Orange and chocolate checkerboard cake

RECIPE: I used the recipe for Moist Orange Cake and the Rich Chocolate Cake (both quick-mix cakes). I didn’t alter them in any way. I chose fairly well matched cakes, but if I try a checkerboard cake again I will use one recipe (say for a vanilla cake) that is then adapted for different flavours. The cakes need to be reasonably firm, as you’re cutting and manipulating the cooked cake, and it needs to have clear demarcation between the colours to achieve the effect.

COMPONENTS: When combining two recipes together to form one cake it’s important that they are a similar density and texture, otherwise they could react differently to the assembly process. These two cake recipes were very easy to prepare using a stand mixer, with very few steps for either of them. I split each cake mix in half and cooked it in a sponge tin. Alternatively you could bake one cake and use a long knife or cake wire to slice it in half.

ASSEMBLY: I spent time researching different ways to make checkerboard cake and settled on a method that took slightly more preparation but meant I didn’t need to purchase yet another specialised tin. I cut templates from paper to the circle sizes I needed, with a small circle for the centre, and a larger circle for the middle ring. Each ring needs to be an equal width, so the centre circle should be twice the width of the rings. After levelling off the tops, I then cut out my rings, keeping the alternate colour ring of the same size for the next layer. Each ring and layer was ‘glued’ together with a thin layer of buttercream (it shouldn’t be obvious unless you want clear lines between your checker squares). I covered the cake with a chocolate icing, but you could dress it with anything really.

IMPRESSION: The chocolate and orange was a perfect combination, and my family were delighted when we cut inside because it looked so impressive. It was easier to create this cake than I expected, and I’ll probably make it again.

Recipes from the Australian Women’s Weekly Cakes & Slices

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