Remember those whimsical “mystery” cakes of the 1950s, ’60s and early ’70s, the ones with unusual ingredients like sauerkraut and tomato soup?

My mom loved to try such cakes out on her unsuspecting family. She wouldn’t tell us about the unusual ingredient until after we’d eaten a slice and declared it delicious.

I recalled my mother’s surprise desserts when Irma M. Stiegler, of New Orleans, recently called me about some old recipes among 50-year-old papers she found when cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina. One of her recipes was for mayonnaise cake. The recipe “was one I had years ago when I worked at WDSU-TV,” she said.

Her recipe didn’t indicate cake pan size nor include frosting ingredients. I found a similar cake recipe in an old cookbook. It calls for 8-inch cake pans. And, I combined a couple of recipes for the chocolate frosting I used when testing Stiegler’s cake recipe.

The mayonnaise replaces oil and eggs and produces a wonderfully moist cake perfect for any celebration.