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Roll ‘Bama Roll Tailgate: How about some dessert? Southern Chocolate Mayo Cake

Finish up your tailgate with a delicious from-scratch chocolate cake

We’ve had delicious chicken birria tacos, and passed around a plate of sweet potato fries with avocado aioli dip.

But now we must have dessert — something that is moist, chocolaty, and (mostly) idiot-proof.

Sure, you could bake that plate of cookies, but why not wow them instead with a from-scratch Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake.

If cooking is art — a forgiving canvas that permits unlimited creativity, then baking is chemistry — meticulous, rule-bound precision is the order of the day. The difference between catastrophe and epiphany can be less than a teaspoon.

While many recipes are difficult to bake, for beginners there are few things quite as frustrating as making a scratch-cake. It looks easy. It should be easy. It should be consistent...but it rarely is.

And that reason is the moisture content. You aim for a cake that is bouncy, fork-tender, but not chewy or dense.

The secret, as disgusting as it may sound in a vacuum — is mayonnaise. That is where today’s RBR Tailgate sponsor comes in — Duke’s Mayonnaise: all hail our aioli overlord. Today’s recipe is just that: dessert with a Deep South spin. Because there is nothing, nothing that our people will not put mayonnaise on or in.

Only this time, it’s delicious. I honestly don’t recall where I got this recipe from the first time, but it’s been my go-to for the last half-decade or so. Because I generally suck at following rules, baking has always been difficult for me.

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake


  • 2½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Mix these dry ingredients in a bowl

  • 1⅓ cup mayonnaise (all hail Duke’s, our Mayonnaise Overlord)
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup sugar

Using an electric blender on very low, or throroughly whipped by hand, mix these wet ingredients together.

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoon ground coffee (bonus if you have mocha laying around!)
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces of diced semi-sweet chocolate (Hershey’s bar works fine).

You know the drill: slow mix the hot water and coffee in a cup. Then add cocoa powder and chocolate. Whisk together carefully until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Slowly and gently, in equal measure: add the sugar / mayo mix, the dry indredients, and the chocolate ingredients little-by-little until the batter is thoroughly blended

  • Add 2 teaspoon vanilla extract to your batter, and slowly fold in 34 C milk (I used whole because I’m not a pansy — actually, the fat content makes it taste better).

Batter is done!

  • Pour the batter in two well-greased 10” pie rounds, and place into a 350-degree baked oven. Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until the center is fork- or toothpick-clean
  • TIP: The closer to the pie rounds you pour the batter, the less large air bubbles you will create. You don’t want those.


  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use a dark chocolate for this part; I don’t like milk chocolate)
  • 4-6 cups of powdered sugar (depending on your sweet tooth — and I actually use 3 cups personally. I don’t like very sweet things).
  • 8 oz of softened butter (two sticks — I didn’t say this was good for you).
  • 2-4 tablespoons of milk
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • A dash of salt

Mix together the sugars.

Then add butter, milk, and vanilla extract in that order.

Finally, stir in a pinch of salt

Blend together very well with an electric blender (it sucks to do this by hand). Set aside at room temperature.

Finally, remove your cakes from the oven and place on wire cooling racks. Wait until completely cooled, then frost them. Be sure to not add too much frosting on the layers that will form the will all squish out and make your cake ugly.

Your end product will be a delicious, moist, tender, and utterly impressive cake — especially when you tell them it was done from scratch.

Roll Tide