Vegan Chocolate Nayo Cake–My Version of Your Grandma’s Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake Takes the Cake!

Slice of CakeYield:  one 8- or 9- inch layer cake

“Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake???” you may be thinking.  “Ick!,” right?
Wrong!  Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake is a long-standing classic for a reason.   But this is one time when I felt that an old standby needed a little boost.  Hence, my Vegan Chocolate Nayo Cake was born.  Click on the link to go straight to my recipe on the Nasoya website, or keep reading for the backstory.
Very generously, Nasoya recently sent me a jar each of their newly reformulated Nayonaise and NayoWhipped sandwich spreads to review.  So, since I had three jars of mayo in my fridge (those two plus my jar of Vegenaise), I decided I should make something that called for a lot of it to use some of it up before it spoiled.
I remembered a very “old-skool” recipe called “Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake,” so I Googled it and got busy with some research.  Many of the recipes I found call for a couple of eggs along with the mayonnaise, but I found one that was naturally vegan except for the mayo, so I started there, substituting NayoWhipped, as it is the sweeter of the two varieties that I was sent.
But I wasn’t completely sold on the cake.  Since vegan mayo contains no eggs, I felt the cake needed more lift.  But more than that, it need more flavor!  I had scanned through the comments on the recipe before I made it and the responses were 180 degrees apart: from the best cake folks had ever eaten to are-you-kidding-I’ll-never-make-this-again.   And, I can see how different palates would interpret the flavor so differently.  It needed work.

More searching turned up a vegan recipe, but it called for applesauce along with the mayo, and I don’t keep applesauce around.  What I really wanted was a recipe that could be made from a standard baker’s pantry.

So, since, unfortunately, our epileptic Great Dane, Minnie, had a seizure in the wee hours of the morning a little while back—time to up her phenobarbital!—I was WIDE awake and decided to hit the kitchen, creating my own version of Vegan Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake that I had been working out in my mind for the couple of days since my first test.
One of the people who commented on that first recipe I found recommended making it with coffee, so that was one of my substitutions, which dramatically helped in the flavor department.  But I punched up the flavor even more with Creme de Cacao (it’s vegan!). I just happened to have some on-hand after creating a Vegan Grasshopper Pie for St. Patty’s Day and, boy, am I glad I did!
Besides the coffee and Creme de Cacao, what really did the trick was some additional natural sugar and some apple cider vinegar, which is not as astringent as white vinegar, and adds very subtle complexity.  I upped the amount of baking soda from 1 1/2 teaspoons to 2, whisking it into the vinegar for some serious fizzing action.  This seems to give a little extra “oomph” to the leavening power of the baking soda.  But I also added just a teaspoon of baking powder for good measure.
The finishing touches were a layer of spiked Chocolate Ganache and spiked Vegan Sour Cream Fudge Frosting.
I am so happy with the end result and just as happy to share it with you and other visitors to the Nasoya website (if you haven’t tried their tofu, I recommend it too!)!

Whole Cake


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  1. Hi, Betsy! Long time no comment (life has been a little crazy!) My grandmother used to make mayonnaise cake, so I appreciate it’s yumminess! Thanks for the updated version! You rock (as usual!)

  2. I hope crazy good, Janet! I so appreciate your undying support. Now go make some Chocolate Nayo Cake–everything will seem less crazy–ha!

  3. I checked out the recipe and it looks delicious and intriguing. I’ve given up on mayonnaise but I’ll try out this brand. Back in my vegetarian days I did try out a few recipes with mayo and it always added a certain richness to a dish. I’ll bet that cake is nice and moist. Mmm mmm mmm!

  4. I’m glad you took a look, Karen. It’s a new favorite for me and you are right: mayo does nice things to the richness/texture. Otherwise, I don’t eat much mayo either, which is why I needed to find a way to use up quite a bit of it. I just made some delicious vegan fish-and-chips and made a mayo and malt vinegar dipping sauce. (Will post soon…when we get some sun and I can photograph–I may have to make another batch at this rate!) But I’m not much of a sandwich eater, so I don’t consume mayo that way. I do, however, put it in my vegan chicken salad and vegan egg salad. I just can’t make those recipes to often, as I find it difficult to stop eating them! If you make the cake be sure to let me know what you think!

  5. Hi Betsy!
    If I wanted to turn this into a “white” cake. Do I just replace the cocoa with flour or only 1/4 of flour?

  6. Cassia, I did a little online research, and there are precious few recipes for even non-vegan white/yellow-mayo cake. Perhaps there is a reason??? The one I did find recommended substituting a yellow cake mix for a chocolate one, so that wasn’t helpful. But here’s what I’d say: in theory, you could replace the cocoa with flour. However, cocoa powder (natural, unsweetened, not Dutch Processed) is an acid, so it reacts with the baking soda that is in the baking powder to act as a leavening boost. I would have no idea how much of a boost, though, but you might try another 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. The other consideration is that cocoa powder has a very strong, deep flavor. So my guess is that it “masks” a little of that mayo flavor that is delicious in savory foods but, perhaps, a little off-putting in a cake. I’m not sure what I’d do about that other than using a very mild vegan mayo–maybe Vegenaise instead of Nayonaise (sorry Nasoya!)–and up the vanilla extract. You might even add a bit–like 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon–of almond extract, as it has a pronounced flavor in its own right, and one that I happen to love in cakes and cookies. Let me know if you give the white/yellow-mayo cake a whirl, what you did, and how it worked. I know other readers, including me, would be interested! ~betsy

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