A slice of family recipes chocolate Waldorf cake on a patterned plate with a fork, on a wooden table with a blue napkin.

The Family Recipes Series: Chocolate Waldorf Cake 

Let them eat chocolate cake!

By Laura Carson Miller

As a very lucky person who grew up with and continues to be surrounded by great cooks and bakers her entire life, I thought it would be fun to share a few of my fave family recipes with you. 

My Motivation

There is something about foods you grew up with that were whipped up in the kitchen of your own home or that of relatives, including grandmothers and aunts, that conjure up a specifically warm and cozy nostalgia like no other! Not only the luscious taste of the dishes but what about the aromas wafting through the house as magic happened in the oven or on the stovetop? Science has proven scent memories are some of the strongest we experience. This is because smells go directly to the limbic system, the parts of the brain associated with memories and feelings. Makes sense, right?

A characteristic I personally love about family recipes is the time honored tradition of a handwritten recipe on an index card or a page from a notepad, complete with secret notes for the best chance of successfully replicating the deliciousness of said recipe. Years ago my paternal grandmother gave my sister and I metal recipe boxes filled with handwritten recipes on index cards. There is something so special about seeing the familiar handwriting. It floods my soul with joy and memories of sitting at the table enjoying home cooked feasts. 

The chocolate cake recipe I’m sharing today is one my mother made time and time again because it was a family favorite. I have so many super fond memories of this chocolate cake which we lovingly nicknamed ‘the mayonnaise cake.’  I am not a fan of mayonnaise in general but am also not fond of eggs unless they are in… let’s say…cake!!! I would really love a big piece of chocolaty mayo cake right now with a hot steaming cup of black coffee. Imagine that. Would you care to join me?

The Recipe

Here is the recipe as printed from the cookbook:

Chocolate Waldorf Cake

Measure and sift together:

2 cups plain flour

1 cup sugar

4 tbsp. cocoa (heaping)

2 tsp. soda

1/4 tsp. Salt

Then add 1 cup mayonnaise 

2 heaping tbsp. blackberry jam

1 cup cold water 

1tsp. Vanilla extract 

Bake in two layer pans in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until it shrinks from sides of pan; or bake in a steeple cake pan in 300 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Use white icing. Mrs. S.F. Gasque

My mother’s notes:

Put water in before mayonnaise 

Use dark grey rectangle pan 13x9x2

Mum always used chocolate icing on this cake. Full disclosure: I had to Google ‘steeple cake pan’ because well, this term is new to me. It seems it is what is now referred to as a Bundt pan or tube pan? Just FYI: a tube pan is basically a pan that has a hollow tube in the middle. The tube design helps the cake to release easily from the pan post baking.  It also acts as a heat conductor allowing a big ‘ole deep cake to bake up more quickly. Which comes in handy when you want to say to people, ‘let them eat cake’ and serve them some cake. But there’s more! A Bundt pan is actually a kind of tube pan, usually having a nonstick and light colored interior. It is often used for the ever popular Southern favorite: pound cake.

Please let me know if you bake this wildly fantastic chocolate cake! It’s truly so very good! Use the form on the contact page or reach out through Pinterest or Instagram. I love hearing from you. Also, don’t forget to sign up to receive exclusive content through my email list. Only subscribers receive LCM Lifestyle Seasonal Edits, the LCM Lifestyle Quarterly Letter and the monthly LCM Lifestyle List. Thank you so much for being here!

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