Don’t do a double-take . . . not a typo . . . you read it correctly. Yes these cupcakes are made with mayonnaise. This cake has been around forever and I could not find any concrete history regarding how this came to be. Some sites credit a wife of an employee at Hellmann’s, other sites hint that this may have been a result of the scarcity of butter and oil during the depression and subsequently the rationing in the later days during World War II. In any case, I remember this cake fondly as a child when a very good family friend made it for special occasions.
But before you turn your nose up to mayo as an ingredient–what really is mayo? It’s primarily eggs and oil, which you will find in most cake ingredients–except those made with butter, but still butter is a fat. Okay so there’s the taste factor. Well, there is really no discernible mayo taste in the cake. Although, I do have to caution that you don’t want to smell these cupcakes right out of the oven. But rest assured as they cool they will start smelling like chocolate cake instead of a slight hint of mayo. And these cupcakes are much better the next day.
I wanted to fill these with something, but what?
Side note on coring cupcakes: I fell victim to the cupcake corer gadget. It was useless. Instead use a simple apple/fruit corer. It makes the perfect size hole for filling cupcakes.
For the filling, I wanted to make something that reminded me of retro Hawaii since the cake was definitely a blast from my past. But I wanted something more–what can be more classic than haupia? Nothing. Well kulolo–but this breaks my heart. I can’t even think of it without the distant longing and craving of this desirable sought after dessert that I can only get in Hawaii. It is too hard to make, and the taro which is the main ingredient isn’t the right type here in the Mainland. Oh oh, think haupia not kulolo. Yes haupia I could make, kulolo nope.
If you’re from Hawaii and living in the Mainland you can sympathize with my rambling about haupia and kulolo. If you aren’t from Hawaii then Haupia I can explain, Kulolo too sad for me to talk about (sigh). Haupia is a coconut-based dessert sometimes compared to gelatin, but that comparison is all wrong. The texture of haupia is more solid not quite gelatinous. And for these cupcakes, I was envisioning haupia cream. I knew there had to be a recipe out there since it is a popular filling/topping for cakes in Hawaii. After looking at several recipes, I finally decided on a typical haupia recipe but tweaking it a bit by adding some sweetened condensed milk and heavy whipping cream. Although not what I had in mind since it was more pudding than cream, it was quite tasty.
Chocolate mayo cakes are usually served with a simple chocolate frosting. But I didn’t want to hide the pretty contrast of the white haupia on the dark-brown almost black colored chocolate cupcake. So I piped a circle of simple chocolate frosting around the filling and sprinkled some coconut on the haupia.
I’m glad I made these cupcakes the day before. I sampled it right after making it and so very much hated it. Disappointed, I threw the paper copy recipes in the trash with despair. I was also embarrassed since these were intended for my hubby’s boss who loves Hawaii. He assured me that it would be fine. Always my biggest fan that hubby of mines. Ai love him lots and lots.
The next morning I had to take yet another taste of these cupcakes before my hubby brought them into work. And with trepidation I took that first bite and . . . it wasn’t what I had expected. It was FANTASTIC! The flavors seemed to have brighten overnight, the haupia was a little more solid, and the frosting less sweet with a richer chocolate flavor.
This probably won’t be my go to chocolate cake, but definitely one to make every so often when I need that hit of nostalgia.
Chocolate Mayo Cupcakes (adapted from Hellmann’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake)
2 c all-purpose flour
2/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 2/3 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c Hellmann’s or Best Foods mayo
1 1/3 c water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cupcake pans with liners.
- Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer beat sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy on medium-high speed. About 3 minutes.
- Add mayo mix until incorporated.
- Add dry ingredients alternating with the water, start with dry and end with dry ingredients.
- Using a medium ice cream/cookie scooper, place cake batter in each liner about 2/3 full.
- Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
Chocolate Frosting (adapted from Epicurious Frosting for Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake)
Note: I did not use the recipe for the cake. I decided to go with the traditional Hellmann’s recipe, but this sounds equally yummy.
10 oz bittersweet chocolate (not more than 61%), chopped
1 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
3 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Melt chocolate either in a double boiler, microwave, or chocolate warmer. Cool until lukewarm.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer beat butter until smooth and creamy.
- Sift powdered sugar and add to the butter. Beat until incorporated. About 2 minutes.
- Add vanilla and melted chocolate and beat until well blended. Make sure to scape down sides in between mixing.
- If frosting is thick, thin out with some whipping cream.
1 c coconut milk
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
4-4 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
4-4 1/2 tbsp water
Pinch of salt
- In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, combine coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk and whisk until incorporated.
- Add salt and cook until small bubbles form around the pan. Do not boil mixture.
- In a small bowl mix cornstarch and water.
- Slowly whisk cornstarch and water into the coconut mixture (the amount of cornstarch and water depends on how thin/thick you want the haupia cream to be)
- Continue whisking until thickened.
- Chill to set.
- If haupia is too thick, thin out with some whipping cream.