A cake for you

I baked a cake just for you!

Well, at least the photos are for you.

But I baked it so I could take the photos for you. So, see? I really did bake the cake for you!

I first made this cake last week, the same week I also made a banana cake (for the second time) and a prune cake (too oily, but it has potential). Forty-eight hours later there was not a cakey crumb in sight. Feast or famine—that’s my modus operandi.

Understand, we didn’t eat the cakes all by ourselves. One day there were seven kids running free in the back forty, and they succeeded in doing a fair bit of damage to the prune cake. And then the chocolate cake got divvied out between three households. Sometimes it pays to be my friend.

I’ll be honest with you: at first I thought I didn’t like the chocolate cake. Then I tasted it and changed my mind. Then my not-enthusiastic-about-cake friend gushed that it was THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE SHE’D EVER EATEN, so I recanted, completely and totally. And then I made a second cake. So I could take pictures and post about it. For YOU.

For once, I’m glad we’re separated by cybersparky pixel mega-doohickeys because I’m not planning on doling out this cake with such a generous hand, and having you show up on my doorstep waving forks in my face is a lot more intimidating than your typewritten words. I’d like this three-layer cake to last longer this time around, perhaps for a whole three or four days. If that’s possible.

The reason I wasn’t sure I liked this cake was because it crumbles. Only dry cakes crumble, right? WRONG! While kids will certainly wreck havoc with this confection (no matter what type of flooring you have, after serving this to children, your tile/hardwood/linoleum floor will look like it is black-speckled), well-mannered adults won’t have any problem. So to recap: the cake is not dry. It is moist and tasty and lush and ambrosial, yadda-yadda-yadda.

As for the icing?

Suffice it to say, this is The Mother Chocolate Frosting of all chocolate frostings. Rich as all get out (will someone please tell me where this expression comes from?), but only minimally sweet, it’s heaven on a cake.

It’s easy, too. And you can make it with light or dark chocolate, altering it to suit your whimsy tastes.

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
Adapted from the April 2010 issue of Bon Appetit

You can use any bittersweet chocolate in place of the chocolate chips, but do not exceed 61% cacao, or so say the fancy-schmancy chefs at Bon Appetit.

Be sure to use real, full-fat mayo. It’s the only fat in the cake.

The original recipe called for dark brown sugar, but I’ve made it with both light and dark now, and I can’t detect the difference.

The absence of salt is not a typo; there really is no salt in the cake.

One idea I’m considering for future bakings: to replace the boiling water with boiling strong coffee. Yes?

2 ounces chocolate chips
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 3/4 cups boiling water
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/3 cups mayonnaise (full-fat)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place the chocolate chips and unsweetened cocoa in a medium-sized glass mixing bowl. Add the boiling water and stir till the chocolate has melted. Set aside.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugars and mayonnaise. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and beat well.

Add the dry ingredients alternately with the melted chocolate, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

Divide the batter between three eight-inch (and 1 ½ inch high) cake pans that have been buttered and lined with wax paper. Bake the cakes at 350 degrees till an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes. (Do not over bake.)

Cool the cakes for ten minutes before cutting around the edges with a table knife and turning out the cakes onto a cooling rack. When they have cooled completely, frost them, or wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze till later.

Classic Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from the April 2010 issue of Bon Appetit

10 ounces chocolate chips
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon vanilla

Melt the chocolate chips in the top part of a double boiler. Set aside to cool slightly.

Cream the butter. Add the sugar and beat some more. Beat in the vanilla. Add the melted chocolate and beat to combine.

Slather generously over your favorite cake, eat, and groan orgasmically.

Or I would say “groan orgasmically,” but this is a family blog so I won’t.


About one year ago: A Service Announcement For Parents, or All Kids Really Want Is Some Dirt.


  • Mama Pea

    Oh. My. I feel weak just thinking about this cake. Will you come live at my house all summer and cook and bake and create? Either that or stop flaunting all this luscious food in front of our faces. I can't stand it.

  • You Can Call Me Jane

    What, in the Good Lord's Name, are you trying to do to me? Huh? Huh? Speak up, woman! My sugar fast and your dessert recipes are not getting along. How about this? I'll tell you when my allotted processed sugar special occasions are and on THOSE days you can post about chocolate desserts to your hearts content and I WILL come running (ok, driving) with my fork. Capiche?

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