Wednesday April 20, 2011

Happy Half Birthday

My baby just turned 6 months so I decided to make a cake to celebrate. I wanted to make something that was close to my heart and so I chose a cake my Mom made for me throughout my childhood. Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake is such a memory point for me that I can taste my childhood when I eat it. My Mom bakes it in a glass Pyrex dish but I wanted to get a bit fancy in honor of my little Baba’s Half Birthday. This cake does not use any eggs or oil; the mayonnaise takes care of that. It is not too sweet or rich and doesn’t even need frosting to enjoy. That is how we ate it as children, cut in big squares and dusted with powered sugar.

Aside from the 6 month mark it was also a big day for us because this was the first day baby Baba started eating solids and I wanted to introduce zucchini as his first food. I went to WholeFoods and picked out two petite organic zucchini squashes and a brown rice cereal from Happy Bellies that promises to be the perfect first solid food for baby. I steamed the zucchini to perfection, used the baby grinder I bought at target and oops, it did not grind smooth enough so I added a bit more of the cooking liquid and finished pureeing it with the hand stick blender. My friend and the kids gathered for the ceremony of his first bite, I had envisioned a lovely day all peaceful, ready to make beautiful memories. We sat outside and got everything ready. Baba was looking at the preparation with interest. I put the first bite of the zucchini puree in his mouth and he shivered, gagged and then spit it out. I tried again, same reaction. After the fourth attempt I decided that it was enough torture for him and broke out the rice cereal and he devoured it. So the label’s statement was true. Someday I will triumph in his love for veggies! I shall not give up; I know it takes at least 10 times to get the palette accustomed to new flavors. In the meantime lets’ eat cake and call it a day.


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My Mom’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
This is a copy of my mom’s recipe she gave to me a few years ago. I doubled the recipe to make a layer cake but I will give you the single version. I really want to stress that you not over bake this cake because it can dry out fast if you do. You can use an 8”or 9” round cake pan or a 9″x13″ pan. My mom used the glass Pyrex kind and if you use glass than you need to lower the oven temperature to 325° F

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar, I like Organic Granulated Trader Joes Brand
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup Best Foods Real Mayonnaise
1 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Pre-heat the oven to 325° F for a glass baking dish or 350° F for a metal one. Lightly oil your cake pan.
In a mixing bowl add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Use a whisk and mix until combined and set aside. In a kitchen aid mixer or with a hand held mixer place the mayonnaise into a new mixing bowl, add the flour mixture and mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Next add the baking soda to the water and mix until it dissolves then add it to the cake mixture and mix for another 20-30 seconds adding the vanilla extract as it mixes. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and even it out with the rubber spatula. Bake the cake for about 20-30 minutes. I recommend that you set your timer at 20 minutes and check the cake after the 20 minutes are up every 2-3 minutes until it is done. The best way to check it is to use a toothpick and insert it into the center of the cake and when it comes out clean you are ready to take the cake out of the oven. Let it rest for 30 minutes before cutting into it. You can eat it simply or dust it with powder sugar.

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Serves 8-10