Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache Filling and Frosting

I went to a dinner party last night and offered to make dessert. The hostess requested something chocolate, so I made her my moist chocolate cake. If you have not heard of mayonnaise cakes, you might be thinking I have turned into Paula Dean- I have not...I just know that mayonnaise makes this cake super moist and fluffy. I will also tell you that the type of mayonnaise you use matters. Use either Hellmann's or Duke's mayonnaise, they are unquestionably the best in my book. This is an easy cake to make, just be sure to not overcook it. As soon as the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, pull it out of the oven.

I filled and frosted the cake with a dark chocolate ganache and sprinkled it with edible gold powder. It turned out really neat, the spikes I piped onto the cake looked like they were gilded. To apply the gold powder, place some on a small piece of paper and lightly blow it onto the cake. I split the layers and brushed a simple syrup made with cognac on each layer. I filled the cake with a combination of custard and raspberries and sweetened whipped chocolate ganache. I used the custard because creme brulee is a staple at the restaurant so I always have them on hand. I would not have baked creme brulee specifically for this, instead I would have either used the pastry cream recipe found here or the chocolate mousse recipe found here. Raspberry preserves can also be a good addition.

following are the instructions for filling a cake with something other than what the cake will be frosted with. You don't want the filling to ooze from in between the layers, but at the same time you want to add plenty of filling. To remedy this, I put icing (whatever the cake will be frosted with) in a pastry bag with a large plain or fluted tip. Place the first layer on either the cake plate or a cardboard round. Pipe a "trench" all around the perimeter of the cake layer to contain the filling. Depending on the amount of filling you want to add, you may want to pipe a double layer making it about an inch and a half tall. Carefully spread the filling within the perimeter of the "trench" until even and smooth. Top with another layer of cake and repeat process until finished. Ice cake with cooled ganache, if the ganache is hard to spread, re-heat over a double boiler until it smooths out to the desired consistency. I find it easier to work with when it is about the thickness of mayonnaise, if it's too thin set the bowl over ice and whip until it hardens a little more.

Gilded Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Ganache

2-1/2 lb.'s dark chocolate, chopped
1-1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons Cognac

2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon cognac

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

2- 8" round cake pans, greased and floured (9" pans can be substituted, the cake will not be as tall though).

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1- 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1-2/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mayonnaise
1-1/3 cup water

edible gold powder

Simple Syrup

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup cognac
Boil sugar, water and cognac together until sugar dissolves.

Make the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 F

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.

2. In large mixer bowl with paddle attachment beat sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy on high speed, about 3-5 minutes. Add mayonnaise, reduce speed to medium and beat a couple of minutes longer.

3. Add flour mixture to batter, alternating with water- starting and ending with flour. Pour batter into pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides of pan and middle of cake looks set. Leave cake in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.

Make chocolate ganache:

1. In a large bowl over a double boiler, combine chocolate, cognac and cream. Whisk until chocolate is melted and all ingredients are combined.

2. Place about half the chocolate mixture in the mixer bowl and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. With the whisk attachment, beat on med-high speed gradually adding 2/3 cup sifted powdered sugar and an additional tablespoon cognac. Whip until very light and fluffy. The ganache will have hardened up and should be a spreading consistency. This will serve as the filling. Set aside until ready to assemble cake.

3. Whisk remaining ganache (what was left in the double boiler bowl) occasionally until it hardens up a bit. Set aside until the cake has completely cooled.

Assembling Cake:

Before you begin, make sure cake is completely cool- if you rush this process, everything will melt and you will have a gooey mess. (take my word for it- I've done it both ways!)

1. With a large serrated knife, split layers in half and set on a piece of parchment paper. Place the first layer on a plate at least 3 inches wider than the cake. Place about 1 cup of the whipped ganache in a pastry bag, set aside. Brush each layer generously with simple syrup as you add them to the stack.

2. The first layer will have whipped ganache as filling so spread about a 1/4" layer on. Top with the next layer of cake. Pipe a 1-1/2" tall "trench" of ganache along the perimeter of the second layer. Add custard or pastry cream making sure to contain it within the "trench" of ganache. Add fresh raspberries if desired. Top with third layer and spread with additional whipped ganache about 1/4" thick- the same as the first layer. Place top layer on cake and press slightly to seal cake. You are now done using the whipped ganache. To clarify- All ganache referred to now will be what was left in the double boiler bowl which was not sweetened.

3. Place about 1 cup ganache over cake and spread on top pushing all excess down the sides of the cake, this is the crumb coat. Any crumbs which come off the cake and stick to the icing will be covered up with the next coat. Place cake in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or until icing is set. (do not rush this part- it's so much easier to do it the right way!)

4. remove cake from refrigerator, add additional ganache to top of cake spreading with the spatula until cake is covered and smooth. By this time, ganache should be fairly stiff- place some in a pastry bag and pipe decoratively on cake.

5. Place a small amount of gold dust on your hand or small piece of paper. Blow the powder onto the cake until desired effect is achieved. Cakes filled with custard or pastry cream must be refrigerated.


  1. the frosting looks so smooth, and the spikes are all so perfect! gorgeous.

    even though i understand intellectually that mayonnaise makes chocolate cakes moist and delicious, it still weirds me out. maybe you should send me one of *your* cakes.

  2. What a great idea for keeping the filling from oozing out! I have that problem often and usually end up not putting enough between each layer. Looks amazing.

  3. Wow -- a cup of mayonnaise? I would never have thought of it. Yet a spoonful of mayo does make the very best scrambled eggs...

  4. Gorgeous! I love mayonnaise in cake--it's just eggs and oil, right?

    Great tip for keeping the filling from oozing out, too--I'll use that one, for sure!

  5. This is my kind of chocolate cake. Looks delicious!

  6. That is such a gorgeous cake!!

  7. I love the gilding. :) I have heard about mayonnaise in cakes, thanks for the recipe!

  8. That looks lie a cake and a half! Love the piping and the gold dust.

  9. My Mom made a Mayo cake for me when I was about 10 years old, I have never found a chocolate cake that even comes close to how wonderful a Mayo cake is... Now I make them for my kids.

  10. Do you think I can substitute the cocoa powder for regular flour? I only want a vanilla cake ;)

  11. Hey Katia , love your spin on the classic chocolate mayonnaise cake. I was just wondering if there is a possible substitute for the cognac , that would be equally as good? I would love to make your beautiful cake for my dad's 50th B-Day!!! Thanks Courtney


  12. Hello Katia ,love your food photography absolutely scrumptious! I like your spin on the classic mayonnaise cake. i would like to try and recreate this masterpiece of a cake, for my dads 50th birthday. i was just wondering if there is a substitution for the cognac , that would equally be as tasty. Thanks Courtney.


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