chocolate mayonnaise cake.

One of my oldest friends came into town this past weekend and I asked her what she would most like for a dessert (I find dessert is so varied from person to person). Her first choice was strawberry-rhubarb pie; the second was a chocolate cake. As I couldn’t locate any rhubarb at the grocer when I went to make my pie, the chocolate cake was called to bat.

I am not a very big chocolate cake person – it’s never been my favourite type of cake, or dessert for that matter. I found this recipe and thought that it sounded pretty tasty and also like a legit CHOCOLATE CAKE. Even if I didn’t like it, I was going to make the damn well best one I could.

The mayo sounded both weird and oddly…right. It made sense. I found that this recipe was super easy and really delivered. I recommend to keep it at room temperature – the moisture in the cake is amazing and it really keeps well. Also – the frosting is really solid. SOLID. With a big glass of milk, delicious. With a side of ice cream? Perfection. I might have been turned over to the dark side.

The only things that I changed were to up the chocolate in the actual cake by another ounce and to use 2 9-inch cake pans instead of 3 8-inch ones. Call me crazy but a double layered cake is enough for me.

As my friend said, “This is best chocolate cake I have ever had.” Praise enough.

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
Adapted loosely from Bon Appetit, April 2010

Cake:
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 c. boiling water
2 3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 c. sugar
1 c. (packed) dark brown sugar
1 1/3 c. mayonnaise (do not use reduced-fat or fat-free)
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Frosting:
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped
1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 c. powdered sugar (I recommend starting with 2 cups and then adding by taste from there. I don’t usually like the sweet frostings, but I found that 3 cups was a solid, real, chocolate-y frosting but to each their own.)
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Special equipment: 2 9-inch cake pans

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 2 9-inch diametre cake pans. Combine chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in medium metal bowl. Add 1 3/4 cups boiling water and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder into another medium bowl.Using electric mixer, beat both sugars and mayonnaise in large bowl until well blended, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 4 additions alternately with chocolate mixture in 3 additions, beating until blended after each addition and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Divide batter among prepared cake pans (about 2 1/3 cups for each).

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 30 to 32 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 20 minutes. Run small knife around sides of cakes to loosen. Carefully invert cakes onto racks and let cool completely.

For frosting:
Place chopped chocolate in medium metal bowl; set bowl over saucepan of simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Carefully remove bowl from over water; let melted chocolate cool until lukewarm, stirring occasionally.

Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth and creamy. Sift powdered sugar over butter and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Add melted chocolate and beat until well blended and smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl.

Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread 3/4 cup frosting over top of cake layer to edges. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining frosting decoratively over top and sides of cake. I thought it would be too much frosting for a two layer cake. It isn’t. It’s a real chocolate cake.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and let stand at room temperature. If you don’t have a cake dome, you can also create an elaborate saran wrap and shish kebab skewer dome that works just swimmingly. If you refrigerate it (although you don’t have to) make sure you give yourself enough time to warm up because the buttercream frosting will get hard as a rock. Honestly, on my counter in the 32 degree heat, it was fine. No meltage.

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