Thursday, February 5, 2015

My Grandmother's Chocolate Cake Recipe

At almost every estate sale I visit, I find collections of recipes and cookbooks.  Sometimes the best recipes are on pages with a lot of food stains, from much use.

And where there are recipes, there are usually mixing bowls.

I found this nice mixing bowl at an estate sale not long ago.  It is marked "Hall's Superior Quality Kitchenware" on the underside.  I believe the pattern is called "Autumn" or "Autumn Leaf."  The pattern dates to the 1930s.

The Hall China Company started production in 1903, from their base in East Liverpool, Ohio.  

I decided to use this vintage mixing bowl to create a cake from a vintage recipe: my grandmother's Mayonnaise Cake.

The best thing about Viola's Mayonnaise Cake recipe is, of course, the way the cake tastes.  Another good thing about it is that you can use half the ingredients if you only want a small, one-layer cake.

My grandmother's original recipe makes a 9 x 13" sheet cake:

2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa (or a bit more)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract (this wasn't in the written copy of the recipe, but I watched her make this cake many times and she always added almond extract as well as vanilla)
1 cup real mayonnaise (NOT the white "salad dressing" that looks like mayonnaise -- that has sugar in it)

Time out, before we get to the rest of the recipe.  If you're not familiar with this kind of cake, I'm sure you're wondering -- mayonnaise?  Really?

Well, what is mayonnaise, after all, but mostly oil and eggs?  You've probably seen lots of recipes that call for salad oil of some sort, and eggs.


Combine the dry ingredients and then stir in the wet ingredients, making sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.  Pour the batter into a greased and floured, round or square, 8" or 9" cake pan and bake at 350 degrees 

My grandmother called the rubber bowl scraper a rubber spatula, or "the child-cheater."
Perhaps that was because it scraped up most of the wonderful chocolate cake
 batter that a child would remove from the sides of the bowl
with a teaspoon or surreptitious index finger.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured, round or square, 8" or 9" cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until the cake gently springs back when you touch it in the center.

I used a round cake pan.

And I made sure to remove the cake from the oven before it got too browned on the top.  

Another beautiful thing about this old recipe is that the cake is so versatile.  You can eat it plain (have a glass of cold milk nearby), frost it (my grandmother usually made a white buttercream frosting for this cake), or just dust the top with powdered sugar before serving.

If you really want to get creative, you can cut the cooled cake into chunks, put them in a large serving bowl, and cover them with chocolate pudding, then fold in chocolate chips, chopped walnuts, and whipped cream.  Serve with a large spoon.

I decided on a more straightforward approach to serving this Mayonnaise Cake: powdered sugar on top, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream, and some sliced strawberries on a floral cake plate.

No comments:

Post a Comment