Mayonnaise Cakes And Victory Mops

IMG Jessie DeBoth flyer 1942

It was surprisingly hard to find a mayonnaise cake. I was quite sure I had come across this oddity several times. When you have a lot of old cookbooks you start forgetting where you saw a certain weird thing. I am going to start writing interesting things on notecards so that I can access them for posts – a Rolodex of the Absurd.

Anyway, I found some brownies and date nut cupcakes in a Miracle Whip booklet entitled “Who’d a thunk it!”  Not me, looking at some of the other things in here, like Fruit Filled Lettuce and Frosted Pears (how they loved to frost things back in the day, didn’t they!).

Date Nut Cupcakes

1 cup Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups sifted pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2 Tbs grated orange rind

Combine Miracle Whip, sugar and vanilla. Sift together flour, soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg; add alternately with water, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dates, nuts and orange rind. Place paper bake cups in muffin pans; fill 2/3 full. Bake at 375 degrees, 35-40 minutes. Frost if desired. [Makes] 18 cupcakes.

The brownies are a standard recipes substituting mayonnaise for eggs and oil – so I guess it is perfectly reasonable, if you look at it that way. And if you didn’t have eggs or oil, you could probably get away with a little mayonnaise in their place. It’s just that it sounds so – salady. Jessie DeBoth doesn’t care about that though – she’s going to call it like she sees it. And what she sees is a mayonnaise cake, that’s what.

The recipe for “Mayonnaise Cake” in  Jessie Marie DeBoth’s 1942 opus,  Jessie Marie DeBoth’s Cut dollars from your food bill Cookbook.Ms. DeBoth was the Director of the Toronto Star’s Cooking and Home-Maker’s School. The photo of her is from a handout from one of her cooking demonstrations, that I found tucked inside the cookbook. It took place at Toronto’s Massey Hall in March 1942. One of the many corporate sponsors was O-Cedar of Canada, makers of the O-Cedar Victory Mop. How wonderful is that – naming a mop a Victory Mop?

Almost as wonderful as a mayonnaise cake!

Jessie Marie DeBoth’s Mayonnaise Cake

1 cup sugar
1 1/2 oz. chocolate, melted
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten with 3/4 cup salad oil to make mayonnaise
1 3/4 cup sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup coarsely chopped nutmeats
1 tsp soda
1 cup boiling water
1 cup seedless raisins
1 tsp vanilla

METHOD: Combine sugar, melted chocolate, cinnamon and salt with the egg and oil mayonnaise. Mix and sift the dry ingredients, pour the boiling water over the nuts and raisins and let stand [a] few minutes. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar and mayonnaise mixture, then stir in the drained fruit and nuts with the flavoring, mix well but do not beat. Bake in greased baking pan about 60 minutes in moderate oven, 350 degrees. Frost with seven-minute double-boiler frosting.

She suggested that you serve this in December with Mutton Cutlets, Brown Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Canned Peas, and Fig and Cream Cheese Salad. (There were menus for all twelve months, with and without meat, because of war rationing).

I find it curious that she did not use prepared mayonnaise but homemade – in which case, what was the point? Why not use eggs and oil as separate components in the cake? Hellmann’s was the first commercial mayonnaise and it was first sold widely in 1912; by the 1930s there were several brands available (although maybe not in Canada). So it seems that she is going out of her way to make it known that this cake was a mayonnaise one.

Her cookbook and the handout are terrific, full of things I want to write about later on. But for now let me draw your attention to her spectacular blouse, complete with her initials, and yin-yang like star-burst pattern. She looks like she would have been a lot of fun. I would have gone to her cooking demonstrations. Oh, and I also wish I could get a Victory Mop – we need more victorious cleaning implements around our house.

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One thought on “Mayonnaise Cakes And Victory Mops

  1. I have made and really enjoyed a mayonnaise cake – they are pretty darn moist. I have yet to try a tomato soup cake or spinach pie but I have the recipes when I’m ready to take the plunge.

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