When our dear friend Pat passed away four years ago, it was a tremendous loss to our family for many reasons; including the fact that she was an AWESOME cake maker. If she heard someone had something, anything, to celebrate…she volunteered to make the cake. I used to think she was crazy for doing this as her efforts often resulted in she and her incredibly supportive husband nerve-wrackingly and carefully hauling multi-tiered wedding cakes hundreds of miles to their joyful destination. She found great joy in providing this service and her loving husband would do anything for Pat.
The void she left forced me to step up to take on baking our grandson’s birthday cakes. They were used to her spectacular offerings, but were young enough to appreciate my initial, somewhat pitiful, efforts. I figured if they were colorful, topped with lots of their favorite characters (knights, pirates etc.), we’d be o.k…however, they are getting a bit more savvy in their requests and discerning in their tastes, so this year, I recruited expert help…Grandpa. While I am good at the cake baking…I am deficient in the design and decorating department…this is where the meticulous skill of Grandpa (who has an award winning history in cake making) stepped in as creative designer and decorator. The result was the best looking cake ever…a Pirate Lego Cake, with a mini M&M’s Chocolate Candies river. Everyone who tasted the cake “just loved it.” My daughter told me it was the best cake I ever made (the cake part)…it was Mom’s Mayo Cake recipe. It is foolproof. Use this. You can’t go wrong. Below is the recipe. Two notes: use Best Foods/Hellman’s regular mayonnaise (really, don’t fool around with anything else) and don’t over bake your cake…really…Pat always told me this…don’t over bake your cake! Nothing is worse in baking than a dry cake 🙂 Words according to Pat.
I didn’t want to be short on cake…knowing many children would be at the boy’s birthday party, so I made a third batch into mini and regular sized cupcakes…these were back up and easy to grab and go for those not staying for cake.
The infamous Best Foods Mayonnaise Cake recipe...a classic. My version has reduced the sugar by 1/4 cup as the rich chocolate and vanilla flavors pop when not masked by too much sugar. My mother made this recipe for decades…she never frosted it, just dusted it with powdered sugar. It is delicious with a cup of tea.
Makes 24 cupcakes, or one 9” x 13” cake, or one Bundt pan cake, or one 9” two-layer cake, or one layer half-sheet cake
PREP TIME: 20 minutes TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes (includes full cake baking time)
Preheat oven to 350° F.
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 ½ cups BestFood’s/Hellmann’s brand mayonnaise
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups fresh water
8 tablespoons best quality unsweetened cocoa; reserve until after batter is prepared (I use Ghiradelli or Dean & Deluca Dutch processed)
Mix dry ingredients together, except for the cocoa.
Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix for about 2 minutes using a hand mixer or with a wooden spoon.
Reserve 2 cups of the batter and add the cocoa to this reserved batter; put aside.
Pour remaining vanilla batter into your baking pan of choice: a 9” by 13” cake pan, large angel food cake pan, Bundt pan, cupcake pan that is lined with paper baking cups, or two 9” cake pans for a two-layer cake. With a spoon, dollop the reserved chocolate batter in various spots onto the vanilla batter.
Using a table knife or skewer, gently swirl this chocolate batter in a circular motion to create a marbling effect with the vanilla batter. Be careful not to touch the sides or bottom of the baking pan while swirling.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until tester comes out clean for a full-sized cake. Do not over bake.
Bake 18 to 20 minutes for a regular cupcake size or 8 to 9 minutes for a mini cupcake.
Bake 9 minutes for mini cupcakes
Bake 20 minutes for one layer, half sheet pan sized cake
Here is a photo depicting the swirling in of the chocolate batter into a bundt sized cake…