Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Checkerboard Cake

Addie loves that she shares her birthday with her grandpa! We had a little celebration for both of them and since I had two more cake rounds - I served the checkerboard cake again. As we were serving, Wes was quizzing his dad to see if he could figure out how I created the checkerboard effect. Their scientific discussion included terms like "integrals" and "concentric circles." I decided it was time to reveal the secret to this mystery!

There are special cake pans that you can buy to create a checkerboard cake. I don't think you need them. Just start with two different round cakes (vanilla and chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, chocolate and strawberry, etc.). I made two cake mixes - chocolate and vanilla and ended up with four cake rounds - enough to make two checkerboard cakes. In the past I usually just make two rounds and then use the extra batter to make cupcakes. Remember: you can freeze cupcakes or cake rounds!

For the best results - you may want to create a template to cut your circles. But I am an "eye-balling it" kind of girl so I just cut away! You need to cut two circles of equal width in each cake round.

So you end up with this:

Then you just fit the alternating circles back together to get this: (As you can see - because I didn't measure, my circles didn't fit together perfectly. But I ended up filling in the spaces with chunks of cake I had to shave off the top to make it even. sometimes takes a little improvising but it works.)

For Addie's birthday party, I frosted the cake with 7-minute icing - her favorite. I decided to do something different for my second cake. I wanted a frosting that was light and easy to spread on my very "crumby" cake top. So I experimented and tried something that I thought turned out really great. I bought a powdered chocolate mousse mix (in the baking aisle) and I whipped it with about 2 cups of whipping cream. I added some powdered sugar to make it just a tad sweeter. It turned out really yummy!!

Growing up at my house - my mom always made the classic layer cake for any special occasion. I have many memories of her teaching me how to frost a layer cake. So for anyone who doesn't know...start with the middle (obviously).

Then frost the sides - making sure that you bring the frosting all the way up to the top.

Then frost the top. Remember to always use the tip of the spatula!

Mom would tell us how when she grew up - her mother was very stingy with frosting - applying a very thin layer to her cakes. In response, my mother was very generous with her frosting. She loved a nice thick layer of frosting that swirled and peaked. That was her idea of a beautiful cake.

Since this frosting has a whipped cream base, it needed to be refrigerated. So I used another tip I learned from my mom. Stick toothpicks in the cake and cover with plastic wrap. Chill until time to serve.

Checkerboard effect. Pretty cool!

There are so many variations you could try!
Vanilla and strawberry cakes - frost with raspberry whipped cream (whip cream and fold in fresh raspberries, slightly crushed)
Vanilla and lemon cakes - frost with raspberry whipped cream or cream cheese frosting.
Vanilla and chocolate cakes - frost with strawberry whipped cream (whip cream and fold in container of strawberry yogurt).
Vanilla and Red Velvet cakes - frost with regular whipped cream or cream cheese frosting.
You could use food coloring with vanilla cake batter to make any color of cake you want! It could even be rainbow!

1 comment:

Chris W. said...

What a great cake! It's so fun!