Zumbo for Beginners: The “It Mayo Shock You” Cake

For my birthday recently I was delighted to receive several cookbooks that I had been hankering after. As I have recently had to buy a new bookcase to store my ever increasing stash of cookbooks, I vowed to do more than just look at the pretty pictures and actually cook a proper amount of recipes from each book. My resolution was strengthened by the fact that holidays start in three weeks and after that I will have no colleagues/students to give my excess food to and my ever expanding waistline will soon begin to rival the equator. Fact.

And lets face it, with this selection how could you not be dying to have a crack at the recipes?

Anyway, back to the story. After the serendipitous meeting of Zumbo the other weekend (see here), I was determined to make something from the book, no matter how hard the recipes looked. The first recipe I opened to was this “It Mayo Shock You” cake and after the initial URGH reaction to the thought of mayo and chocolate (both of which I love but previously only separately) I was intrigued by the relative simplicity of the recipe.

Love the full page photos but intrigued by the continuous presence of tiny people. Any ideas?

I used the Kewpie Mayonnaise which is available at most supermarkets

(I also like to eat this squeezed on carrot sticks… mmmm…)

Yep. Equator. Told you so.

All you do is mix all the ingredients together then stir in the raspberries. So far so good…

The recipe made two small loaf cakes and my tins were a little too small so I had extra batter to make some cupcakes. No point in letting the excess go to waste!

Good lord, these cakes looked and smelled so good coming out of the oven

So the cakes came out fine, but then I hit a snag. I should have known that all would not be as it seemed. To go over the cake the recipe called for a chocolate glaze that seemed simple enough, but required the making of a mirror glaze which required an ingredient called Pectin NH. I’m familiar with normal pectin as ive used it in jam making many times before. One voice in my head said “go ahead lazy bones, just whack some jamsetta in and be done with it” while the other voice said “Katie, do you really think that someone with this degree of expertise in finnicky ingredients would just use normal pectin? Nuh uh.” For once, I made the right decision, as I found out later on that you cannot substitute normal for NH as they are totally different and act differently under heat. So I decided to admit defeat and use a normal chocolate ganache with raspberries on top of my cake.

But, I had my own secret weapon.

Ok, so not quite so secret, but pretty cool nonetheless. These babies are pretty much popping rocks and I thought I would put them on top of my ganache to give it a bit of a Zumbo lift.

You just have to remember that the star dust will lose its poppyness after it comes into contact with moisture so you don’t want to put it on your ganache before it has set.

This was quite possibly the lightest yet richest chocolate cake i’ve tried so far.

It was impossibly light. It was impossibly chocolaty but without being overly sweet.

Smothered in rich ganache with the pop of raspberry and the magical mouth popping star dust, this was the dessert of champions!

So, unfortunately I couldn’t fully reproduce the recipe as it was written, but I feel an immense sense of achievement just from making the cake. Next on the list are the “toasted lammyjammit” and the “honey comb-over” yes, I am going to work my way up to the much much more challenging ones. Baby steps peeps.

So, my lovelies, what is the craziest dessert you have ever made or eaten? Did you do a fist pump in the air when you completed it? I may have…

It Mayo Shock U – From Zumbo by Adriano Zumbo

Ingredients for the Cake

291 g japanese mayonnaise

210g caster sugar

6g vanilla extract

300g plain flour (sifted)

6g baking powder

5g bi carb soda

65g unsweetened cocoa powder

285g water

165g fresh raspberries plus extra for decoration


1. Mix the mayonnaise, sugar and vanilla for 3-5 mins until the sugar begins to dissolve

2. Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the mayo mix. Mix on a low speed to combine

3. With the motor running, add the water and mix until combined (beware of the splatter potential though, I don’t know if I didn’t use a big enough bowl or of the mixture was just super wet but I ended up with cake batter everywhere!)

4. Remove the mixer and carefully stir the raspberries through using a wooden spoon or spatula

5. Pour into two small loaf tins (7.5 X 7.5 X 20 cm) that have been greased and lined with baking paper

6. Bake on 170 degrees celsius for 45 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out just a little moist

7. cool the cakes in the tins and turn out carefully, making sure that you leave them the right way up


I was super lazy and just melted some dark chocolate and then added some cream until I had the right consistency. You could always just pour melted chocolate straight on as well I suppose. Super super chocolaty!

Then garnish with raspberries and strawberry star dust!

By Katie

What can I say? I love sweets, in all shapes and sizes! You only live once, so why not indulge once in a while? Or, in my case, most of the time...


  1. Holey Smokes! This look sooo scrumptious! I think I need to get my hands on this Zumbo recipe book! :runs off to add to Christmas wishlist:

    Look how much they rose, I would be so happy with that air time! My cakes usually just go above the lip.


  2. Thanks Tina! I think I WILL eat it at every hour of the day 😀 particularly midnight!

    Reezy, it is a fantastic book, definitely one to add to your wishlist. It was pretty crazy how risen and crackly they were on top, but not too crunchy.

  3. Nice collection of cookbooks you have there. I’ve heard abo ut the choc mayo cake but have never had it nor could I imagine what it would taste, it’s interesting to hear your thoughts on the cake. Might have to attempt it. Love that you’ve add pop rocks to it

  4. Thanks Phuoc! The mayo taste is just there on the fringe of your pallet, otherwise it tastes like a full blown chocolate cake. Definitely give it a go 🙂

  5. Happy belated birthday!!! What a great collection of cookbooks you have there!! I have the Zumbo book on my wishlist!!

    A chocolate mayo cake sounds strange but I’m glad to hear it works!!! I love it when weird and wonderful combinations work out. As for what crazy dessert I’ve made…I don’t think there has been one. Maybe I am not adventurous enough!

  6. Kiki, I was pretty weirded out by the whole concept but I was seduced by the easiness of the recipe. If you can get over the weirdness of the mayo, definitely give it a go!
    Jennifer, thanks for the birthday wishes 🙂 very kind of you. I don’t believe you haven’t made any crazy desserts 😛
    Sara, im tempted to say that the pop rocks were the best part!

  7. Hi Where did you get the 7.5 x20cm
    Tins? I have not been able to find them in Adelaide or Melbourne or online

  8. Hi Ross, I bought my tins from David Jones in Sydney but I would try somewhere online like Peters of Kensington as they always have quite a large range of tins. Otherwise i’m sure you could just use a smaller or larger tin and just alter the cooking time. Good luck!

  9. Hi, I was wondering where you got the star dust from? It looks amazing. Congrats on tackling a Zumbo cake, it looks wonderful. I’m yet to try something from his book because I have found it way too difficult to get the ingredients or equipment for that matter. Great post!

  10. Hi Jasmine, I bought the star dust from the supermarket, I think it was in the aisle with the tinned fruit and dessert toppings. Definitely try something from the book soon though, this cake is a nice easy one to start with. Goodluck 🙂

  11. I made this yesterday and all was going so well till I cut it. It just crumbled.
    Complete failure.
    Would have been great to mix with some icing for cakepops but on it’s own I needed a spoon to eat some.
    Don’t know what went wrong, maybe not moist enough but I am quite careful with my measurements. Very disheartening but at least it’s one of the quickest recipes in the book. Also made the milk chocolate glaze which seems to have too much gelatine. Ah well, at least my macarons are good.

  12. I do remember it being quite crumbly Ben. Perhaps better as a deconstructed dessert! At least you can be proud of your macarons 😀

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