This cake (I call it my Un-Party Cake because I didn’t have a specific occasion to make it for) is the result of a bunch of different situations– first (of course), we’re stuck inside due to coronavirus, so grocery shopping isn’t as easy as it used to be.
Second, the other day I was making egg salad and realized that we were out of mayonnaise, so I made some from scratch (fun!). However, that left me with a bunch of extra mayo on hand that I had no immediate use for, and to keep it from going bad I decided to use it to make a cake. It had to be chocolate, because I’d used a touch of mustard in making the mayonnaise to help it emulsify, and I was worried that the flavor might come through in a vanilla cake.
Third, I had plenty of random stuff available to garnish this cake– half a can of chocolate frosting left in the refrigerator that I could use as the base for a larger batch, some seedless raspberry jam I wanted to use up (because I prefer the flavor of the seeded kind), and the dregs of various packages of cookies and candy that had been pushed to the back of our pantry over time. So we got to work.
The cake itself was easy– almost as easy as my usual egg- and dairy-free chocolate cake– but instead of oil and some of the liquid it used mayonnaise.* I baked it in three 6-inch round pans to make the finished cake tall and pretty. I whipped up a vanilla buttercream to use with the raspberry jam to fill the layers, then set some aside and added my leftover chocolate frosting to the rest to darken it up. I probably should’ve added more cocoa for flavor, but I didn’t bother.
I’ve been coveting one of those stripe-making cake combs, where you drag grooves into the side of your frosted cake, fill them in with a contrasting color, and then smooth them out to make perfect stripes. Unfortunately I didn’t have one, so I tried making my own by cutting notches in the side of a piece of thin cardboard. It… was not exactly successful. Too bendy. But I managed to neaten up the grooves with the tip of a mini offset spatula and soldiered on.
The finished stripes weren’t too bad– not as precise as I’d have liked (I think the frosting wasn’t quite warm enough) but they turned out all right. The chocolate ganache drip was also not perfect– I think I need practice on my piping technique– but I managed to get one presentable angle’s worth of pretty drips.
Once that was done, my daughter and I just went to town on the top, packing it with cookies, candy, sprinkles, the works! I think it turned out beautifully! Not bad for a random, spur-of-the-moment baking project!
* Cake recipe: 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 6 tbsp. cocoa, 2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt. Combine in a bowl, and stir in 1 cup hot water, 1 cup mayonnaise, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Bake in round pans at 350 degrees F until toothpick comes out clean.