"Life is like a box of chocolates ... you never know what you're gonna get." --a quote by Tom Hanks, portraying Forrest Gump.
For many "chocoholics," a piece of creamy smooth chocolate melting in their mouth is the epitome of sensory pleasure.
Recently some chocolate-loving scientific researchers reported that people who eat the ancient food experience an increase in brain activity and heart rate that was more intense than what is experienced during passionate kissing, and the feeling also lasted four times as long after the melted confection was gone.
That might explain the reason that so many boxes of the delicious confection ends up in the hands of sweethearts on special romantic moments like Valentines Day and anniversaries.
But when you tell someone under the age of 30 looking for a recipe to make a moist, flavorful chocolate cake to exchange the eggs and vegetable oil, or butter, called for in the recipe with mayonnaise, they will give you a very strange look and possibly check your forehead for a temperature.
It really isn't that hard to imagine using the condiment in a cake when you consider that it is made primarily of vegetable oil and egg yolks. Plus, the tangy bite of lemon juice and vinegar, two more ingredients in mayonnaise, also help make the taste of chocolate in the cake "zing" just a little bit more than usual.
I was lucky the other day to have someone request I take a look through my grandmother's cookbooks to find a recipe for chocolate mayonnaise cake.
Although I knew she had one, I was unable to find it among Grandma Iva's books. But, I did find one in my great-aunt's cookbook and another in a book given to me by a friend.
Aunt Genny had a traditional version, and an old friend Virginia, from Utah, gave me a cheater's version using a cake mix.
Aunt Genny would sift two cups of cake flour, one cup of sugar, two teaspoons of baking soda, one teaspoon of cinnamon, four tablespoons of dark cocoa and a quarter teaspoon of salt into a large mixing bowl then whisk in one cup of water until completely mixed, usually a minute.
Add one cup of real mayonnaise, whisking for another minute, and then add a tablespoon of vanilla and one teaspoon of instant coffee crystals, mixing for another minute.
Pour the batter into a greased and lightly floured 13 x 9 inch pan and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 35-40 minutes.
When the cake is baked, sprinkle with chocolate chips while sitting on counter to cool. Use a knife to spread the chocolate for a simple icing. Top with chopped nuts or use a paper dolly and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar over the top for a more delicate look.
To make Virginia's cheater version, put your favorite 18-ounce chocolate cake mix in a mixing bowl. Blend in three eggs, one cup of whole milk and a half-cup of real mayonnaise until completely mixed, about five minutes.
Pour the batter into prepared baking pans and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven as per instructions on the box.
Frost cakes as desired.