With Love: Gaga’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

By Kristen Mercure

Today is about sharing love.  It’s about saying, “I love you,” to those you do.  It’s about paying love forward by holding a door open for someone you don’t even know.  It’s about passing on your love of a family member in a cherished memory – or recipe, in this case.

Other than being one of our most devoted Pumpkin Spice fans, foodie Amber of Bluebonnets & Brownies fame has an arsenal of fantastic, easy, and heartwarming recipes on her blog – and she’s graciously shared a personal – and delicious – one with us today.  So, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day and sharing love with the masses, we’re pleased to give the stage to Amber and her grandfather’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake:

Gaga’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake from Bluebonnets and Brownies

It’s pretty safe to say that my grandfather, affectionately known as Gaga, was a huge coffee fan. When I was little, he would make us both some toast and cut it into strips. And then we’d both dip our toast into his milky coffee. The man never met a cinnamon roll he didn’t love (with coffee, of course), and his favorite cake in the entire world is this chocolate mayonnaise cake.

I know what you’re thinking – mayo and coffee in cake? It’s actually one of the easiest recipes in the world because you don’t have to worry if you’ve got eggs or oil on hand, and the end result is some of the most moist, flavorful chocolate cake you’ll ever taste.

I never could understand why I had an aversion to chocolate cake from bakeries. I mean, we live not far from New York City, where some of the greatest diners and bakeries in the world are. But every chocolate cake I tried just fell flat with me. Then I asked my grandmother for Gaga’s famous cake recipe.

As the plump little cupcakes came out of the oven, and that warm, rich, velvety flavor floated my way, I understood. This is chocolate cake. You see, without the mayonnaise and coffee to enrich and enhance the chocolate, cake just isn’t as good.

Which coffee you use can affect your end result, too. I’ve made this cake with several Green Mountain Coffee varieties, from Fair Trade Rainforest Nut® to Fair Trade Espresso Blend, and even Nantucket Blend. Each lends its unique notes to the finished product. Rainforest Nut actually adds its own chocolatey notes, while the Espresso Blend is strong enough to give the cake a mocha flair. Blueberry or even French Toast would be excellent, too.

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

2 cups all purpose flour (for cupcakes, add 2 extra tablespoons of flour)
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa powder – use a good quality like Scharffen Berger (for cupcakes, add 1 more scant tablespoon of cocoa powder)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup mayonnaise – no substitutes
1 cup cold coffee – I used Green Mountain Coffee’s Nantucket Blend

1 teaspoon vanilla


Sift together dry ingredients – set aside.
In mixing bowl combine mayonnaise, cold coffee and vanilla – add sifted dry ingredients, incrementally. Beat until smooth – scraping sides of bowl often. Pour into greased and floured 9 x 13 pan or 12 count muffin pan with paper cups. Bake in preheated oven 350 degrees. 25 to 35 minutes. Do not over bake.

Chocolate Rum Butter Cream Frosting

3 sticks unsalted butter
pinch of salt
1 tbsp vanilla or almond extract
2 lbs confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
4 tbsps half & half
1 c. cocoa powder
2 tbsp dark or white rum

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time, creaming well each time until completely incorporated. Add extract, salt, half and half and mix well. Add cocoa powder and mix again until light and fluffy. Then add rum and mix again. Frost cake immediately.

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