Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

This rich, moist chocolate mayonnaise cake is an old-fashioned Southern favorite that’s perfect for feeding a crowd. Made with handy pantry ingredients like mayo and cocoa, it’s topped with a luscious chocolate-cream cheese frosting.

Can I use a different mayonnaise? 

Yes, you can use your favorite mayonnaise variety in place of Duke’s. Just avoid low-fat or miracle whip types as they won’t provide the right texture.

Do I have to use hot water?

Yes, the hot water is important to activate the baking soda and keep the cake light and fluffy. You can heat plain tap water until very hot but not boiling.

Can I make this cake gluten-free? 

You can attempt a gluten-free version using an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend plus xanthan gum or guar gum to add binding power. The texture may be a bit different.

How long does the cake last?

 Properly stored in an airtight container at room temperature, the cake will last 3-4 days. Frosted, the cake keeps for 1-2 days refrigerated.

Can I freeze the cake?

Yes! Let the unfrosted cake layers cool completely first. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap then foil. The frosted cake also freezes well up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Yield: 12 servings

Total Time: 1 hour


  • 250 grams all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
  • 80 grams unsweetened cocoa powder (about 2/3 cup)
  • 5 grams baking soda (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2.5 grams ground cinnamon (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1.5 grams table salt (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 3 grams baking powder (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 60 grams shortening (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 190 grams lightly packed light brown sugar (about 1 2/3 cups)
  • 10 mL vanilla extract (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 250 grams mayonnaise (about 1 cup)
  • 315 mL hot water (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with shortening and line with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and baking powder until well combined.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and brown sugar together until thickened and pale in color, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and mayonnaise until well combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients alternately with the hot water, mixing well after each addition just until incorporated.
  5. Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Recipe by
  6. Allow cake to cool completely in pan on a wire rack before frosting.
  7. Once cool, frost cake generously with Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting. Slice and serve.

Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. In a medium bowl, beat 225 grams softened cream cheese, 115 grams softened butter, 30 mL milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 300 grams confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Mix in 60 grams melted semisweet chocolate until well combined.


  • Use room temperature ingredients. Allowing your eggs, milk, and mayonnaise to come to room temp first prevents the batter from curdling or cooking unevenly.
  • Don’t over-mix the batter. Gently fold the wet and dry ingredients together just until there are no more flour streaks. Overbeating causes tunneling and a dense texture.
  • Check for doneness before removing from the oven. Insert a toothpick into the center of the cake – if it comes out clean with no batter clinging to it, the cake is ready.
  • Allow cake layers to cool completely before assembling and frosting. This allows the crumb to set up properly for clean slicing and filling.
  • Use an offset spatula to evenly spread the frosting. Hold it at a slight angle while applying smooth, even layers of frosting over the top and sides. This creates the neatest presentation.


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