Monday, 28 November 2011

"Check" !!

"Chess is a good exercise for the brains. This might appear boring to you now but just give it a try. Itll improve your mental skills". Had I taken my fathers advice a bit more seriously years ago, I probably would have been a much logical and well-concentrated person today.

I really am not good at playing chess like my father but yes, I am fairly good at making chess- or checkerboards - or at least in my own style;)

Just "check" it out!!

Checkered Cake without special pans
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Making a checkered cake is actually no big science. Its bascially all about the pattern. There are special baking sets easily available at different baking stores that generally contain different cake pans and rings to seperate the cake mixes. But even if you dont want to invest on buying them, its no big deal. Just look around carefully and youll find everything within your own kitchen to perform the little trick. All you need is round plates, glasses, lids or any other round cutters to use as templates for cutting out the cake layers. Follow the instructions bellow and make your friends wow on the masterpiece:

Checkered Cake

2 round cakes of equal size but contrasting colours
Chocolate Ganache Icing / Buttercream Icing
Chocolate Glaze

Start by preparing the ganache icing first. Click here to view the step-by-step instructions on how to make chocolate ganache. ( Ive used 300 g of dark chocolate and 300 g heavy cream to prepare the icing here - should be enough to fill and coat the cake).

Bake the cakes according to the recipe youre following. Tip: You may like to use your favourite cake mix from the box. Make sure both cakes are equal in size but different in colour. Checkered cakes are often made in yellow and chocolate colours but you can use other shades of your choice as well.

You could also bake the cakes from scratch as I did. However, try and find recipes that use similar amounts of flour, sugar and eggs in order to yield same sized cakes. I have baked two 8 inches cakes using my regular cooking pan;) For optimal results, follow the baking instructions posted here.

Once the cakes are done, allow them to cool thoroughly. Slice each cake into three horizontal layers.

Tip: Youll cut each cake twice to get three layers and there will be six layers in total. Ive used my special cutting tool for that but here is a good link incase you want to do it with the normal cutting knife. Another famous method is the one using toothpicks. Just type in the search engine, youll find many links and videos on that as well. Make sure you cut the cake twice to get the three layers.

Checkered cake making process

Now comes the part where you need round templates to cut rings out of each cake layer. Ive used a round bowl (approx. 6") and a glass (approx. 4").

Carefully lift up the middle ring from all layers. Tip: Be gentle or ask someone to give you a hand.
Once the rings have been seperated, its time to reassemble them with alternate colours and layers.

Making checkered cake without pans

Put the first layer down on the cake plate and seal it with some icing.  Using a spoon or spatula, lightly spread the icing on the insides of the outer ring.

Now spread some cream/ganache on outside of middle rings as well. This helps in sticking the rings together and they wont fall apart while cutting the cake. Fix the ring again into the layer and spread a thin layer of icing on top of it.

Continue doing the same with the second layer, and then repeat with the third as well.

Once youve stacked all the layers on each other, its time to cover the sides and top of the cake with the icing. This requires a bit finess. Best is to place the cake in the freezer for 15 minutes. Itll help against crumbling. Apply the thickened yet spreadable ganache /butter cream icing on the sides first.

Fill in the gaps and smooth out roughly by moving the scrapper from down to upwards.

Now take a palette knife and run around the sides with it. Tip: If you dont have a palette knife, use your cake server instead. Incase the icing is a bit hard to work with, dip your knife in hot water and smooth out the ganache with it. Keep spreading and smoothing, even if you have to use more ganache on one side than the other. Keeping your knife stand straight and rotate the cake platter, moving the knife on the ganache.

Once the sides are done, apply a thick layer on the top. Be gentle with the icing. Incase you see crumbs mixing with the icing on your knife, clean it immediately. Take more icing and continue spreading until all sides and top are smoothly coated with ganache. Tip: Dip the knife in hot water and shake off the excess droplets and run over the icing. The heat will help you to smooth out the top and sides much easily.

Place aside to set. Put in the freezer for a while before coating it with a shinny glaze.

Chocolate Glaze:

300 g chopped dark chocolate
370 g heavy cream
1 tbs corn syrup (optional)

Take heavy cream in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Pour over the chopped chocolate. Stir carefully,  add in the light corn syrup and mix until a smooth shiny glaze is obtained. If you find impurities, strain it.

Stirring carefully, allow to cool down.

Set a wire rack on a deep plate/ dish. Take out the cake from the freezer and place it on the prepared rack. Pour the glaze over and on sides of the cake.

Carefully shake the wire allowing the excess glaze to drip off, and level the cake top with a palette knife. Tip: The excess glaze can be strained, (after one hour) stored in the refrigerator or freezer and reused later.

Carefully tranfer the cake onto the serving plate. It is actually ready to serve. You may, however, decorate further if you want.

And this is how the cake looks from inside.

Slice of homemade checkered cake
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Isnt it cool???

Have a great chess time people!!


  1. One word...Lovely...........

  2. Superb, i'm speechless...truly its a masterpiece and a great creativity

  3. This is soooo inspiring...You are my guru Fatima!!!All I can is WOOOOW!!!!GREAT JOB!will certainly try this!

  4. zaberdast....superb....great job...aik bar pir impressed:)


  6. thank you soooo much for all the appreciation ppl....(blushing:)It certainly feels great to see your hard work getting paid off through such lovely comments...and frankly speaking, I myself am impressed at how good the checker turned out in the end:)
    Nosheen, I made my all-time-fav "plain cake with cheese flavour" (just added some red food colouring and 2 tbs cocoa powder to give the shades, the recipe link is already given in the blog but you can follow any other recipe you like, important is that its not too crumbly or too soft to handle...Ill be waiting to hear from you again;)

  7. WOW...fatima...absolutely amazing....have to give it a try...but a bit scared to do it cake is chocolate as i can c but the other1 is plain cake with color?mairah.

  8. yes Mairah, one is chocolate and the other one is plain cake coloured with edible food colouring. If you want to try it just for the sake of making a checker, try using a box mix. Itll save much time. love

  9. This is amazing.. loving it loving it loving it... plzz tell the recipe of ganache/buttercream frosting as well.. and for cakes which recipe u used??

  10. Whoa, breathtaking. I want to be a good baker too. But my cakes are always so rubbey. I don't get a soft spongy cake. Planning to try something simpler from here


  11. Thank you sooooooooooooo much!! i've been looking for this method all over the internet.. thanks again :)

    1. did you try it then? How was the outcome?

  12. hi fatima

    i was introduced to ur blog by my sister. it is amazing. we always wanted to make this checkered cake but hardly anybody gave the steps so convincingly. You hv given it so frankly that i could not help trying it and it came out quite well. i did with 2 layers each (6 was too much to handle).

    thx a lot Fatima.


  13. hi dear, looks super yummmmmy....... I have a question: can u make it in a cake loaf pan(remember we used to get them from United bakery!)