Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mayo Chocolate Cake

Copyright 2011 Christine's Pantry. All rights reserved.

When most of us hear the word chocolate, we picture a bar, a box of bonbons, or a bunny. The verb that comes to mind is probably "eat," not "drink," and the most apt adjective would seem to be "sweet." But for about 90 percent of chocolate's long history, it was strictly a beverage, and sugar didn't have anything to do with it.

I often call chocolate the best-known food that nobody knows anything about," said Alexandra Leaf, a self-described "chocolate educator" who runs a business called Chocolate Tours of New York City.

The terminology can be a little confusing, but most experts these days use the term "cacao" to refer to the plant or its beans before processing, while the term "chocolate" refers to anything made from the beans, she explained. "Cocoa" generally refers to chocolate in a powdered form, although it can also be a British form of "cacao. Etymologists trace the origin of the word "chocolate" to the Aztec word "xocoatl," which referred to a bitter drink brewed from cacao beans. The Latin name for the cacao tree, Theobroma cacao, means "food of the gods''.

Many modern historians have estimated that chocolate has been around for about 2000 years, but recent research suggests that it may be even older. In the book The True History of Chocolate, authors Sophie and Michael Coe make a case that the earliest linguistic evidence of chocolate consumption stretches back three or even four millennia, to pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica such as the Olmec.

Last November, anthropologists from the University of Pennsylvania announced the discovery of cacao residue on pottery excavated in Honduras that could date back as far as 1400 B.C.E. It appears that the sweet pulp of the cacao fruit, which surrounds the beans, was fermented into an alcoholic beverage of the time.

Who would have thought, looking at this, that you can eat it?" said Richard Hetzler, executive chef of the café at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, as he displayed a fresh cacao pod during a recent chocolate-making demonstration. "You would have to be pretty hungry, and pretty creative!

It's hard to pin down exactly when chocolate was born, but it's clear that it was cherished from the start. For several centuries in pre-modern Latin America, cacao beans were considered valuable enough to use as currency. One bean could be traded for a tamale, while 100 beans could purchase a good turkey hen, according to a 16th-century Aztec document.

Both the Mayans and Aztecs believed the cacao bean had magical, or even divine, properties, suitable for use in the most sacred rituals of birth, marriage and death. According to Chloe Doutre-Roussel's book The Chocolate Connoisseur, Aztec sacrifice victims who felt too melancholy to join in ritual dancing before their death were often given a gourd of chocolate (tinged with the blood of previous victims) to cheer them up.

Sweetened chocolate didn't appear until Europeans discovered the Americas and sampled the native cuisine. Legend has it that the Aztec king Montezuma welcomed the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes with a banquet that included drinking chocolate, having tragically mistaken him for a reincarnated deity instead of a conquering invader. Chocolate didn't suit the foreigners' tastebuds at first –one described it in his writings as "a bitter drink for pigs" – but once mixed with honey or cane sugar, it quickly became popular throughout Spain.

By the 17th century, chocolate was a fashionable drink throughout Europe, believed to have nutritious, medicinal and even aphrodisiac properties (it's rumored that Casanova was especially fond of the stuff).  But it remained largely a privilege of the rich until the invention of the steam engine made mass production possible in the late 1700s. In 1828, a Dutch chemist found a way to make powdered chocolate by removing about half the natural fat (cacao butter) from chocolate liquor, pulverizing what remained and treating the mixture with alkaline salts to cut the bitter taste. His product became known as "Dutch cocoa," and it soon led to the creation of solid chocolate.

The creation of the first modern chocolate bar is credited to Joseph Fry, who in 1847 discovered that he could make a moldable chocolate paste by adding melted cacao butter back into Dutch cocoa.

By 1868, a little company called Cadbury was marketing boxes of chocolate candies in England. Milk chocolate hit the market a few years later, pioneered by another name that may ring a bell – Nestle.

In America, chocolate was so valued during the Revolutionary War that it was included in soldiers' rations and used in lieu of wages. While most of us probably wouldn't settle for a chocolate paycheck these days, statistics show that the humble cacao bean is still a powerful economic force. Chocolate manufacturing is a more than 4-billion-dollar industry in the United States, and the average American eats at least half a pound of the stuff per month.
In the 20th century, the word "chocolate" expanded to include a range of affordable treats with more sugar and additives than actual cacao in them, often made from the hardiest but least flavorful of the bean varieties (forastero). 

But more recently, there's been a "chocolate revolution," Leaf said, marked by an increasing interest in high-quality, handmade chocolates and sustainable, effective cacao farming and harvesting methods. Major corporations like Hershey's have expanded their artisanal chocolate lines by purchasing smaller producers known for premium chocolates, such as Scharffen Berger and Dagoba, while independent chocolatiers continue to flourish as well.

I see more and more American artisans doing incredible things with chocolate, Leaf said. "Although, I admit that I tend to look at the world through cocoa-tinted glasses''.
By http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/brief-history-of-chocolate.html

Mayo Chocolate Cake
Copyright 2011 Christine's Pantry. All rights reserved.

Ingredients:
1 (18.5 oz) chocolate fudge cake mix
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
nonstick cooking spray

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, add cake mix, mayonnaise, water and vanilla extract. Mix well. Pour batter into bundt pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes before removing cake from pan. Enjoy!










37 comments:

  1. what an interesting cake - mayo with chocolate! well i guess since mayo is eggs and oil, it works well! :D hope u are having a fantastic week!

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  2. I've always heard that chocolate mayo cakes were the best....that one looks sinful!

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  3. What a great info. I love your chocolate cake. It looks really inviting. Thanks for the recipe.
    Kristy

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  4. Not sure we can get chocolate fudge cake mix but this really looks mouth watering. Diane

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  5. Interesting chocolate information. I never tried using mayonnaise in a cake before. I usually use yogurt. I think I will give your recipe a try soon...!!!

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  6. Different than a normal cake but I like different. This looks so rich and decadent!

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  7. Christine, Interesting research on Chocolate! Learned a couple of new things from reading your blog this morning. Nice looking cake too... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

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  8. I don't think I've made one of these since high school, but I do remember it being a super moist and wonderful cake. Thanks for sharing, Christine!

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  9. Hi Diane, any chocolate cake mix would work well. Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. Hi David, I'm happy you learned a couple of new things from reading my blog.

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  11. Very good post! Thanks for all the information and a great recipe!

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  12. Hi Tina, the cake taste wonderful! Yum! Thanks for stopping by.

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  13. I would never think of adding mayo into a cake. What a cool idea.

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  14. I really don't like mayo but i am sure i can't even taste it in this chocolate cake. Next time i have a chocoate fudge cake mix in the house, i am gonna try making this.

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  15. I bet this cake is super moist! It looks so good!

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  16. Hi Cakewhiz, you really can't taste the mayo in the cake. Mayo is eggs and oil. Thanks for stopping by.

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  17. Hi Christine....I just friended you on f/b. Cake looks very easy and a fast way to get a hit of chocolate......http://thewednesdaybaker.blogspot.com/

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  18. Hi Steph, the cake is moist and yummy! Thanks for stopping by.

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  19. Hi Anonymous, thanks for the friend request on FB, I accepted. I did visit your blog. Nice blog. I'm your newest follower. Thanks for stopping by.

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  20. great info on chocolate, I learned a few things!
    I guess the mayo acts like oil in the cake, I've never tried it but certainly looks like it came out really well!

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  21. Hi Wilde in the Kitchen, thank you so much!

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  22. Love the history Christine. They say it was a brave "man" who ate the first oyster but I suppose you can say that for most new foods, including the tomato:)

    Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake is the best!!! I never saw a recipe that used a cake mix though. Right up this girl's alley for sure.

    Thanks for sharing and BTW, Happy National Fudge Day!!!

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  23. am not a chocolate fan but whenever someone says chocolate i think of chocolate cake .. no frosting .. just plain chocolate cake and I start craving for it :) This is a great recipe.

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  24. Yummy! I have used a mayo recipe cake before, but not a chocolate cake, and I know how moist they can be! Thank you for sharing this recipe, and that interesting write-up :)

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  25. Don't think I could cross the line and put mayo in a cake - (I've got a huge mayo aversion lol) but it looks like it would be a winner. Thanks for all the great chocolate info!

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  26. Oh chocolate cake is so yummy! this looks so moist and delicious!

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  27. Mayo really makes cakes moist. This one looks super moist.

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  28. My grandmother has a famous chocolate mayonaise cake recipe...it is ohh so good! I usually wait to tell people that there is mayo in it until AFTER they take a bite ;)

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  29. Hi Chrissy, I didn't tell anyone about the mayonnaise in the cake, until after they ate the cake.

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  30. Good brief history of chocolate, Christine.

    I'm not a fan of mayo, never have been, but if you didn't tell me this had mayo, I'd try it because it looks very good, dark and moist.

    Sorry it has taken me a while to comment, I've at a four day convention.

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  31. Hi ChocolatePriestess, no need to say sorry.

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  32. mayonnaise in cake I haven't had before looks good

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  33. Wow! What a great article so well researched and informative. Learning about chocolate is almost as fun as eating it, almost:) Thanks for participating in the YBR & Have a great weekend!

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