Taste of Home
The things that Grandma added to her cake batter might sound strange to modern ears, and were often the result of hard times. Pinched pennies during the Great Depression or rationed ingredients during wartime meant staples like eggs, buttermilk and white cane sugar were hard to come by.
But as the old adage says, necessity is the mother of invention. And our mothers’ mothers were nothing if not inventive. (Take a look at these Depression-era recipes.) You may have heard of tricks like using tomato soup in spice cakes or carrot cakes, but your grandma’s rich, delicious chocolate cake is where the real invention took place. So what are some of these unexpected ingredients?
Shutterstock / sasha2109
It sounds strange, but if you think about it, mayonnaise is basically eggs and oil and something tangy—usually vinegar or lemon juice. All of which are classic ingredients in cakes (more on vinegar later). Mayonnaise surged in popularity as a cake ingredient during the Great Depression, when it made a convenient substitute for more hard-to-get or expensive ingredients like milk, butter, sour cream or buttermilk.
Our Mayonnaise Chocolate Cake Recipe still tastes great today.