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Well-Dressed: The Salad Dressing Cake

Salad Dressing Cake
The New Year is upon us, and with it comes that most dreaded, terrible custom: The New Year's Resolution. Proclamations of healthy eating and new gym memberships are as plentiful as the popping of champagne corks less than a week before. However, as we all know, few stick to those resolutions--so when you've given up, when you're ready to come back to the dark side, we present the Salad Dressing Cake.

Now, the name "Salad Dressing Cake" can be misleading--this is not some sort of exotic balsamic-glazed confection. No sir, the dressing we're talking about here is the one that dresses salads of the potato and macaroni varieties: mayonnaise. Now, for all those naysayers, a few points. If you're disgusted by this cake but you're one of the many who indulged in bacon-flavored baked goods in the past year, you take a long look at yourself in the mirror before you judge the mayo cake. Because what makes up mayonnaise--egg yolks, oil, vinegar--is all stuff that would go into a cake anyway. And as a note to vegan readers, the recipe works just fine with Vegenaise as well.

We were surprised by this cake. It's probably the most dense, moist, rich cake we've ever made--it has a slightly tangy flavor, not unlike a sour cream cake. In our version, instead of using 4 tbsp of cocoa powder as in the original recipe, we substituted the same amount of ground Callebaut chocolate--this not only gave the cake a nice added texture and color, but added a nice bittersweet flavor contrast. Topped with a simple buttercream frosting, it's actually quite a pleasant cake. 
Moreover, the biggest problem with this cake is not the flavor but the gross-out factor--no matter how you put it, no matter how many justifications you have, Salad Dressing Cake does not sound delicious or appetizing. Still, once you get past that hurdle, you might be pleasantly surprised. Our advice? Serve now, and tell the tasters what they ate later
Salad Dressing Cake

Salad Dressing Cake (Via reliableanswers.com)

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa (we used ground chocolate--see above)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup Miracle Whip or mayonnaise salad dressing (or vegenaise for a vegan option)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  1. Mix all ingredients together, beat until smooth. Grease a 13"x9" cake pan (we used a circular pan) and dust with flour. Bake at 350° for 30-minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  2. Frost when cool; we used this simple buttercream frosting:
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  1. In a mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat on high speed 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
If desired, serve on top of a real salad for a delightfully mischievous presentation.


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Reader Comments (31)

I don't know how you do it, but you do. Amazing! And interesting. I'd never be able to get the eaters in my house past the Miracle Whip -- even if we talked afterwards.

January 4 | Unregistered Commenterkellypea

My mother used to make a version of this when we were kids (they just called it Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake in those days!) and we love, love, LOVED it! It was great for when she ran out of eggs for "regular" cakes, too. Thanks for the memories! :) (Oh, and isn't Miracle Whip vegan? At least, I can't recall any actual food in it!!)

January 4 | Unregistered CommenterRicki

I'M READY FOR THE DARK SIDE!!!! phew. but seriously. i am.

January 4 | Unregistered Commentermoonrat

I have never tried mayonnaise in baked goods...but hey, it is made from eggs and oil afterall...and olive oil pound cakes taste good. At least the emusification part is taken cared of ;).

January 4 | Unregistered CommenterVeron

Yikes. I've seen some old recipes with mayo in their baked goods. I suppose it's not that much different than sour cream or cream cheese, but...yikes.

January 4 | Unregistered CommenterJeanna

Haha, great presentation! ;)

January 4 | Unregistered Commenterbittersweetblog

I used to have the same thought when I heard of mayo in cake - it must taste like mayo. Then I tried out a recipe with mayo as an ingredient and WOW! It adds so much moistness and a whole other level of flavor. And no, it doesn't taste like mayo!

January 4 | Unregistered CommenterTanya

I have come across a few recipes for chocolate cakes using mayo. I have yet to make one, but the rumors of their tangy moistness appear to be true.

Never have they been so clever in the presentation though!

January 4 | Unregistered CommenterBrittany

Interesting! After my recent hard-sell of the brussel sprout cake I may stick with more mainstream items until my eatership forgives me!

This is one of the greatest things I've ever seen. And I'm all about lying to people about the cake until they're happy and bloated. Beautiful.

January 5 | Unregistered CommenterMy First Kitchen

My mom used to make this when I was a kid, but it was a lot more chocolate-y. Unfortunately, she got to a point where she decided if one cup of mayo was good, a cup and a half (or more) would be better. Trust me, it's not. It almost tasted garlic-y.

I've knowned about mayo cake for a long time, but never actualy tasted it. From what I can imagine it must be extra moist! Now your plating cracks me up!

January 5 | Unregistered CommenterClumbsy Cookie

This is one of the classics. I'd like a side of radishes with mine, please?

This looks unusual and interesting at the same time :)

January 5 | Unregistered CommenterSnooky doodle

Hey, I know this is referring to a previous post, but my mom worked at Termini's Bakery in Philly when she was a teenager! I smiled when I saw you featuring their pastry :) Yay!

January 5 | Unregistered Commenteramy.

First, let me say thank you for visiting my blog. I love that you left a comment - comments make me giddy and I just so happened to be writing about that very thing when I noticed your comment.

This recipe reminds me of a recipe I found in a cookbook once belonging to my great grandmother - she used the recipe card for a Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake as a bookmark. I love that the recipe is written in her hand, but have never tried the recipe...sounds like I should.

January 5 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

i remember seeing mayonnaise cake in old cookbooks and always felt the same gross-out factor. glad that this version worked. it looks delicious...but the slathering the mayo as frosting? ew!!

January 5 | Unregistered Commenterkickpleat

I think this will be on the menu this week...although I most definitely will not serve it with the salad portion of the meal.

My mom and I make a 'Don't tell them it's zucchini cake'. At one point it was the only veggie she could get into us kids willingly...aside from corn or carrots.

January 5 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Kellypea: Ha! I did tell Danny what we were eating and he was initially grossed out but finished his plate :-)

Ricki: I looked and it does have egg in it.

Moonrat: I knew you'd be ready to join the dark side.

Veron: Yup, it is a hard hurdle to get over but it's not so bad in the end.

Jeanna: Try it, you might like it!

Bittersweetblog: Thanks!

Tanya, you're right--it tastes different, but not like mayo! I wouldn't have known what the secret ingredient was had I just tasted it.

Brittany: I think it should ALWAYS be presented like this!

Caked crusader: Good point. That would be a double whammy!

My First Kitchen: You're a true kindred spirit!

Courteous: Yeah, I think adding more mayo would NOT be a good idea. Ours is less chocolatey because we didn't use the powder.

Clumbsy: it is the moistest cake I've ever tried. Glad you liked the presentation!

TW: But of course, some kale too perhaps?

Snooky Doodle: Well, we're unusual and interesting people :-)

Amy.: Awesome!! I loved that bakery. I'll bet it was a great place to work!

Kelly: You're so welcome!! You should give it a try, bet you'd like it!

Kickpleat: Don't worry, that's not mayo as frosting, the frosting is actually buttercream. Sorry if that was unclear!

Melissa: Was your zucchini cake chocolate, or more like a zucchini bread type of cake? Love it either way.

January 5 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

Wow, this is interesting! Cocoa and mayo....and served with a plate of veg! I'm dying to know how it tastes like1

January 5 | Unregistered Commenterpigpigscorner

All I can think is whoooooa, but I am intrigued!

this is a recipe that my mom made when we were young, it was always for special occasions, thank goodness she taught my niece to make it, cause Mom's not with us anymore, but her recipe is.. the only thing she did different was to bake it in a small rectangle cake pan, and she would make a mocha peanut butter frosting for it, and she always used regular baking cocoa powder..thanks Mom..

January 5 | Unregistered CommenterT

Alright, I am one of those people who thinks "mayo in a cake?", but I will take your word that it's delicious. :)

January 5 | Unregistered CommenterEsi

I am in awe of your talents!

January 5 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia

I'm in favor of this kind of salad!

January 6 | Unregistered CommenterPeabody
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