There are a lot of recipes for fruitcake out there, and a lot of holiday recipes that call for mincemeat. I’ve even seen them overlap before.
But I have to admit, I never expected either one to involve mayonnaise.
Mix 1 c. prepared mincemeat, 1 c. chopped walnuts, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 tbs. rum flavoring. Blend 1 c. Best Foods or Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise, 1 1/2 c. buttermilk. Over mixture, sift 3 c. sifted flour, 1 1/2 c. sugar, 3/4 tsp. soda, 1 tsp. salt. Add grated rind of 1 orange, mix thoroughly. Stir in mincemeat mixture. Line bottom 9-in. tube pan with brown paper, pour in batter, bake at 325° F. 2 hrs.
What a great way to save on expensive eggs! Use mayonnaise (which is made from yolks) instead! That’ll save money for sure.
And cakes with mayo aren’t a new thing, even in the world of retro recipe testing. (Cranberry Mayonnaise Cake, for example.)
Except, we make our own mayonnaise, from fresh eggs. After having discovered how easy it is to do this in a food processor, I have basically sworn off jarred mayo; it’s like tasteless slime in comparison.
So this recipe isn’t going to help us pinch pennies, but I like making recipes that are odd just for the sake of being odd. And I wasn’t the only one who thought the recipe sounded pretty odd. We were discussing this recipe at lunch time, just before I set to work on it, and Lily (who is ten, going on seventeen), did not approve of putting mayonnaise in a cake.
“Why would anybody do that?”
“Mayo is mostly just eggs and oil. Those are pretty standard things to add to a cake, right?”
“But it’s all slimy. And it doesn’t taste right.”
“Even the minor ingredients are mostly unremarkable things to use in baking: sugar, salt, vinegar, even lemon juice. The only exception is mustard.”
“You don’t put vinegar in cakes.”
“Yes you can. It makes them fluffier.”
At that point, she just rolled her eyes and got up to leave the table. I resisted the urge to remind her that virtually all the fats, sugars, and starches she eats are broken down into vinegar during her metabolism.
Once the mayo and buttermilk (I love cooking with buttermilk, by the way, although I wouldn’t touch the stuff straight) were mixed together, it looked like a standard liquid mixture for a cake.
Once the sugar, flour, salt, and leavening went in, the result was a pretty conventional-tasting batter. It still had a weird look to it though, like paint with a matte finish instead of glossy.
I realized at this point that I had forgotten to grate the orange peel. I’m much more used to grating lemon (or sometimes lime) rind, which is kind of a pain. The rind is tough, and it’s tricky to get the off evenly. However, the naval orange peel couldn’t have come off more easily. Each swipe across the grater took off a nice circular chuck, and it cut to the just the right depth—none of that nasty white pith getting mixed in. In a moment, I was done, and I plopped the went gratings into the mix.
It was pretty, watching the grated peel leaves swirls into the pale batter. It would probably have looked even cooler to somebody who wasn’t red-green colorblind.
Way back at the beginning, I had mixed the mincemeat, nuts, vanilla, and rum together. (Although the ingredients picture shows rum extract, I decided to just pour in a tablespoon of actual rum, since I’d bought a full bottle for holiday cooking.) I really don’t know why that mixture had to be prepared in advance, then left to sit while I made the rest of the batter. However, it was easy enough to mix the two parts together in the final stage.
I sampled the batter at this point, on the first bite, I bit into a chuck of shell that had sneaked in with the nuts. That convinced me not to try any more until the cake was cooked. We don’t have flat-bottomed tube pan to like with brown paper, since I just greased and floured our usual bundt cake pan and poured the batter in.
Two hours seemed like a long time to bake. After one hour, the kitchen smelled deliciously of mincemeat, and the top of the cake looked like it could be done. But we waited out the full baking time, and the resulting confection was obviously not overcooked.
It did lose a chunk off the top when coming out of the pan.
Luckily, that could be easily re-added. Missing chunk of cake? What missing chunk of cake? I don’t see any missing chunk of cake.
Once the cake had cooled, I had a quandary. The recipe instructions end abruptly with the baking time, but the cake in the picture is coated in white. Was I supposed to frost it? With more mayonnaise?
what the heck. I just served it as is. When I cut the cake open, it smelled delicious. We sampled it, and it tasted almost as good. Spicing it up with a little more rum poured over the cake make it even better, but it was quite tasty on its own.