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Can I Make This Black & White Checkerboard Cake?

Updated: Nov 8, 2019



I saw this black & white checkerboard cake on "Farmhouse Rules" on the Food Network and on a few different YouTube videos including this one from Tasty.


It looks so cool! I had to try to make it!




It looks really easy when they make it. Basically, the steps are:


1.) You cut each cake into 3 different size rings

2.) For each layer, you place concentric rings of alternating colors of cake next to each other.

3.) Then, stack the layers.


When you cut through the cake, it looks like a black & white checkerboard! :)


Saturday, November 2, 2019: Attempt #1:


This attempt was kind of doomed from the start. Haha. :) I made 2 cakes with the original recipe (oil and 3 eggs). When I was pouring the batter into the pans, I thought: "Wow, this batter is thick". Usually, I had been making Funfetti cakes, but I thought the batters shouldn't be this different for the different types of cake. Then, I realized I forgot to put water! Haha. :) I tried to pour water directly into the baking pan and stir it in by hand, but that didn't work. I had to pour each batter back into each bowl & mix the batters again with the electric mixer. (That's what this row of pics is showing.) Debacle!


Another thing was that usually 1 box of cake mix should make enough cake for two 9"-round pans (the baking pans in the picture), but I poured 1 whole cake mix box into one 9"-round pan and the other 1 whole cake mix box into the other 9" round pan.


RESULT: Fail! :)


We are good at this? The cakes actually turned out fine in terms of taste and moistness even after the debacle with forgetting water and then re-mixing the batter.


I didn't plan too much with this attempt. I waited 30 minutes for the cake to cool. I just tried to do it with these round cookie cutters I had. You can see I made 3 concentric circles.



Then, I cut the cakes into rings and placed them next to each other in alternating colors. What I found was that the rings were too small and when I tried to stack them it was unstable and fell over easily. I also think I didn't wait long enough for the cakes too cool (only waited 30 min.). They were still warm when I was cutting through the cake, so I thought it would work better when the cakes were cool and better set.


I was planning to use the cake for my cake pop experiments anyways, so it wasn't a total loss. :) Reusing ingredients for different projects / posts like I wrote about before. (see links)


https://www.wearegoodatthis.com/post/getting-the-most-bang-for-your-buck-planning-content

https://www.wearegoodatthis.com/home/geeking-out-over-cake-pops-intro---set-up-trying-to-minimize-calories-per-pop

https://www.wearegoodatthis.com/home/geeking-out-over-cake-pops-part-1-cake-ball-formation

https://www.wearegoodatthis.com/post/geeking-out-over-cake-pops-part-2-dipping-assembling

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Sunday, November 3, 2019: Attempt #2:


I re-watched the videos and looked at the website. They use bigger cakes. I decided I had to use cakes with a bigger diameter.


Another adjustment I made was that I also made the cakes on Saturday and let them cool overnight, so they wouldn't be too warm like in the first attempt.


I made the cakes again with the original recipe (oil and 3 eggs).



Stencil / Planning


The cookie cutters I had didn't have a big enough ring, so I looked around my place to see what I could find that would work.


You want the thickness of each ring to be about the same (~1 in.) and also for this to be about the same as the height of each cake layer,

- So that when you cut through the cake, this will form squares and the checkerboard pattern.


I tried out different plates, bowls, and the cookie cutters and stenciled them on paper to see if it made the circle sizes I thought would work.


You won't use the paper when assembling the cake. It was just for trying out different size objects to use when cutting the cake. I used markers to draw the circles for the photo on the right, just so you can see the circles more easily. Like I said, you're not going to use the paper.




RESULT: Fail, still. Mostly. Haha. :)


We are good at this? On the upside, the stencils worked well. I just used a butterknife to cut around the cakes. I'm going to use this technique for my next attempt.




The cakes turned out well, but they were too moist and tasty and not structurally sound to make the entire black & white checkerboard. When I tried to move the rings of cake around, they would fall apart. I thought waiting for the cakes to cool completely would help; it didn't.


After I made the first layer, I tried to fill in the gaps where the cake fell apart with extra frosting (like spackling) with little success. :)


I was able to stack 2 layers of cake (below this next row of pics).



2 layers of cake, but it's falling apart. Haha. :)


I was able to get a small area of black & white checkerboard (below this row of pics).



Small area of black & white checkerboard. :) The outside rings fell apart, but in the middle there was a small area that worked! I knew I was going to need to make some adjustments for my next attempt.




Thursday, November 7, 2019: Attempt #3:


I did a healthy cake mix experiment (substituting applesauce for oil) last night (which I will write about post about soon, Stay tuned!). I noticed that the cake seemed to be more structurally sound and rose taller than cakes made with oil.


I thought the healthy cake made with applesauce might work better for constructing the black & white checkerboard and it's healthier too.


To be continued...



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