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Mayonnaise Cake | How To Make this 1950’s Classic Recipe

Our chocolate mayonnaise cake from 1956 is a rich chocolate cake, moist and dense with a chocolate buttercream frosting and is the stuff that dreams are made of.

This vintage chocolate cake recipe will quickly become your favorite chocolate cake!

Don’t you just love those sliced strawberries on top? If you follow my tips for this incredibly moist cake, you can say goodbye to all those old dry chocolate cakes of the past.

This homemade, one bowl scratch cake is so easy to make you’ll also say goodbye to cake mixes!  Promise!


You will need: 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 cup white sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 cups all purpose flour, 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 cup water and an 8 X 8 or 9 X 9 square baking pan.

Why Mayonnaise?

Why would I put mayonnaise in a cake?

Yup, you heard right.  When you think about it, it all makes sense, since mayonnaise is full of eggs and oil right?  Until I found this recipe in Grandma’s Recipe Book that she had clipped from a Hellmann’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake ad, I had no idea.

piece of chocolate cake with sliced strawberries on top shows fork ready to take a bite of cake white plate with rest of cake in background

But since then, since making my very own Chocolate Mayo Cake, lots and lots of folks have shared their Mom or Grandma used to make it for them too!

I was so surprised when many of you said that this Chocolate Cake Recipe reminded you of the cakes from your childhood!  This old fashioned recipe really struck an emotional chord with so many and that makes any baker happy!

Kind of full circle, don’t you think?

I just love it when you share your experiences. We have a great group of folks over at Easy as Pie Recipes & More.  Come on over and join us!

Why do I call this awesome chocolate cake recipe old fashioned?  Well…..

My grandparents lived on a farm and lived through the Great Depression.  So I’m sure you understand that they would use up everything they could, since you didn’t know when you be able to get that something again.

hocolate Mayonnaise Cake square on a white plate on white wooden table with sliced strawberries arranged on top and side

Things like envelopes became note paper, and at some point, my Grandma must have come across an old financial ledger that wasn’t being used.

So what did she do?  Yes, you’re right.  That’s when she started to write down her famous recipes.

Or she would clip them from the weekly newspaper.  That’s how I found so many of her old recipes, including this one from Hellman’s Mayonnaise.

Many of these recipes were from the 40’s and 50’s, so maybe I should have used the word ‘vintage’ instead.  But when I think of my Grandma, vintage doesn’t come to mind.

She was a delight, and certainly very old-fashioned by today’s standards.

I remember visiting during the summer months and staying for a week or two.  We always had so much fun, playing with the neighbourhood kids, catching frogs in the creek behind their house, watching thunderstorms in the summer porch.

And every once in a while, when it wasn’t too hot, Grandma would bake.  Often it was her famous Date & Nut Cookies, but sometimes, if my brother and I had been on our best behaviour, she would bake a Chocolate Mayo Cake.

We often squabbled over who would get the corner piece, you know the one with all that fudgy chocolate frosting?

But usually my Grandfather would solve the squabble and take it for himself!

My husband Mark loves chocolate cake, and I’ve made several different recipes.  I even recently made him the Ding Dong Cake from!  Now that was a lot of work, but definitely worth the effort.

Mark loves my Chocolate Cake too, so every now and then…..

small piece of chocolate cake on a white plate with a sliced strawberry fanned on top of chocolate buttercream icing

I’m so grateful that I have all of Grandma’s recipes to this day, and you will see some of her other recipes on the blog.

I’m starting to work my way through them, so stay tuned! Her Chocolate Fudge Cake is amazing!  And be sure to check out our Orange Cranberry Bundt Cake Recipe!

Want even more chocolate? Grandma’s homemade chocolate pie is to die for!

So making this Hellman’s chocolate mayonnaise cake was certainly a labor of love!

It’s so easy and the taste is out of this world!  In my research for this post I also found similar mayonnaise cake recipes like Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake from Southern Living, Taste of Home and of course an updated one from Hellman’s!

Some bakers have even created a Chocolate Mayonnaise Sheet Cake.

Tips for a Perfect Cake

  • Use fresh ingredients.  Baking ingredients like flour and baking soda, even cocoa have expiry dates on them
  • Grease and flour your baking pan to make it easy to serve
  • I use Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise, but use real mayonnaise, not a salad dressing blend
  • Follow all of the directions carefully
  • Let the cake cool completely before frosting, or you will have a runny mess on your hands
Slice of chocolate cake with sliced strawberries on top shown on white plate with whole cake in background

As I mentioned above, Grandma was an amazing cook, raised on a farm, and had to provide hot and hearty meals to the farm hands every day for their noon dinner.

I can only imagine what time she had to get up to make the meal, since we’re talking early 1900’s and no modern-day appliances to ease the work!  Well fast forward to today and her recipes still live on.

Here’s a list of the ingredients you will need:

 How Do I Make This Recipe?

Directions –  Preheat oven to 350F
1. Mix the mayonnaise, sugar and vanilla together in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.
3. Add the flour mixture alternatively to the mayonnaise mixture, and add the cold water
4. Pour batter into a 9 X 9 greased and floured baking pan.
5. Bake at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
6. Cool completely and frost with a Dark Chocolate Buttercream Frosting.

And serve with a big scoop of French Vanilla Ice Cream!

Please take a minute and watch the step by step video.  You will see that with a few easy steps, you can create this awesome cake.  It will feed 9 hungry people with a generous slice or 12 smaller slices.

See the video below to follow for step by step instructions.  It’s had over 75K views on Facebook!

In the comments below one of my readers turned my chocolate mayonnaise cake recipe completely gluten free and vegan! 

She used gluten free flour and Hellman’s Vegan Mayonnaise.

How’s that for being creative!

This Old Fashioned Mayonnaise Cake batter mixes up very quickly and the ingredients are right in your pantry.  I think everyone has a jar of mayonnaise on hand.

I just love using a bundt pan for cake recipes, but this time I decided to use a 9X9 square pan and I’m glad I did!  The cake rises beautifully, and because you grease and flour the pan, it will drop out quite nicely on an inverted cake plate.

square chocolate cake corner with sliced strawberries on a white square plate

The dark chocolate buttercream completes this rich and decadent cake.  You can see my buttercream recipe right here.   I think any Mom or Grandma would be happy to receive such a delightful sweet treat anytime!

The Best Old Fashioned Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake Recipe

This cake is the real deal.  No boring cake mix, or a chocolate cake that dries out after the first slice.

Moist, melt in your mouth deliciousness that a really good chocolate cake delivers.  You will be asked for this cake over and over, birthdays, potlucks, bake sales, and just because.

Chocolate Cake is a very important part of our daily life, in my humble opinion, and this Mayonnaise Cake is about to become a big part of yours!

If you love the recipe as much as the folks below did, please give it a 5 star rating in the recipe card.

slice of chocolate cake on a white plate with sliced strawberries on top of chocolate frosting with whole cake in background

Old Fashioned Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake Recipe

Yield: 9 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

This luscious and deliciously moist Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake Recipe comes from my Grandma's old recipe ledger. It's so easy and the taste is out of this world!


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup water, cold


  1. Mix the mayonnaise, sugar and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.
  3. Add the flour mixture alternatively to the mayonnaise mixture, and add the cold water
  4. Pour batter into a 9 X 9 greased and floured baking pan.
  5. Bake at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Icing:
  7. Ice with a Dark Chocolate Buttercream and serve with a big scoop of French Vanilla Ice Cream!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 9 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 364Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 437mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 1gSugar: 22gProtein: 4g

Like this recipe?

Be sure to follow us @pieladybakes for more recipes like this! xo

You may also like these amazing recipes that are reader favorites!

Related: Chocolate Fudge Cake | A Quick and Easy Recipe and Oh So Decadent! 

This recipe will become your family’s favorite, for birthdays, parties and potlucks.


This luscious and deliciously moist Old Fashioned Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake Recipe is Grandma approved. A One Bowl Scratch Cake, it's so easy to make and the taste is out of this world! #Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake Southern Living, #Hellman's Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake, #Taste of Home Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake #chocolate #chocolatecake #mayonnaisecake #chocolatemayonnaisecake #oldfashioned #vintagerecipes #moist

xo, Judy

piece of chocolate cake on white plate with sliced strawberries on top

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Judy Kahansky is an experienced baker and writer. She loves to take classic and vintage recipes and update them to fit the busy lives of her readers. When not baking, Judy and her husband Mark are passionate golfers, travelers and dog lovers, spending as much time as they can with their sweet pup Millie.


Wednesday 13th of July 2022

Can I use Dukes mayo, I'm a southern girl, and that's all I ever buy.

Judy Kahansky

Thursday 14th of July 2022

Hi Sallie, sure, whatever mayo you wish to use!


Tuesday 16th of February 2021

Hello, Will this recipe work for a 8inch round springform pan ?

Judy Kahansky

Saturday 20th of February 2021

Hi, I've never baked it that way myself. You could try baking it in two round layer pans though.


Tuesday 16th of February 2021

Finding this recipe brought tears & joy to my heart ... it was the first cake I ever made at the ripe old age of 8 years old!! My mother rarely allowed us in the kitchen and some how in time my siblings became the great cooks and I became the baker.

I made it for my daughter & son-in-law for Valentine's Day. It was extremely easy to make, I did have everything in my pantry except the Mayo, ha. I couldn't use your suggested frosting as is (I'm allergic to raw eggs) so I omitted the egg. The frosting was very thick. For sure I could have thinned it out a bit, but it worked well for my Chocoholics. =) Funny thing, they were watching a video about a famous "Chocolate Cake Shake" and the rumor was that Mayonnaise was the secret ingredient ... neither commented about it being weird so I didn't confess it was in my cake. =)

~Thank you for reminding me of a wonderful moment in time.

Judy Kahansky

Saturday 20th of February 2021

That's a great story, thanks for sharing!

Dennis Greek

Thursday 29th of October 2020

looking for a reply to my comment

Judy Kahansky

Sunday 1st of November 2020

Hey Dennis I hope the replies help you out. I would love to see a photo of your cake the next time.

Dennis Greek

Wednesday 28th of October 2020

Hi Judy! mayonaise cake is wonderful, and I enjoy making them, but, for some reason, mke cake doesn't rise very much. I used a nine by thirteen glass cake dish, is that my mistake?

Judy Kahansky

Sunday 1st of November 2020

Hi Dennis - 9 X 13 dish is fine, but you would need to double your recipe. Thanks for asking!

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