A few years ago my daughter wanted a chocolate cake for her birthday and I had never made one before. An internet search for recipes made me anxious as I found that chocolate cake was a lot more complicated to make than I expected. Even with the addition of "simple" to my search the results were still not very promising. I found one, however, that seemed do-able and it is this faultless recipe that I have been using annually to great joy! Apologies to whomever originally posted this recipe for not getting full credit here, but at the time I did not realise I would be sharing it in this manner nor did I realise what a keeper it would turn out to be.
Moist Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
Ingredients: 2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 2/3 cups sugar (I use a mix of regular white granulated & brown sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mayonnaise (do not use a substitute)
1 1/3 cups water
I like to get everything together and then put items away after use. You need two mixing bowls.
Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Grease and flour 2 - 9" round cake pans.
Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder.
Mix well and set aside.
Beat together eggs, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl for 3 minutes, using the high speed of an electric mixer. Mixture should be smooth and creamy.
Reduce speed to low and beat in mayonnaise until blended.
Add flour mixture in batches, alternating with water, in 4 equal additions (1/4 of the flour, then 1/4 of the water etc).
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans.
Pin a band of wet towelling around the cake tins to get a more evenly baked cake. I think I got this tip from one of my nieces and it really works well!
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the center of the cake springs back when lightly touched or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake is clean when removed. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and allow to cool completely before frosting with your favorite frosting.
For birthday cake I make a simple butter icing with sugar, butter, a bit of vanilla and some boiling water. I have used a small amount of yellow food colouring for the initial icing in the cake sandwich and the base colour for the top.
I separated some of the icing into small bowls to add other colours, placed in small food bags and cut a corner in order to create a makeshift icing bag to squeeze out loose designs and writing for cake decoration. This is a really moist and delicious chocolate cake!