Thursday, May 14, 2009

CHOCOLATE AND VANILLA CHECKERBOARD CAKE

JUST FOR FUN


No witty tales of life growing up in that Florida town in the shadow of space ships, ocean waves gently lapping around our ankles. No heartrending stories of boys grown into adolescence, struggling with parental ineptitude and our “Dark Ages” way of thinking. No starry-eyed love lore, no mad search for once-familiar, now-foreign food ingredients, no personal ramblings.

This week was taken up by moving companies and window washers, cleaning frenzies and school news. And just as I was almost finished posting the recipe for my luscious apple pie, story and all, blogger crashed.

Tomorrow we leave on a long weekend, one night in a romantic inn, dinner at one of the best tables in France, followed by a weekend in Brittany with friends. So no time to rework, repost, rewhatever. I just want to get something delicious posted here to calm my girlfriends’ anticipation and chocolate lust. I am not the woman to bake a cake and then leave company, friends, waiting, fork in hand, coffee getting cold, while I wander off and do laundry or walk the dog.

So here is a gentle interlude, something just for fun. A Checkerboard Cake, vanilla and chocolate together, covered with our favorite, perfect chocolate buttercream frosting.


So sit back and enjoy something just for fun.

CHECKERBOARD CAKE
From Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible (because her recipes are too perfect to change)

3 oz (85 g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (I used Lindt 70%)
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups (320 ml) milk
1 Tbs vanilla
4 cups (400 g) cake flour
2 cups (400 g) sugar
2 Tbs (30 g) baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup (230 g) unsalted butter, softened


Have all ingredients at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Grease (butter) and flour your nifty new special Checkerboard cake pans (3) that you just bought in NYC.


Melt the chocolate either in a double boiler over simmering water or in the microwave. I always take the chocolate off the heat (or out of the microwave) before the chocolate is fully melted, then stir vigorously until completely melted and smooth. This will keep your chocolate from burning as well as start the cooling process. Allow to cool.


In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, ¼ of the milk and the vanilla.


In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the softened butter and the rest of the milk and mix on low speed until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the speed to medium (high speed for a hand-held mixer) and beat for 1 ½ minutes to aerate. Scrape down the sides as needed.


Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 additions, beating for 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides as needed.


Divide the batter in approximately half. I used a kitchen scale for this as I usually judge badly.


Stir the melted chocolate into the smaller batch of batter until well blended and uniform in color.


If you have 2 pastry bags and handle them better than I can, fit each with a large round tube and fill each one with one of the two batters.

Place the divider rings in the first pan and pipe the batter (or use spoons) into each section, alternating batter colors. The batter should fill the pan half full. Using a small, narrow metal spatula or the back of a small spoon, smooth the batter so there are no gaps or seams.


Carefully lift out the divider and rinse it off.


When piping batter for the next layer, alternate batter colors (if you started with yellow on the outer ring on the first, start with chocolate on the outside ring on the next). For the third layer, I had more chocolate batter left than yellow, so I ended up with two layers chocolate-yellow-chocolate and one yellow-chocolate-yellow.

Bake the layers 25 minutes until risen and a tester inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center. The cake will start to shrink away from the sides of the pan only after being removed from the oven.


As I have only one of those rinky-dink French ovens, I had to bake one layer at a time. While each layer was baking, I kept the remaining batter in the refrigerator.

Let the cakes cool in the pans on cooling racks for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a metal spatula and carefully flip them out of the pans, reinverting them right side up again to cool completely.

top


bottom

FAVORITE SIMPLE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM

Double recipe :

12 ounces (350 grams) powdered/confectioner’s sugar
7 tablespoons (100 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 tablespoons (50 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons very hot water

Using an electric hand mixer, cream the butter and the powdered sugar together. Add the cocoa powder and the hot water and beat, scraping down the sides as necessary, until well blended and fluffy.


Assemble the Checkerboard Cake :

Stack the 3 layers, alternating color combinations, using a thin coating of buttercream between each to adhere the layers without disturbing the checkerboard effect.


Frost the sides and then the top of the cake with the rest of the Chocolate Buttercream.

36 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A delicious looking cake! wonderful...

Have a great weekend and may the weather be pleasant!

Cheers,

Rosa

Maureen said...

Yay, checkerboard cake! I recognize that mold!

doggybloggy said...

new york? when did you buy that in NY...I love this cake but I think I like mystery of it the most....

Forty Watt said...

That is so clever! Not to mention delicious looking.

Mary said...

What a clever gadget. The cake looks wonderful. Enjoy your romantic night away from the chaos.

Culinary Wannabe said...

Cool! I've never even made a layer cake before, so this would be super ambitious for me, but it looks so incredibly pretty I might just have to give it a try. May has been birthday month for us, so this might be making an appearance soon! Have a wonderful trip!

mamadance said...

Jamie, you make it look so easy! Can you come over to my house and bake me a checkerboard cake?

girlichef said...

This is awesome..I've always wanted to make one. I don't have one of those cool divider, though. And yup, it is sooo fun! Have a great getaway :)

Jenn said...

I love chocolate!!! Especialy in cakes. Love the checkered look. I want a slice of that.

Justin said...

i love any dessert with checkerboard patterns because people are always so in awe. I used to make these checkboard cookies, just for the oohs and ahhs at the office. and pinwheels too.

Lien said...

Isn't that just too cute! this is an amazing effect, I love it!

Jamie said...

@ Chris (doggybloggy, right? Can I call you Chris?) I bought this cake pan at Cake & Bake supplies on 22nd St when I was in NYC in March visiting my brother. I posted photos on my blog of all the cool stuff I bought there - fun baking stuff that I can't get in France!

doggybloggy said...

christo - is preferred and the cake pan rocks...

Jamie said...

@Erin - wow! thanks for visiting! I love seeing my mudpuppy friends here (you all know who you are!!!) I would love to come to your house and bake for you! Party!

Sophie said...

Waw,....Jamie! Your cake looks incredible & delicious!! Superb!!!! Mjam mjam,.....!!!!!

Junglefrog said...

Thanks for visiting my blog Jamie and for those lovely comments...:) I was thinking; almost neighbour? Does she live across the street? Haha... I guess France is close compaired to the mostly US people...:) I love your blog. What I have seen sofar is funny and great recipes!! I will definitely be back!

joelle aka auntie jo said...

that is exactly the king of cake I want to do once in my life!!! but where do I find the special plastic thing that is needed?
have a nice week-end!

MsGourmet said...

Looks very lush - I was about to ask 'how' and then saw your nifty cake tin - very impressive!! Have a fabulous time away x0x

Jamie said...

@Joelle - New York City? Or you can come and borrow mine!

I have to admit that ever since I bought "The Cake Bible" and saw Rose's photo of her Checkerboard cake (this is almost 20 years ago!), I have been dreaming of making one myself. When I bought the pan in NYC this past March and brought it home I was so excited. My men thought it was the nuttiest thing I have ever done (so far)!

Sirenoftitan said...

Jamie - what a piece of architecture that cake is ! Looks wonderful and I bet it tastes divine.

Have a great long weekend. :)

Mindy said...

What a beautiful cake...my mouth is watering! Have a great vacation! :-)

Sara said...

Wow, that cake is so cool! I've never seen those pans before, but I must have them.

Donna-FFW said...

Jamie- This cake looks so gorgeous. And I bet it is just delicious!HAVE got to find myself that pan!

gastroanthropologist said...

I might just have to fly to NYC to get that checkerboard cake tool! I wish I had a girlfriend who would bake chocolate cake for me! Looks delicious. Have fun on your weekend trip!

shellyfish said...

You know, I saw those pans on-line a few weeks ago and was cursing my pathetic bank account. I thought it would have been fun to make a checkerboard birthday cake for my daughter's 4th. Beautiful job, and I'm cursing again!

asiangrrl said...

Want want want want! Adopt ME, Jamie! This cake is marvelous.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

And I'm just so in need of just for fun. I've always loved this cake.
Enjoy the get away!!

wvfurandroot said...

Oh Jamie! You inspire me!

BTW, You're about to win another award. ;)

teresa said...

Such a pretty cake, and I love your writing, it's so soothing to read!

Aeroentropy said...

Jamie, that just looks scruptious. I'd weigh a million pounds if I lived in your house. I may have to try this one soon, though...!

asiangrrl said...

I am posting again because SOMEONE took a vacation and did not free my post from moderation.

Jamie, this cake looks absolutely mouthwatering. If you ever want to adopt another kid who'll eat everything you put in front of her--I'm volunteering for the job.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Jamie - Thanks for posting a comment on my blog. I am enjoying reading your posts - not just the recipes but the old photos too. what's better than Sophia Loren and Toto'? very creative. I have one of those gizmos to make a checkerboard cake and have used it only once or twice. I am going to resurrect it after seeing your masterpiece.

Netts Nook said...

Wow that cake looks perfect lot of work put on the coffee.GREAT JOB

Michel-lee said...

I've always wanted to do a checker board cake. It's looks Yummy.

Rania said...

That looks soooo delish and artistic! I want a slice, pronto!

Ana Powell said...

Hi Jamie
Beautifully decorated, I always wanted to make one of these but need the gadget.
Loved it x

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