOT work well on this moist cake!) Allow the cake to cool a little and shrink from the sides of the pan before removing. Removal is easier while still a little warm.

Good with or without frosting.

Good beginner cake for kids to make.

 

 

 


Edited by Lisa Shock (log)
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Great recipe! Thank you for doing all the research for us. You certainly have covered all the bases.

I just want to point out that you do not mention at what point you add the mayonnaise.

Just a quick story about this cake from my childhood. My father had lots of imaginary allergies. He just knew that if  mayonnaise ever passed his lips he would surely die. After my oldest sister was married, she found the recipe for this cake. Since chocolate cake was his favorite, She brought it to all the family gatherings. He always had seconds and sometimes thirds and never had a second of pain. She got the most unholy glee out of that. She always was kind of a nasty person.

Thank you for this great recipe.


Edited by Tropicalsenior editing error (log)
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Back in the '70s my kids like to make a similar cake. They would ask me to buy a jar because they didn't think my homemade mayo or salad dressing would work correctly.

 

I kept one of the pint jars after one such effort, hidden way at the back of my fridge (had a lock on it) and when I made a batch of one of my homemade stuff, I made extra and filled the jar and shifted it to the fridge that held their stuff.

Liz made the cake a week or so later and no one commented that it was any different.  So I continued doing it.  After a few months I had to buy a new jar because the label was beginning to look iffy.

 

Incidentally, two morning ago I made a pint of mayonnaise and I wanted a bit more "tang" than usual so I added 2 rounded tablespoons of CAPERS to the ingredients in the mini food processor.  Wonderful flavor.  Was perfect in my "rustic" potato salad.  (skins left on).

 

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7 hours ago, Tropicalsenior said:

Great recipe! Thank you for doing all the research for us. You certainly have covered all the bases.

I just want to point out that you do not mention at what point you add the mayonnaise.

 

 

Thanks for pointing that out, I have edited that bit in. This recipe uses the 'Muffin Method' of assembly, wet ingredients mixed together, dry ingredients mixed together, then combined. (with sugar viewed as 'dry' in this case, unlike in other cakes where it's 'wet')

 

@andiesenji, clever business there, tricking the kids! The tangy dressing contains several extra ingredients: garlic powder, sugar, spices, and extra vinegar. It contains less oil (it cannot be called mayonnaise for this reason) and less egg. However, it does contain starch which helps the cake structure. My best results for this cake have been with the MW salad dressing -which I also have a recipe for. (hmmm....)

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3 hours ago, Lisa Shock said:

Thanks for pointing that out, I have edited that bit in. This recipe uses the 'Muffin Method' of assembly, wet ingredients mixed together, dry ingredients mixed together, then combined. (with sugar viewed as 'dry' in this case, unlike in other cakes where it's 'wet')

 

@andiesenji, clever business there, tricking the kids! The tangy dressing contains several extra ingredients: garlic powder, sugar, spices, and extra vinegar. It contains less oil (it cannot be called mayonnaise for this reason) and less egg. However, it does contain starch which helps the cake structure. My best results for this cake have been with the MW salad dressing -which I also have a recipe for. (hmmm....)

 

I make it, have done so for decades.  For my latest batches of mayonnaise and salad dressing, I have been using avocado oil and it is fantastic.

I use whole eggs in both and I save the liquid from my bread and butter pickles and use that in the salad dressing, aka MW.  And I use  Beaver Brand sweet-hot mustard instead of dijon in the salad dressing.  Produces a wonderful "tang" perfect for sandwiches, salads when you want more "bite" than with mayonnaise.

 

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On 7/5/2018 at 2:45 PM, andiesenji said:

Incidentally, two morning ago I made a pint of mayonnaise and I wanted a bit more "tang" than usual so I added 2 rounded tablespoons of CAPERS to the ingredients in the mini food processor.  Wonderful flavor.  Was perfect in my "rustic" potato salad.  (skins left on).

 

Please remind me not to try that in chocolate cake!

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