Hidden Design: Chessboard Cake

Kuchen Schachbrett Muster

(Deutsch) As the name suggests, a hidden design in a cake is not visible until the cake is cut. Most of the time you get the design into the cake by hiding ready baked cut out cake bits in a second cake batter. This chessboard design however is much simpler as you cut it out after baking. This makes it a lot easier and it looks just as spectacular.

I am using a simple chocolate and vanilla cake for this. I love making this cake for children especially because it may look complicated, but it really is not and you can make it any colours you like, depending on the theme. I covered this cake in chocolate ganache and added dripping white chocolate because I do not like fondant and it just seemed like a nice alternative.

You will need…

Round Baking tin ∅ 20 cm (7,5″): You will be baking four layers so if you have more than one baking tin (ideally four) it will be most helpful and save time.

  • For the chocolate-vanilla cake

    • 5 eggs
    • 370 g sugar
    • 1/2 ts salt
    • 1 tbs Vanilla extract
    • 570 g flour (plain)
    • 3 ts baking powder (leave out if selfraising flour is used)
    • 170 ml sunflower oil (alternatively 140 g butter)
    • 5 tbs cocoa powder
    • 600 ml Milch (reduce by 100 ml if butter is used instead of oil)
  • For dekoration
    • Chocolate Ganache
      • 400 g dark or milk chocolate
      • 400 ml cream
    • Dripping
      • 100 g white chocolate
      • sprinkels of your liking

Step 1: Chocolate ganache

As it needs to chill and set for some time, we will start with the chocolate ganache. This mixture is made from cream and chocolate and is a delicious spread for cakes. If you have leftovers, you can easily freeze them and use them weeks and months later.

1.) Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place them in a heat-proof bowl.

2.) Bring the cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate. Stir until well combined and all chocolate pieces have melted. Then cover with a kitchen towel and se

Step 2: Cake

Preheat your oven to 180°C.

Once you are done with the batter you will need to devide it into four equal portions. I always find it helpful to weight the empty bowl first so I know how heavy my batter is in the end and just devide that by four. But you can eyeball it, too.

1.) Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until light and fluffy.

2.) In a second bowl, mix flour and baking powder. Add oil / butter and keep mixing until it reachs a sandy consistancy. Add the milk and mix until combined. Carefully work in the egg-mix, only until combined so you don’t beat out the air.

3.) It’s time to bake the vanilla cake. Take two greased tins and pour a quarter of the batter into each. If you only have one, pour in half of the mixture at once – you can cut it horizontally later to get 2 layers. Bake for 20 Minutes (2 tins) to 30 Minutes (1 tin).

Kuchen Schachbrett Muster4.) While the cakes are baking or cooling, add the cocoa powder to the rest of the mix. If you feel it is a bit try, add 2 tsp of milk. Mix until well combine and bake as you did the vanilla cakes, so you end up with 2 layers of vanilla and 2 layers of chocolate cake. Let cool completely.

Tip: If you only use one tin you are more likely to end up with a little cake-dom. You can just cut it off and use for cake pops by adding some cream cheese.

Step 3: Putting it together 

Kuchen Schachbrett Muster

1.) You want to cut each cake into two rings and one circle. For this, you can either take a ruler or find two things that are round and make rings/circles that are about equally thick. I used a cookie-cutter for the smalest one an the lid of a large jar for the other one. Or just cut out circles from cardboard.

Kuchen Schachbrett Muster2.) Cut your four cakes into two rings and one circle each. Place a light big ring on your cake stand. Spread some chocolate ganache on the inner ring so it sticks and place a small dark ring insight. Spread some ganache on the inner ring again and place a small light circle in the middle. 

Kuchen Schachbrett Muster3.) Repeat the step above, but now every colour has to be switched: Big ring in dark, middle ring in light, small circle in dark again. The third layer will be the same as the first and the fourth as the second. It’s not difficult just concentrate a bit – the same colour can never be on next to, on top of or underneath its own colour. 🙂

Kuchen Schachbrett Muster

4.) Once you are done, divide your ganache into two portions. With the first one, cover the cake completely. This first coat will make sure you have a nice even surface for the real coat which will be very smooth. The first coat binds the crumbs which is why it is called „crumb-coat.“ Chill for about 30 Minutes (or freeze vor 15).

Tip: I hate it, but it’s part of baking – I use the time the cake chills for cleaning up 🙂

Kuchen Schachbrett Muster5.) Using the rest of your ganache, evenly cover the cake and using a large knife or spatula, even out the surface. Once you are happy with it, chill again for 10-20 Minutes. In the meantime, break the white chocolate into pieces and melt in a bain-marie (or water bath?).

Kuchen Schachbrett Muster6.) Pour the white chocolate on top of the cake. As the cake is chilled, the chocolate will harden quickly so you need to move fast. Spread the chocolate to cover all of the top and let it drip down the side. Add sprinkles while the chocolate still sticks.

Kuchen Schachbrett Muster
Voilá! I love the look of this cake even before you cut it open.
Kuchen Schachbrett Muster
Some people like to do the drops first and then add the top coat of wuite chocolate.
Kuchen Schachbrett Muster
As you can see, it looks particulary good if the quares insight have rougly the same size. Ideal of kids.

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More English posts?

Chocolate-Banana cookies
Harry Potter Cake
No-bake cheesecake dessert





Why the heck am I posting in Englisch? -Well…find out.

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