Have you ever made mayonnaise cake?
Mayonnaise cake is one of those easy, throw together kind of cakes invented in the day when people didn’t think mayonnaise was bad for you. I haven’t made mayonnaise cake since I was a teenager, but I’ve rediscovered it as a great cake to share with others. At least that’s what one old gentleman told me in the grocery store.
I never know who I’m going to run into at the store. Literally. As I turned my cart into the coffee aisle, I almost ran headlong into a cart pushed by a nearly 80-year-old man. I made my usual joke about watching out for women drivers. He smiled, paused, and then took advantage of my good humor to ask a question.
“I’m looking for cocoa mix. Do you know where that would be?”
My husband found a can of hot chocolate mix and the man put it in his cart. But he still looked unsure.
Then he told us this story.
His wife had died twelve years ago. In her final days, the excellent care she received at the local care center made an indelible impression on her grateful husband. Since her death, for the last twelve years, he has taken candy to the nurses’ station at that care center.
“Good for you,” I told him. “Church and community people in our town do lots of nice things for the nursing home residents. But I think we forget about the staff.” The old gentleman and I agreed – care facility workers are overworked, underpaid, and yet so many of them love the residents as if they are their own grandmas and grandpas. It’s a hard job and they deserve far more than a paycheck. “They’re a bunch of people that get little thanks for what they do,” my new friend said. “And they love the candy!”
Then he pulled a printed page from his pocket. “Last week, we got to talking about mayonnaise cake,” he said. “I decided I wanted to make them mayonnaise cake.”
He pointed again to the list of ingredients. Now I clued in with what he wanted. “Oh sir, you want regular baking cocoa. That would be in the baking aisle.” He went his way, I went my way, and I never saw him again.
What a great idea.
Mayonnaise cake is a super simple, very moist, no-icing needed, old-fashioned cake. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if several of us took mayonnaise cake to share with a nursing home staff this week? I’ve already taken a pan to my local care center. What about you?
If that doesn’t work for you, how about a bag of candy with a thank you note?
Here’s my recipe for mayonnaise cake:
Yield 20 pieces of cake
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
2 t baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup water
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp vanilla
Stir together dry ingredients. Add rest of the ingredients and mix well. Bake in a well-greased and floured 9×13 pan at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. No icing needed! But a dusting of powdered sugar gives it a beautiful look.