Campfire Recipe: Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

While mayonnaise in a cake may sound a little weird but this is an old family recipe that my grandmother used to make during WWII.  Yes, she would typically cook it in her oven; this recipe has been converted to work in a Dutch oven. 

Campfire Recipe:  Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake



Spray or liquid oil

2 cups all purpose flour

¼ cup Dutch processed cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

1 cup of granulated sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 cup of water


4 Tablespoons of unsalted butter

½ cup of packed light brown sugar

2 Tablespoons of milk

1 cup of confectioner’s sugar



  1. Build fire to prepare the coals.
  2. Lightly grease the inside of a 10 inch Dutch oven with spray or liquid oil.
  3. Measure parchment paper to fit inside the 10 inch Dutch oven.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda.  Stir.
  5. In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract.
  6. Add the water to the bowl in step 5 and stir. 
  7. Slowly add the flour to the bowl in step 6.  Mix in between each addition.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared 10 inch Dutch oven.
  9. Place the lid on the Dutch oven and move to a heat resistant surface.
  10. Arrange 10 coals in a circle on the heat resistant surface.
  11. Put the Dutch oven on top of these coals.
  12. Add 18 to 20 prepared coals to the lid.
  13. Remove the lid and check the doneness of the cake after 20 minutes.  To check the doneness, simply push a toothpick down through the center of the cake.  If it comes out clean then it is done.  If it comes up doughy then you will need to cook longer.
  14. Cook for additional time as needed.
  15. Cool the cake for 20 minutes before removing from the Dutch oven.
  16. To make the frosting, first place the grilling rack above the fire.
  17. Place a small saucepan on the grilling rack and add the butter to it.
  18. Melt the butter and once that has happened add the brown sugar.
  19. Bring this mixture to a boil and cook over the heat for 2 minutes.  Stir often.
  20. Take off the heat and allow to cool some.
  21. Once somewhat cooled, add the milk.
  22. Put the saucepan back on the grilling rack and bring to a boil again.
  23. Remove from the heat and cool for 30 minutes.
  24. Once the 30 minutes has passed, mix in the confectioner’s sugar.

As soon as the sugar is mixed in, spread on top of the cake and serve.