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Recipe Finder: Chocolate mayonnaise cake is easy and delicious

For The Baltimore Sun
This cake has an ingredient you may not expect to find in a dessert: mayonnaise.

Mary Kelly of Chase was in search of a recipe she had many years ago for a chocolate cake made using Hellmann's mayonnaise. She said the recipe used to be on the back of the mayonnaise jar and it made a terrifically moist and delicious chocolate cake. She was hoping someone might still have the recipe.

Carol Yarnell of Perryman saw Kelly's request and remembered that she had a little cookbook, published in 1979, titled "That Amazing Ingredient: Mayonnaise." She was kind enough to send me a color photocopy of the recipe complete with a photo of the chocolate mayonnaise cake that calls for Hellmann's or Best Foods mayonnaise. I found virtually the identical recipe on the Hellmann's website.

This light and moist chocolate cake was created, according to food legend, by the wife of a Hellman's salesman to help increase his sales. Although it might seem like an odd ingredient for a cake, the mayonnaise is used in place of oil. The cake is easy to throw together with just a few basic pantry items. The rich dessert is terrific as is or can be made even more decadent with the addition of chocolate or peanut butter frosting. Serve it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and it's sure to be a home run.

Requests

Maureen Argo of Pasadena is looking for the recipe for yellow cake with a milk chocolate icing that was available at the now-closed Helen's Garden on O'Donnell Square in Canton. The cake was dense and moist and obviously homemade, Argo said. She was hoping to find out who made it and, even better, to get the recipe.

Chocolate mayonnaise cake

Makes 12 servings

2 cups unsifted flour

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

3 eggs

1 2/3 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup mayonnaise

1 1/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch round cake pans*; set aside.

In medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder; set aside.

In large bowl, with electric mixer at high speed, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in mayonnaise at low speed until blended. Alternately beat in flour mixture with water, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on wire racks; remove from pans and cool completely.

Frost, if desired, or sprinkle with powdered sugar.

*Or, prepare cake mix as above in 13-by-9-inch baking pan and bake 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278 or email baltsunrecipefinder@gmail.com. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate piece of paper and be sure to include your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Name and hometown must accompany recipes in order to be published. Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letters and recipes may be edited for clarity.

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