$100 Chocolate Cake Recipe

The $100 Chocolate Cake Recipe is a mayonnaise cake that is the original $100.00 cake that won me a Blue Ribbons 1st place winner at the Guilford County Fair in North Carolina in the 1970s.

The story behind this cake recipe is that a lady was dinning in a famous hotel when she ate this dessert, the most delicious cake she had ever eaten.

She asked the chef for the recipe and he obliged, saying he would mail  the recipe to her.

She received the recipe in the mail with a $100.00 invoice attached.

Now, I don't know if this story is true, but this recipe makes is a unique, delicious dessert!

I paid a quarter for the recipe that was advertised in a magazine in the 1970s. 

I have searched cookbooks and the internet for years without finding this exact $100 Chocolate Cake Recipe listed in them.

$100.00 Chocolate Cake Recipe

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 cups sifted cake flour

  • 4 tablespoons cocoa

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 tablespoons grape jelly

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa, and baking soda.

Mix together water, grape jelly, mayonnaise and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients to mixture and mix on medium speed for about 1 minute until all is blended.

Pour into two greased and floured 8 inch layer cake pans and bake in a preheated 350 F. oven for about 30 minutes.

Cool thoroughly and frost with chocolate frosting, below.

Chocolate Frosting Recipe

  • 1 lb. powdered sugar

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

  • 2 oz. melted chocolate

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • juice of 1 large orange

  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Cream butter and half of sugar.

Add melted chocolate and lemon juice.

Beat until smooth.

Add rest of sugar and vanilla.

Add enough orange juice to make right consistency to spread on cake.

Fold in nuts. Spread frosting between layers, on sides and on top.

History of the Mayonnaise Cake

The Mayonnaise Cake has been around since the depression-era of the late 20s and 30s according to historians.

There was a cake by the name of just Mayonnaise Cake, printed in the Oakland Trubune newspaper in California, March 7, 1927.

That was 2 years before the depression began.

That recipe did indeed contain chocolate.

Some historians think it was invented as a substitution of butter and milk for economical reasons.

I was born during the depression and Mama made lots cakes when I was little.

I never saw her using mayonnaise when making a cake. 

I think the reason for inventing this substitution for butter and milk was more of a safety issue than economical.

Most people or the homes I visited as a child, did not have refrigerators.

Some homes had an icebox that held a huge block of ice that was delivered daily or as needed.

The iceboxes looked much like the box type freezers we have today, except they were made of  gray steel components. 

At least the ones I saw were. And they were not electrical.

My Grandmother had one.

By 1937, during the depression years, a cake bearing the same name, Mayonnaise Cake, was entered into a newspaper contest and won First Prize.

Many people including me, thought Hellman's Mayonnaise, established in 1913, invented this cake, but they didn't. 

However, Hellmann's Mayonnaise did promote the recipe in 1937 making it popular.

The Chocolate Cake Recipe at top of page makes a cake that hardly resembles those earlier cakes.

The old fashioned cakes seemed like a mixture of the old Red Devils Cake and a spice cake.

1937 Mayonnaise Cake

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 3 tablespoons ground chocolate

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup pitted dates, chopped fine

  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped coarsely

  • 1/2 cup raisins

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 cup boiling water

  • 2 cups sifted flour 

Dissolve baking soda in boiling water and pour it over the date and nut mixture. 

Let stand while mixing sugar, ground chocolate, and mayonnaise together in another bowl.

Fold in flour and mix well but do not overbeat.

Pour into a 13" x 9" baking pan, smooth top and bake at 350F. for 30 minutes or until cake tests done with a tooth pic when poked in the center.

May be eaten warm or cold. 

This cake recipe does not show a frosting.

However, the $100 Chocolate Cake Frosting at top of page is delicious on this cake, too.

The sponsor, Greenley Daily Tribune newspaper, Colorado, printed this message along with the Mayonnaise Cake Recipe on November 15, 1937. 

Mrs. Lott is again winner of recipe prize. 

The delicious $100 Chocolate Cake Recipe, aka Mayonnaise Cake listed above, evolved obviously, like most good cakes recipes do.

I like this new version... still an Old Fashioned Cake Recipe from scratch, with grape jelly and a citrus tang.

Related Pages

Cocoa Layer Cake

One layer, quick and easy cake... ready in a jiffy!

Devil's Food Cake

Old, dark layer cake recipe. Blue Ribbon winner.

German Chocolate Cake

Original recipe plus Buttercream Frosting.

Maraschino Cherry Cake

Delicious, one or more layers cake for entertaining.

Pig Pickin Layer Cake

Scrumptious with Mandarin Oranges and Pineapple Frosting.

Red Velvet Cake

A classic cake with a smidgen of cocoa.

One of the best!

Return to Old-Fashioned Cake Recipes


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