It’s not terribly difficult, but it does require some fuss and lots of patience. The idea is to bake three layers, alternating rings of chocolate cake batter and white cake batter in each pan. In two of the pans, you use chocolate on the outer ring, white on the next, and chocolate in the center. In the third pan, you use white cake batter on the outer ring, chocolate on the next, and white in the center.
How, exactly, do you do this?? Well, here’s where the patience part comes in. I filled two disposable pastry bags; one with white cake batter and the other with chocolate. Since the batter is loose and runs easily out of the bag, I folded the open bottom of the bag and used a chip-clip (like the ones for potato chip bags) to keep it closed until I was ready. So now, working rather quickly, I unclipped the chocolate, made an outer ring (clipped it back closed), opened the white cake batter, made the second ring (clipped it back closed) and repeated the process again for the chocolate center.
(Yes. There was a cake batter mess…a sizeable one.)
I refilled the bags and repeated the process. Here are the cooked layers: Not too pretty. Not too perfect. But good enough!
I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme Chocolate and White cake mixes, and prepared them according to package directions. I’m sure you can use scratch cake recipes if you choose. (I choose to get this done quickly.)
After the baked layers are cooled, I wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in the freezer until I am ready to frost them. I like to do this because the layers become deliciously moist.
I frosted the cake with this Chocolate Buttercream recipe:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 cup milk
2 sticks softened butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 – 3 cups confectioners sugar
In a small saucepan, whisk together granulated sugar, flour and cocoa until well combined. Gradually stir in milk and whisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Reduce heat to low and cook for two minutes, stirring continually. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool completely.
In a large bowl, beat softened butter until creamy. Gradually blend in the cooked mixture, vanilla and melted semi-sweet chocolate.
After the mixture is well combined, begin adding confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition, until desired spreading consistency.
If you own a checkerboard cake pan, I strongly recommend using it. If, however, like me, you do NOT, you can still create a checkerboard cake masterpiece of your very own!
Note to Jill and Sal: Thanks for your gracious hospitality and a wonderful afternoon.
Note to my children: The NordicWare Checkerboard Cake Pan Set is a great gift. (just sayin’)