Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake Recipe

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Our chocolate mayonnaise cake is rich, moist and dense, and made even more decadent by a chocolate buttercream frosting. It’s the stuff that dreams are made of.

This mayonnaise cake recipe from the 1950s will quickly become your favorite chocolate cake for that special occasion!

An easy recipe, if you follow my tips to make this incredibly moist cake, you can say goodbye to all those old dry chocolate cakes of the past.

With such easy-to-follow instructions, this old fashioned mayonnaise cake is a one-bowl cake is so quick to make you’ll say goodbye to boxed cake mixes! Promise!

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


Before starting, head to the grocery store and get all the ingredients you need. For equipment, be sure to have an 8 X 8 or 9 X 9 square baking pan.

  • Mayonnaise
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • All purpose flour
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Baking soda
  • Eggs

How to make the best chocolate mayonnaise cake 1956

First preheat your oven to 350 F.

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.


  1. Use fresh ingredients. Baking ingredients like flour and baking soda, even cocoa have expiry dates.
  2. Grease and flour your baking pan to make it easy to serve.
  3. I use Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise, always use real mayonnaise, not a salad dressing blend.
  4. Let the cake cool completely before frosting, or you will have a runny mess on your hands.
  5. Always preheat your oven.


What pan should I use for my cake?

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.

How do you make buttercream frosting?

The dark chocolate buttercream frosting completes this rich and decadent cake. You can see my buttercream recipe right here.

How to serve chocolate mayonnaise cake

Usually, the entire cake is covered in chocolate frosting, or you can use your own favorite frosting recipe. 

For an added bit of color, try adding some sliced fresh strawberries to the top of the cake. 

To get nice clean slices, always use a large knife warmed in hot water. 

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

How to store chocolate mayonnaise cake

You should let the center of the cake cool to room temperature first.

This is best done by removing the cake from its pan and placing it on a wire rack.

Once cool, store in an airtight container. Your cake should last on the shelf for 2-3 days. 

Recipe variations

It’s possible to make this recipe completely gluten free and vegan! 

Just use gluten-free flour and Hellman’s Vegan Mayonnaise. 

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

Where did I get my inspiration for this recipe?

Why would you put mayonnaise in a chocolate cake?

The answer: It results in an incredibly moist chocolate 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 old fashioned mayonnaise cake recipe in Grandma’s Recipe Book that she had clipped from a Hellmann’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake ad, I had no idea. It’s no secret ingredient.

Since making my very own chocolate mayo cake, lots and lots of folks have shared that their Mom or Grandma used to make it for them too!

I was so surprised 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?

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

My grandparents lived on a farm through the Great Depression. So I’m sure you understand that they would use up everything they could. They couldn’t afford to waste anything. 

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.

She would also clip recipes from the weekly newspaper. That’s how I found so many, including this one from Hellman’s Mayonnaise.

Many of these recipes were from the 40’s and 50’s, so maybe I should use 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.

Slice of chocolate cake with sliced strawberries on top shown on white plate with whole cake in background

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

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!

Wrapping up

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 with no modern-day appliances to ease the work! Well, fast forward to today and her recipes still live on.

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

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

Moist, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness that a really good chocolate cake delivers. You will be asked for this cake over and over, at 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!


THANKS SO MUCH for following and being part of the Pie Lady Bakes community where you will find vintage recipes like Mom and Grandma used to make, but that are so easy!

If you haven’t already joined, here is the link where you can sign up for my weekly e-mail newsletter. This way, you won’t miss any of my new recipes and it’s absolutely free! 

See you soon!



If you have made this delicious chocolate mayonnaise cake, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to give it a 5 star rating! 


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

4.50 from 94 votes

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Judy Kahansky
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!
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine North American
Servings 9 servings
Calories 364 kcal


  • 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


  • Mix the mayonnaise, sugar and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.
  • Add the flour mixture alternatively to the mayonnaise mixture, and add the cold water
  • Pour batter into a 9 X 9 greased and floured baking pan.
  • Bake at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


  • Ice with a Dark Chocolate Buttercream and serve with a big scoop of French Vanilla Ice Cream!



Serving: 1g | Calories: 364kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 437mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment, star rating or post your photo on Instagram and tag @pieladybakes

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

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

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Judy Kahansky is an experienced writer and baker, creating delicious desserts (including pie!) for over 40 years. 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.