My first memory of this cake takes me back to when I was younger at my aunt's house. We were playing “guess the ingredients in this recipe” and I remember losing, as I had no clue that mayonnaise could be added to chocolate cake.
The beauty about this sheet cake, apart from the chocolate of course, is it’s a great make ahead dessert that comfortably feeds a crowd. You can bake it in a throw away aluminum container, making it travel friendly for picnics. I love making this recipe when I am invited over to a friend's house as it is not only polite to go with something, but also chocolate is a good ice breaker.
Mayonnaise Cake History
Even though the addition of mayonnaise in cake sounds strange, it dates back before the Depression era, when resourceful bakers added mayonnaise to cakes instead of butter, eggs, and other dairy ingredients like milk or sour cream. It was later popularized by the mayonnaise company Best Foods in order to promote their product. It wasn’t only added in chocolate cake; there are other mayonnaise cake recipes with spices, nuts, and fruits.
What Does Mayonnaise Add to Cakes?
Mayonnaise is made up of eggs, oil, and acid. When we add it to the batter it ensures a very soft and fluffy cake. Flavor-wise, you don’t taste the mayonnaise in the baked cake.
Ideally, use a full-fat mayonnaise for the best results. You can use low fat in this recipe, but it will affect the texture of the cake and make it a little chewy. I wouldn’t recommend using vegan mayonnaise in this recipe.
The Best Cocoa Powder for This Recipe
This recipe calls for an unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder, as it gives an intense chocolate flavor to the cake. You could use any unsweetened cocoa powder you have on hand. I prefer Dutch processed as it is darker with a richness that feels more indulgent.
To Frost or Not to Frost?
The cake is satisfying on its own, but the addition of the frosting not only adds more flavor but texture as well. It is silky smooth and creamy which makes every bite scrumptious. Hence my recommendation is to frost.
Sensational Sheet Cakes
Chocolate Mayonnaise Sheet Cake
For the cake
Butter, for greasing the pan
2 cups (242g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (120g) unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (177ml) hot water
2 tablespoons (30g) instant coffee powder or instant espresso powder
2 large eggs
1 cup (220g) sugar
1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup (260g) mayonnaise
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the frosting
1/2 cup (80g) finely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons (30g) unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 cup (130g) powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
- 9x13-inch baking pan
Preheat the oven:
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Brush a 9x13-inch sheet pan with a little butter and set aside.
Mix the dry ingredients:
In a medium bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt until evenly combined. Set aside.
Mix wet ingredients:
In a glass measuring cup, add the instant coffee to the hot water. Mix until dissolved and set aside.
Beat the mayonnaise and sugars:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the mayonnaise and white and brown sugars using an electric beater just until pale and creamy.
Add the eggs:
Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula periodically to ensure everything is getting incorporated. Pour in the vanilla and beat to mix.
Fold the wet and dry ingredients together:
Roughly divide the dry ingredients in thirds and add the first third to the egg mayonnaise mixture with half of the hot coffee. Beat until combined. Add the second part of the dry ingredients with the other half of the hot coffee and beat well.
Add the final third of the dry ingredients and give it a good mix. The batter should be neither stiff nor runny.
Bake the cake:
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake at 350°F (180°C) for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs (not wet cake batter but sticky chocolate crumbs). Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
Melt the chocolate:
In a small microwaveable bowl, melt the dark chocolate in a microwave using 20-second intervals until smooth, stirring between each interval. (It should take 40-70 seconds total). Set the chocolate aside to cool.
Beat the butter and sugar:
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until it’s creamy and fluffy.
Add the powdered sugar to the creamed butter. Starting on the lowest speed, beat the mixture together. As the sugar gets incorporated, increase the speed and beat the frosting for 2-3 minutes on high speed.
Add the cocoa powder:
Add the cocoa powder to the frosting and beat well until combined. Make sure to scrape down the sides every now and then for a smooth frosting.
Add the cream and cooled melted chocolate:
Add the cream and melted dark chocolate to the frosting and beat well until combined. Let this set in the fridge for 10 minutes before frosting the cake.
Make sure the melted chocolate has had a chance to cool slightly.
Spread the frosting over the cooled cake and create a swirls using your spatula or the back of a spoon.
Serve and store:
Slice and serve the cake.
Once the cake is baked, leave it in the baking tin and cover it with plastic wrap. Leave it at room temperature for 1 day or refrigerate for up to 7 days.
Once the sheet cake is frosted you can store it in the fridge for 3 days, however when you are ready to eat, let the cake come to room temperature before slicing as the frosting will be hard.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 33g||42%|
|Saturated Fat 13g||63%|
|Total Carbohydrate 58g||21%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||6%|
|Total Sugars 38g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|