Checkerboard Cake – Homecooking Wreckventure

Making a cake that is a surprise from the inside and out, that’s art, right there. Many years ago, while watching “Cake Boss” on TV, I was introduced to this marvelous creation right here, the Checkerboard Cake. This cake was featured in one of the episodes where the owner of  Carlo’s Bakery baked this cake as an anniversary gift for his wife, as this was the cake that topped the top-tier of his wedding cake when they got married. It has captured my heart ever since, and also my fingers were itching to create something just spectacular on the inside.

The ingredients for this cake is pretty basic, and most bakers would have most of the ingredients available in their kitchen. It is a standard butter cake and chocolate butter cake. It is the assembly that took a little more effort, but the results are spectacular.

Personally, I prefer baking my cakes from scratch, but if you prefer, any contrasting coloured instant cake mix would be fine. It is recommended to prepare cakes that are denser to prevent the cake from collapsing upon itself from the weight of the frosting.

Adapted from Baker’s Corner Vanilla and Chocolate Checkerboard Cake recipe.

Ingredients

Ingredients 

Cake (Chocolate and Vanilla):
450g Self Raising Flour
150g Plain Flour
1 tsp Salt
520g Caster Sugar
300g Butter (melted)
440ml Milk
6 Large Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
50g Cocoa Powder

Chocolate Ganache:
600g Dark Chocolate
150ml Thicken Cream

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Method
Step 1: Put melted butter and sugar in a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment and beat till light and creamy on high.

(Step 1b): While butter and sugar are whisking, sift self-raising flour, plain flour, and salt together and set aside.

Step 2: Lower speed to medium-low. Add beaten eggs one at a time and beat till combined.

Step 3: On low speed, add milk and flour (Step 1b) into butter mix (Step 2) alternating in 3 parts until all ingredients are incorporated.

Step 4: Add vanilla bean paste into the mixture.

Step 5: Split the mixture into 2 portions. Keep 1 of the portion vanilla, and the 2nd portion, fold in sifted cocoa powder to create the chocolate cake.

Vanilla Cake

Here I’ve made enough for a 16cm large cake and a smaller one on the side.

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Chocolate Cake

Same amount of ingredients as before, a large chocolate cake and a smaller chocolate cake.

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Step 6: Bake for 160c for 45mins (for the large cake) or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a wire rack when done.

Step 7: Refrigerate till cold for easy handling.

Prepared rings

Cake rings preparation: Trim the top of the cakes off and slice cake across in half.

Each layer is cut into rings. For my 16cm cake, the middle sizes are 10cm and 5cm in diameter. I used round cookie cutters with the diameters of 10cm and 5cm.

You will end up with 2 x 16cm chocolate rings, 2 x 16cm vanilla rings, 2 x 10cm chocolate rings, 2 x 10cm  vanilla rings, 2 x 5cm chocolate cake pieces and 2 x 5cm vanilla cake pieces (double of the above images)

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Chocolate Ganache preparation: Put 600g dark chocolate and 250ml thicken cream in a microwave safe bowl.

Microwave on medium uncovered for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir. If it doesn’t melt completely, return to microwave on medium uncovered for 30 secs each time, stirring in between. Do not leave in the microwave for too long as it will burn the mixture. Continue microwaving in 30 sec blasts and stirring in between until the mixture is smooth.

Set aside to cool and thicken.

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Chocolate ganache ready to be spread.

 

Assembly method: Once chocolate ganache has cooled a little, spread chocolate ganache between each ring and slide the contrasting colour into the space, repeating with the alternating colour to form a whole cake layer.

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Next layer

Work on alternating contrasting cake flavours, building between each layer with a spread of chocolate ganache to keep everything together.

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Once the cakes have been stacked up, coat the outer layer with the remaining chocolate ganache, and decorate the cake with whatever you like!

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My 1st attempt

With my 1st attempt, this is a 4 layer cake with maltesers, home-made chocolate bark and rainbow marshmallows. For a 1st attempt, I have to say, I’m pretty proud of myself. It does look pretty good!

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Insides

Cutting into it was perhaps rather nerve wrecking and exciting at the same time. I have to say, this turned out pretty well!

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The day to create this same masterpiece of a little kid’s birthday, this was perhaps one of my biggest cakes to date. The cute little garden insects were created by a friend of mine, and it was her concept that made this cake such a huge success.

The ready-to-roll sugar icing was purchased from Coles, they do lots of lovely colours, and we had a great time creating these cute little creepy crawlies.

 

 

Original layout

It is always good to have an idea on what you might like on your cake before putting the bits and pieces on top of it. Ideas change, and it is good to be flexible and adapting to what the final piece requires.

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All done!

The final cake has a much smaller surface area than the original layout, but it did work out really well! I am really happy with this and presenting this at the party later in the day.

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Cross-section of the cake

I ended up with a 3 layer cake, as a 4th layer will not fit into any cake box that I own or could buy. This cake had to travel and it was a smart move to have a shorter cake.

I had a great time making this cake, and was really happy to see everyone enjoying and taking multiple photos of this little masterpiece. 10/10 will do it again! (Upon request of course. This is a rather massive cake)

Enjoy!


 

Ingredients 

Cake (Chocolate and Vanilla):
450g Self Raising Flour
150g Plain Flour
1 tsp Salt
520g Caster Sugar
300g Butter (melted)
440ml Milk
6 Large Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
50g Cocoa Powder

Chocolate Ganache:
600g Dark Chocolate
150ml Thicken Cream

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Method

Cakes:
Step 1: Put melted butter and sugar in a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment and beat till light and creamy on high.

(Step 1b): While butter and sugar are whisking, sift self-raising flour, plain flour, and salt together and set aside.

Step 2: Lower speed to medium-low. Add beaten eggs one at a time and beat till combined.

Step 3: On low speed, add milk and flour (Step 1b) into butter mix (Step 2) alternating in 3 parts until all ingredients are incorporated.

Step 4: Add vanilla bean paste into the mixture.

Step 5: Split the mixture into 2 portions. Keep 1 of the portion vanilla, and the 2nd portion, fold in sifted cocoa powder to create the chocolate cake.

Step 6: Bake for 160c for 45mins (for the large cake) or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a wire rack when done.

Step 7: Refrigerate till cold for easy handling.

Chocolate Ganache preparation: Put 600g dark chocolate and 250ml thicken cream in a microwave safe bowl.

Microwave on medium uncovered for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir. If it doesn’t melt completely, return to microwave on medium uncovered for 30 secs each time, stirring in between. Do not leave in the microwave for too long as it will burn the mixture. Continue microwaving in 30 sec blasts and stirring in between until the mixture is smooth.

Set aside to cool and thicken.

For assembly instruction, please look at the above images, or view the video instructions from Baker’s Corner here.

 

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