Checkers cake

Checkers cake 1 bis

For years, I have been looking at this cake in one of my old cookery books (‘Desserts’ by Anne Willan) and last weekend decided to finally give it a go. I guess I was worried it might be too complicated but, believe me or not, it was actually quite straightforward. The only thing is that it took me a bit of time. Normally you would use three same-sized tins to make this cake, but I only have one so it took…three times longer (I’m really good at maths, aren’t I?). This cake combines vanilla and chocolate sponges with some raspberry jam to stick the layers together and it’s covered with a dark chocolate ganache (click on the link for the recipe). On top, I crushed a little bit of raspberry meringue. The recipe will follow in the next few days. By the way, you may have noticed my slight obsession for the dark chocolate/raspberry combo…

Checkers cake 2 compressed

Checkers cake 3 compressed

Checkers cake 4 compressed.docx

Checkers gif gif

To make a checkers cake, you need:

Checkers cake

Prep time: 40 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Serves: 8 to 10 people

This recipe uses three (or one) 20-cm round tins. If using a different sized tin, the baking time will vary.


    For the chocolate and vanilla sponges
  • 250 g unsalted butter
  • 375 g plain four
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 50 g cocoa powder
  • 300 g icing sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the raspberry jelly
  • 100 g raspberry jam
  • 3 tbsp water


    To make the sponges
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Grease three round 20-cm tins (or only one if you only have one like me), line the bottom with baking sheet and grease this as well.
  2. In a bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Split the flour mixture over two bowls. Into one of the bowls, sift the cocoa powder.
  3. In a third bowl, cream the butter with a wooden spoon or an electric whisk. Sift in the icing sugar and continue beating for a couple of minutes until the mixture doubles in volume.
  4. Add the eggs one by one, beating again after each egg, and then the vanilla extract to the butter/icing sugar mix. If it gets a bit lumpy, slightly warm it over a bowl of hot water.
  5. Split the egg/butter/icing sugar mixture equally between the plain flour and cocoa flour bowls. Mix both mixtures until homogeneous.
  6. Fill two piping bags, fitted with plain nozzles, with the vanilla mixture in one and the chocolate mixture in the other (if the vanilla mixture feels more liquid than the chocolate one, let it harden a bit in the fridge for 30 mn).
  7. With one piping bag, pipe a ring of dough, starting on the outside of the tin. Repeat the process by alternating the two types of mixture until the tin(s) is/are filled (see gif image above).
  8. Fill all three tins following the same process, but make sure that two of them have an outer ring of chocolate while the third one has a vanilla outer ring (this way you'll get the 'checkers' effect).
  9. Bake for 15 mn (to make sure it's ready, a skewer inserted in the middle must come out clean).
  10. For the raspberry jelly
  11. In the meantime, melt together the raspberry jam with the water in a small saucepan over a medium heat until all lumps have disappeared.
  12. Pass the jam through a sieve to get rid of the pips.
  13. To assemble the cake
  14. Take the sponges out of their tins and brush them with raspberry jelly. Place them on top of each other starting with a chocolate ring outside first (then the vanilla one), bottom up, and leave them to cool.
  15. Cover with a chocolate ganache or chocolate butter icing and decorate as you wish.


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