How Mayonnaise Can Save You From Greasy Chocolate Cake

One drawback of chocolate cake is its potential to become greasy. This often happens when the oil added to the recipe for moisture and fat is disproportionate, leading to a situation where the dry ingredients can't soak up all the oil. As such, you're left with a pool of excess oil seeping out of the bottom of the cake. 

To avoid this, try substituting mayonnaise for oil in your chocolate cake recipe. The chocolate effectively masks the tangy flavor of mayonnaise, which is not the case with other types of cakes. Mayonnaise, like oil, adds moisture and fat, but without the greasiness, giving your cake a velvety soft texture. This is further supported structurally by the eggs in the mayonnaise.

For the best results, opt for full-fat mayonnaise. Lighter versions provide less fat and moisture, which can lead to a chewier cake texture. Substitute three-quarters of the amount of oil in your chocolate cake recipe with mayonnaise. Piece of cake, right?

Mayonnaise keeps chocolate cake moist, not oily

Look, we get it: The idea of using mayonnaise to revamp a classic chocolate cake might not seem appealing at first, but it's undeniable that it works effectively. Mayonnaise itself is an emulsion — a mixture of two typically repellant ingredients, such as oil and water. The droplets are so finely dispersed that they appear mixed. Since mayonnaise combines eggs and oil, another pair of unblendable ingredients, it facilitates emulsification. Thus, the oil in the cake is retained, preventing it from sinking to the bottom and creating a greasy mess. However, adding too much oil can overwhelm the eggs, hindering their ability to keep the oil incorporated in the cake.

Interestingly, this use of mayonnaise was discovered and popularized during the Great Depression and World War II. At the time, common cake ingredients were rationed, so homemakers were left with little choice but to be inventive with their recipes. Mayonnaise, which contains oil, butter, and eggs — essential components for cake batter — became an ideal, if rather unexpected, substitute. After all, who would have thought to use it in cake?

Alternatives to adding mayonnaise in chocolate cake

It's understandable that not everyone is keen on using mayonnaise in their chocolate cake, despite its benefits of adding moisture and fat without greasiness. Fortunately, there are similar ingredients that can serve as suitable substitutes.

One option is to use half the amount of oil specified in your chocolate cake recipe and replace the other half with sour cream. It's important to note, though, that sour cream has a more pronounced tanginess than mayonnaise, which could be noticeable even in a flavorful cake like chocolate. Additionally, sour cream tends to create a denser cake texture, rather than light and velvety.

Greek yogurt is another alternative that contributes moisture, aiding in a fluffy cake texture. However, it lacks the fat that mayonnaise provides. To compensate, consider adding a small amount of oil to the cake batter. This not only introduces the needed fat but also helps thin the yogurt, making it easier to mix into the batter.