Add mayonnaise to your cake and watch what happens

Mayonnaise? In a cake? You bet! Mayonnaise is exactly what your cake has been missing all along. Made from eggs and oil, which are pretty standard cake ingredients, mayonnaise will boost the moisture level in a cake recipe when added to the batter. It might even gussy up your boxed cake mix enough to taste homemade.

While adding mayonnaise to dessert may sound odd, apparently this is an old-timey baking trick. The Kitchn traces mayonnaise cakes back to World War II or the Great Depression when food scarcity forced cooks craving sweets to get creative. 

To try it, simply stir in a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise to boxed cake batter for rich flavor. Mix in a whole cup of mayonnaise to really up the decadence. By adding mayonnaise, the texture of the cake is transformed, becoming luscious and extra-moist (via Wonder How To). Mayonnaise may just become your secret cake ingredient.

Why mayonnaise belongs in cake

According to Serious Eats, the mayonnaise trick works especially well with chocolate cakes, which can easily become dense. The extra oil adds tenderness to the cake crumb and the vinegar found in mayonnaise actually works to enhance the flavor. The acidity offsets the sweetness and makes the chocolate sing.

Hellmann's Super Moist Chocolate Mayo Cake recipe calls for a box of chocolate cake mix and 1 cup of mayonnaise (Helmann's, of course) along with 1 cup of water, and three eggs. With a few pantry-friendly additions, this basic recipe can morph into a pecan-topped chocolate cake, a black forest chocolate cake, a decadent chocolate lava cake, or even a yellow mayonnaise cake (if you swap your chocolate base for yellow cake mix). 

How does mayonnaise cake taste? Hellman's reviewers rave that it's the best. The clincher is how moist mayonnaise makes it. Reviewers give it bonus points for not drying out in the fridge, even after several days. Mayonnaise, it seems, makes the cake.