Checkerboard Cake

Checkerboard Cake

Is this cake amazing or what? It’s a piece of art and almost too pretty to eat! The best part about this cake is that it doesn’t require a special tin and the only special equipment you need are two piping bags.

Checkerboard Cake

I, as I usually do, halved this recipe to make a mini layer cake. They’re way cuter than an eight inch cake. I used three four inch disposable pans that I bought for £1 at a junk store. I also run the disposable pans through the dishwasher and re use them more than once.

Checkerboard Cake

This recipe is from the new Great British Bake Off Showstoppers book. The book is in conjunction with the new series on BBC2 now. I wonder how long it will be before we see spinoffs in other countries à la Masterchef?

Checkerboard Cake

In the book the cake is paired with a ganache but I used this chocolate frosting instead. I topped the cake with some butterscotch mini chips from Sainsbury’s. They’re very crispy. The inside of the cake is so elaborate that I kept the decoration simple.

The cake looks like a checkerboard when it’s sliced. To achieve this look the chocolate and vanilla batter are put into piping bags and piped in alternating circles around the tin. You could probably get away with using a sandwich bag with the corner cut off if you don’t have any piping bags. To see me details about cake layering check out the steps on my salted caramel layer cake.

Checkerboard Cake

Yield: three 8 inch cake rounds

Checkerboard Cake



350g butter, at room temperature

350g caster sugar

3 tsp vanilla

6 eggs

350g self raising flour

pinch of salt

50g cocoa powder

4 tbs milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C and line 3 eight inch pans with parchment paper (or grease and flour). In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter for several minutes until creamy.
  2. Add in the sugar, then the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary.
  3. Sift in the flour and salt and fold by hand to combine. Put half the batter in a separate bowl and sift in the cocoa powder and two tablespoons of the milk. Stir in 2 tablespoons of milk in the vanilla batter.
  4. Put the two batters into separate piping bags. Pipe a ring of chocolate around the outside of two of the tins, then pipe a ring of vanilla. Keep alternating until the pans are full. In the third pan start with the vanilla first.
  5. Bake for 22-25 minutes (12-15 minutes for a small cake). Run a knife around the edge of the cakes and invert onto a cooling rack.
  6. Once the cakes are cool frost with your desired frosting. For layering action see this post.

adapted from The Great British Bake Off Showstoppers


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  1. Love this technique!!!! Great final result. For me I would use the all-in-one method with this recipe, get rid of the salt and make it lazy! :-)

  2. This looks great. We also used to use a band of folded foil to make the checkerboard effect. Make a ring of folded foil, place in tin, pour one kind of batter into the center, pour second batter into the outer ring. Remove foil before baking.

    I love this effect… looks so dramatic!

    • The foil is a great idea for cake batter that isn’t thick enough to keep the shape on it’s own!

  3. Awesome – well done!

  4. This looks fantastic! It looks really fancy and impressive, but sounds fairly easy. This is going on my to-do list.

  5. Very impressive cake indeed. I bought a checkerboard pan from America earlier this year but have not managed to use it successfully. I should have saved myself some $$ and just bought this book! I debated trying this as my previous attempts at checkerboard cake have been dismal and opted for the caramel cake instead. Now I really want to try this and I want to find small cake tins – love mini cakes!

  6. I’ve not made this cake but I’ve made a similar checkerboard cake in the past and I used a cutter set to get the same effect. You just use the largest cutter and the smallest cutter and place them in the middle of two sponge cakes (1 vanilla, 1 chocolate) and then swap the cut pieces over. Super simple and produces the same effect, if like me, you’re not brilliant with a piping bag! This cake looks delish though and I love the addition of the butterscotch chips and frosting.

  7. Fantastic, didn’t realise it was so easy! Going to give this one a try for sure.


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