Sunday, August 14, 2011

World War II Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

      This retro recipe for World War II Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake from America's Best Lost Recipes was born out of necessity when oil and eggs were scarce and rationed during the war.  While making this moist cake I couldn't help but think of all the mothers and grandmothers in starched aprons baking this wonderful dessert for their husbands and sons who were marching off to war or returning from the battlefield.  Bake this easy to assemble cake in your 10 inch dutch oven and line it with parchment paper or foil for easier removal.  This was ready in 30 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 18-20 on the lid.  Check it after 20 minutes, you may have to add or remove a few coals to make sure the center is cooking all the way through.  Making a cooked frosting was a new experience for me, I doubled the recipe and I'm glad I did because I had just enough to cover the sides of the cake.  Once the frosting cooled it became harder to spread and I ended up patting it on with the back of a spoon.  Even if it didn't look quite as I expected the taste more than made up for it.  The rich, sweet, butterscotch frosting was the perfect topping to the dense, chocolate cake.  Use your favorite canned variety if you like a lighter, fluffier frosting.  Not only is this cake easy to make but it's a way to honor America's past and the home cooks that have gone before us. 

World War II Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup water
For the frosting:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup confectioners sugar

     Lightly oil or spray a 10 inch dutch and line with parchment paper.
     Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl.
     Stir the mayonnaise, granulated sugar and vanilla together in a large bowl until smooth. 
     Add the water and stir until combined.
     Whisk in the flour mixture until incorporated. 
     Pour into prepared dutch oven and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in dutch oven for 20 minutes before removing.
     For the frosting, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
     Stir in the brown sugar and bring to a boil.  Boil until the mixture begins to thicken, about 2 minutes, then off the heat, carefully stir in the milk.
     Return to a boil, then remove from the heat to cool until just warm, about 30 minutes.
     Stir in the confectioners sugar and spread the icing evenly over the cake.  The cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Bake in your parchment lined 10 inch oven

After 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven

A buttery, dense frosting

Dust with a little cocoa powder and enjoy a real old fashioned dessert


  1. Oh my goodness! I saw this recipe today, looking for something with chocolate and thought I'd give it a try. I cannot believe how absolutely awesome this cake it. It was so moist and spongy, it knocks the socks off any store-bought cake mix. The butter and brown sugar frosting produces miraculous results! Love it, love it. Also, I made this while my wife was gone and didn't tell her about the mayonnaise. She's not much of a mayo fan but she raved about this cake. Thanks for posting!

    1. Wow, really glad you liked the cake Aaron, thanks for reminding me how good it is, will have to make it again soon, what a nice surprise for your wife! Liddy

  2. It's been a while since I've made this. Whipped it up today after church. Such a great recipe!

    1. Aaron, you are on a roll, your family is so lucky to have you as their personal chef, you are an adventurous cook! Glad to hear the cake came out well, as always, thanks for the feedback, Liddy

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