As you know, I hate mayo, but my brother-in-law’s mother Ida Hatton South, was famous for her mayonnaise cakes. She thought she was tricking me once, she served me a slice of her cake and I ate it. Because, even though I knew that it may have been made with mayonnaise in place of eggs and oil, once it’s baked, its just eggs and oil. So here it is…

2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift together the flour, cocoa, soda and salt. Cream together the sugar, mayonnaise, water and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture; stir until well blended. Pour batter into greased and floured layer cake pans (or a 9- x 13-inch pan). Bake at 350°F. for about 25 minutes.

Chocolate Butter Frosting
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans are nice, optional)

Heat butter, cocoa, and milk and bring to a boil. Add powdered sugar and beat until nice and smooth. Add chopped nuts and stir.


Ida also would flour her potatoes when frying so they would turn out crispier. I’m not a huge fan of those, but loved them when she made them. It’s how I came up with my ham and potato bake recipe. Add some flour to oil when frying and you have a roux, then add milk and it makes gravy. Add ham and cover with cheese, bake it for 20 minutes and yum! its so good!

Ida was an amazing woman, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to spend as much time with her as I did. May God rest her soul.

Often the search proves more profitable than the goal. ~ E. L. Konigsburg