This is a fabulous cake recipe that was popular back in the 1950s and is again starting to make the rounds. I’ve been making this Vintage Mayonnaise Cake for years, and the recipe has changed a wee bit over time but it’s just as moist, flavorful, and delicious as ever. Want to make a truly spectacular cake? This Mayonnaise Cake is it! 

piece of chocolate cake

This is one of my mother’s recipes – she cut it out from a recipe and not only did she make it for years and years, but I’ve also been making it for decades. This Vintage Mayonnaise Cake is rich, moist, chocolatey, and the touch of coffee really makes the chocolate flavor stand out.

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Vintage Mayonnaise Cake

I have great memories of my mom sipping on coffee all day, and she love to bake so this was her kind of cake, and now it’s mine, too!

You’ll make this cake in a 9×13-inch baking dish, so it makes enough for a small group. Ideal for potlucks or just dessert for the family, this incredible cake is so easy to make. 

Read more: Vintage Mayonnaise Cake
9x13 pan of mayo cake

Yes, there’s a cup of mayonnaise in it, but when you think about it, mayo is just eggs and oil, which are pretty common ingredients in cakes. Grab your mayo and your baking dish, and make an amazing cake for your friends and family today!

Why I love this recipe

  • It’s super moist, chocolatey, and flavorful. 
  • This chocolate Mayonnaise Cake makes enough to serve about 12, and it freezes like a dream if you have leftovers.
  • The frosting is so good, and the touch of coffee really brings out the chocolate flavor.
ingredients to make Vintage Mayonnaise Cake

Gather these ingredients

  • All-purpose flour
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – Use Dutch process cocoa powder for the best chocolate flavor.
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Eggs – At room temperature.
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla extract 
  • Mayonnaise
  • Water

For the chocolate frosting

  • Unsalted butter – At room temperature.
  • Confectioners’ sugar – Also called powdered or icing sugar, sifted.
  • Cocoa powder – Sifted.
  • Vanilla extract 
  • Cold coffee
  • Milk 
how to make a Vintage Mayonnaise Cake

How to make this Mayonnaise Cake recipe from the 1950s

  1. Preheat your oven to 350-F and grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set it aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl. 
  3. Beat the egg and sugar in a larger bowl with electric beaters or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat for 2 minutes, then add the vanilla, mayonnaise, and water.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the egg and mayonnaise mixture, about ½ cup at a time. Mix until blended before adding more dry ingredients. Scrape down the side of the bowl as needed.
  5. Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake at 350-F for 30-35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let it cool completely before frosting or the frosting will stick to the cake while spreading.
how to make frosting with coffee

To make the frosting

  1. Beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar starting on low speed then turning it up to high speed for 2-3 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  2. Add the cocoa powder, cold coffee, and vanilla. Beat until combined.
  3. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it is soft and spreadable.

To assemble

  1. Spread the frosting over the top of the completely cooled cake. 
  2. Cut into squares and serve! 
a frosted chocolate cake

Tips & substitutions

  • You can use any kind of full-fat, unflavored mayonnaise in this recipe. Do not use Miracle Whip; it will not have the same flavor.
  • Don’t overmix the cake batter – only mix it as needed to blend in all the ingredients.
  • You can use cream or half-and-half cream in the icing instead of milk.
  • You can make the icing while the cake cools. Just leave it on the counter so it stays soft enough for spreading.
  • From a reader: This is the ultimate chocolate cake recipe- easy, super moist, rich and of course doesn’t taste mayo-ish! My only tiny tweaks are, I use DARK cocoa in the cake, and regular cocoa in the frosting, so the contrast is a little more striking, and I add a heaping teaspoon of instant coffee/cappuccino powder to the water as a chocolate enhancer. Again, it doesn’t change the overall taste. Such a good recipe!
square piece of Vintage Mayonnaise Cake

Serving suggestions

You don’t need anything with this cake except for a scoop of ice cream or a glass of milk. It’s a fabulous dessert, and I love serving it after homestyle meals of King Ranch Beef Casserole or a hearty steak sandwich.

taking a bite of cake


Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also freeze any leftover cake.

Check out these awesome cake recipes while you’re here

piece of chocolate cake
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Vintage Mayonnaise Cake

Rich, moist, and loaded with chocolate flavor, this vintage Mayonnaise Cake recipe from the 1950s is easy and delicious! 
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yield: 12
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For the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 ⅔ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 ⅓ cups water

For the Chocolate Frosting with coffee:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of cold coffee
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk, cream, or half-and-half — to make a spreadable frosting


Making the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl (stand mixer or a bowl using electric beaters), beat the egg and sugar for 2 minutes. Add in mayonnaise, vanilla and water and continue to beat.
  • Next, slowly add the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) a little at a time, mixing as you go. Scrape down the sides as you mix the batter.
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Check with a toothpick, in the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean (then the cake is done). Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting, otherwise the frosting will stick to the cake while spreading.

Making the Chocolate (coffee) Frosting:

  • In a large bowl, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar at low to high speed until light and fluffy, for 2-3 minutes. Next, add in the cocoa, cold coffee, and vanilla. As it thickens up, slowly add in the milk one tablespoon at a time until desired thickness for spreading on the cake.  The amount of milk depends on how thick or creamy you like your frosting.
  • Spread the frosting on top of the cake.
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Calories: 482kcal, Carbohydrates: 95g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 32g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 90mg, Sodium: 316mg, Potassium: 162mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 28g, Vitamin A: 548IU, Calcium: 48mg, Iron: 2mg
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Vintage Mayonnaise Cake