There were tears, there were tantrums and there were may swear words uttered but I eventually got my Chequerboard Cake as good as I could for the Edinburgh Cake Ladies event on Thursday 13th October. Only kidding. I’m not really a tantrum-throwing kind of baker. I can’t promise you won’t hear the occasional swear word if you step into my kitchen though!
The theme for the event was “Feel the Fear and Bake It Anyway” so I bit the bullet and decided to attempt a cake that I’d been eyeing up in the Green & Black’s Unwrapped Cookbook for a while: the Chequerboard Cake. I’ll refrain from showing you a picture of what the cake was supposed to look like so that you’re able to judge mine on its own merit.
The Chequerboard Cake recipe is not complicated. It basically a vanilla sponge and a chocolate sponge recipe. The difficult part comes when you have to pipe it into the three cake tins in alternating concentric rings while not allowing one cake mixture to run into the other.
As I mentioned in my post about What I’ve learned this week, my first attempt was somewhat marbled rather than chequerboard. This was due to a number of factors including a lack of measuring implements and a superheated kitchen both of which culminated in sloppy cake mixtures.
In my second attempt, I remedied many of the errors that had gone wrong in my first attempt. Firstly, I lined and greased my baking tins, and NOT on top of a preheated oven this time.
Secondly, I made the executive decision to add an extra 10g flour to each of the cake mixtures (I’m such a rebel, I know!) to stop the batters running into each other. Both of these factors combined with a new battery in my kitchen scales seemed to produce a much more uniform stripe.
Unfortunately, what I didn’t realise when I took the cakes out of the oven was that they were ever so slightly undercooked. I had been poking them repeatedly with my cake tester but hadn’t been testing the very centre of the cakes so as they cooled a huge crater appeared in the centre of each cake. Unphased, I stacked and decorated the cakes and have been force-feeding them to my husband and any willing visitors who pass through our door. A bit of undercooked cake never hurt anyone. (Don’t tell my mother I said that!)
Attempt no. 3 was my final, and as it turned out my best, attempt. This time, I followed all of my previous advice and I even went against the advice I have previously received about cake batter and I refrigerated the mischevious vanilla batter (it has always been the trouble-maker in this recipe!) while I was making the chocolate mixture.
And hurrah! It worked! I’ll hold my hands up to the slightly dodgy piping skills but the cake mixtures did their job and stayed where they were supposed to be. Thank goodness they did.
And here is the finished beauty:
I even had enough cake batter left to make some marbled (not chequerboard!) cupcakes.
I fancied a challenge and although it took me a couple of tries, I got pretty close to the picture in the cookbook. Anyway, who cares what it looks like, it had chocolate in it, icing and glitter on top of it and it tasted good!