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Old Fashioned Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake Recipe

In my home, we don’t need a special occasion to fuel my desire to make a homemade chocolate cake.

Oh, no, no, no. Perhaps you’ve already noticed my chocolate addiction, and if you’re ready to go along for the ride, this old fashioned mayonnaise cake recipe is going to give you the most decadent cake you’ve ever had.

The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

Chocolate mayonnaise cake on a white and red plate. There is a bite taken out of the cake and a fork sitting next to the slice.

Forget cake mixes; this easy recipe is the key to a moist cake loaded with rich chocolate flavor. And let me tell you–it is the best.

And while the secret ingredient may not surprise you (it’s in the title of the recipe), the one ingredient you usually use to make rich chocolate cake isn’t here. Guess which one it is!

An Easy Cake That Has Stood the Test of Time

The cake is straight from the Great Depression. Looking back, I wish I could ask more questions from those that lived during that era, including my grandmother.

But the thing that got my attention was when she baked a cake that she called “crazy cake.” That sounds a lot more fun than chocolate mayo cake, and being a kid, I thought the name was hilarious. 

A slice of chocolate mayonnaise cake on a plate. The plate is white and the rest of the cake is in a square dish behind the slice.

I soon stopped giggling about the name when I got a taste of this dense cake. The moist texture of this rich chocolate cake was something I never forgot.

It was the taste of home for me. And, of course, it’s a delicious chocolate cake I love so dearly.

These days, I love making the old fashioned homemade cake recipe. My husband always says it’s a miracle any of it is left for him and the kids because it’s so good I could easily eat the entire cake. 

Ingredients For Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

  • Mayonnaise
  • Water
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Sugar
  • Unsweetened cocoa
  • Baking soda
  • Frosting

Full printable recipe with measurements and instructions listed at the bottom of the post in the recipe card.

How to Make an Old Fashioned Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Chocolate mayonnaise cake ingredients are simple indeed. Obviously, mayonnaise is that secret ingredient here.

  1. Mix the water, mayonnaise, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Next, add the flour, sugar, cocoa, and baking soda, and whisk.
  3. Pour batter into a greased pan and bake.

Did you notice what is missing from the list? Eggs!

In the days of the Great Depression, money and supplies could be sparse, and families had to stretch their budgets.

Today with the price of eggs soaring, it may be handy to have a recipe you can use for birthday cakes that don’t require eggs. 

It’s super easy, and you get a guaranteed delicious cake too.

If you recall my chocolate pound cake in a Bundt pan, I also top this old fashioned chocolate mayonnaise cake with my same homemade chocolate frosting with only four easy ingredients.   

Step-By-Step Instructions

Mayonnaise in a large clear glass mixing bowl. There is a white spatula in the bowl.

Start by adding the mayonnaise to a large bowl.

Pouring water into a bowl with mayonnaise.

Next, add the water to the bowl.

Pouring vanilla extract into a large mixing bowl with mayonnaise and water.

Pour the vanilla extract into the bowl and mix the three ingredients.

Flour and sugar in a glass bowl.

Add the flour, baking soda, and sugar to the bowl.

wet ingredients in a bowl with dry ingredients for mayonnaise cake.

Next, add the unsweetened cocoa powder to the bowl and the wet ingredients and dry ingredients together well.

You can use a whisk or an electric mixer.

Cake batter in a square baking dish.

Pour the cake batter into a square 9-inch by 9-inch baking dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean, at 350 degrees.

Mayonnaise cake in a square baking dish. There is chocolate frosting on top of the cake.

Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before adding any frosting.

Mayonnaise cake cut up into squares in a square baking dish.

More Delicious Dessert Recipes

Does The Cake Need To Be Refrigerated?

You do not need to refrigerate the cake. But it will last a few days longer in the refrigerator.

How To Store The Mayonnaise Cake

Store the cake in an airtight container or cover with plastic wrap.

A delicious slice of chocolate mayonnaise cake on a white and red plate. There is a fork sitting on the plate with a bite taken out.

For the best chocolate mayonnaise cake recipe, look no further. Our grandmothers sure knew how to make something delicious even when times were tight.

No one will ever guess that it’s mayonnaise that leads to this moist and heavenly texture. This awesome cake is truly a keeper!

Chocolate mayonnaise cake on a white and red plate. There is a bite taken out of the cake and a fork sitting next to the slice.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake Recipe

Yield: 16
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Old fashioned chocolate mayonnaise cake recipe is easy to make and is loved by everyone. The Great Depression cake has stood the test of time.


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a nonstick 9-inch by 9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or butter.
  2. Add the mayonnaise, water, and vanilla extract to a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Next, add the flour, sugar, cocoa, and baking soda and mix well.
  4. Pour the cake into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  5. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before frosting.


For this recipe, I used Duke's Mayonnaise.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 204Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 246mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 13gProtein: 2g

Nutrition is approximate.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest


Monday 6th of May 2024

I've always wanted to try this cake so I used your recipe yesterday and it was delicious. I had exactly 3 tbsps of cocoa left and used regular mayonnaise,it was so chocolaty and moist. Followed recipe exactly and wouldn't change a thing!

Julie Pollitt

Tuesday 7th of May 2024

That's awesome to hear!


Wednesday 17th of April 2024

The Wacky cake recipe I remember, and still have, calls for mixing flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a 8x8 pan. Then creating 3 wells. Into one well you put oil. Second well gets vanilla. Third one gets vinegar. Then pour water over all and quickly mix up with a fork. Quirky but not a mayo cake. I have a different recipe for a mayo cake.

Julie Pollitt

Thursday 18th of April 2024

What a fun cake! I will have to check it out. Love the name for it!


Sunday 25th of February 2024

would this work for 6" pans? 2 or 3?

Julie Pollitt

Monday 26th of February 2024

Hi Lynette, I think it would work for two 6" pans. It might not be as full, though since it already calls for a 9x9" pan.


Thursday 18th of January 2024

This cake stays moist far longer than other cakes. Great for folks who pack lunches as you can make it Sunday night and pack it in lunches the entire week!

Julie Pollitt

Friday 19th of January 2024

That's great to hear! Thanks for sharing!


Monday 25th of September 2023

My husband had never had chocolate mayonnaise cake. We each had a piece and then split another! Very moist and chocolately. My new go to recipe!

Thanks for posting!

Julie Pollitt

Monday 25th of September 2023

Great to hear! So glad you both love it!

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