Checkerboard Cake

I made this cake for a friend’s birthday, and it was cut pretty much immediately. I took the photograph from my mobile phone, after a few shots of vodka – which explains why it looks too bright and is so strangely composed.

Checkerboard cake

This was a layering of two cakes – one chocolate and one vanilla, topped with a chocolate ganache. A simple enough cake to make, but the results – if you pay enough attention to assembly, result in a cake that looks like you slaved over it for hours.

Made from this pictorial ‘recipe’ from A Subtle Revelry.

Chequerboard cake

Ingredients

Vanilla layer of cake
• 100g soft butter, plus extra for greasing – you can substitute 40 ml of vegetable oil for the butter to make this a Chiffon cake, which is healthier, and more moist than traditional butter cakes.
• 100g flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 150g sugar
• 2 eggs
• 3 tbsp milk
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate layer of cake
• 100g soft butter, plus extra for greasing – you can substitute 40 ml of vegetable oil for the butter to make this a Chiffon cake, which is healthier, and more moist than traditional butter cakes.
• 100g flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 150g sugar
• 2 eggs
• 3 tbsp milk
• 3 tablespoons cocoa powder

Chocolate ganache

  • 100g shredded chocolate (or cut into small pieces)
  • 200ml cream (I used Amul’s cream)

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter/oil and sugar until pale and creamy, using a whisk. Beat well to get lots of air into the mixture (this should take a couple of minutes).
  3. Separate the two eggs into whites and yolks. Add the yolks to the mixture and keep whites separate. If any yolk gets into the whites, it will not become stiff and will fall apart. Ensure no oil is on the whisk or bowl used for the egg whites.
  4. Mix yolks into mixture using whisk, adding the milk.
  5. Fold in the flour using a large metal spoon. Be careful not to over-mix it. Add the cinnamon, baking powder and vanilla extract for the vanilla cake. For the chocolate cake, add the cocoa powder at this stage.
  6. Once the egg whites are stiff, fold into mixture using a spatula.
  7. Pour the mixture into a 8″ cake tin and level off the top with a spatula. Make a slight dip in the center with the tip of the spatula if you don’t want them to be pointed in the middle.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when pressed gently with a finger and are golden in color. A cooked sponge will have shrunk away from the sides of the tin and the centre will feel springy.
  9. Remove from the oven and take them out of the tins after about 5-10 minutes and leave to cool completely (for about half an hour).

Ganache

  1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave 10 seconds at a time, on high.
  2. Stir from the bottom of the bowl each time you microwave again. Be very careful not to let even a drop of water touch the bowl or spoon you use – water makes chocolate split, and you can’t melt it.
  3. When the chocolate has melted completely, slowly fold the cream into the molten chocolate until you are left with a chocolate cream.

Assembly

  1. Use cookie cutters or a set of plates of different sizes and a sharp knife to cut out concentric circles from your chocolate and vanilla cakes, as shown in the linked photograph.
  2. Assemble them as alternate layers – chocolate inner ring, followed by vanilla middle ring, and an outer chocolate ring. Repeat in opposite order for the second layer.
  3. On the bottom layer, pour half the chocolate ganache. Spread with a knife.
  4. Carefully place the second layer on top of the first.
  5. Pour ganache over the uncut top layer, and spread until it just drips down over the edges.
  6. Enjoy your chequerboard cake!

Leave a comment - I'd love to hear what you think!