Cake Decorating Basic

What is a Checkerboard Cake?

Not sure what a checkerboard cake is? Well, if you guessed that a checkerboard or chessboard cake is a decorative cake featuring a checkerboard pattern, then you guessed correctly! Combining the most popular chocolate and vanilla cake flavors into one cake, chess and checkerboard cakes are not only impressive, fancy, and delicious, but checkerboard cakes are a perennial favorite at birthdays (children and adults), anniversaries, surprise parties, graduation celebrations, and many other occasions.


Level of Baking Difficulty

Many cake recipes are ranked according to how easy or difficult they are to prepare. When it comes to baking difficulty levels, checkerboard cakes are rated among the more difficult cakes to bake. Recipe instructions for this ‘game board’ cake entail creating an intricate pattern of chocolate and yellow squares both inside the cake and on top (i.e., the icing). This cake is best attempted by experienced bakers rather than novices. If you’re up to the challenge, however, you won’t be disappointed – and neither will your guests! Chessboard cakes are also ranked amongst the most creative, fun, and admired deserts in the industry.


Checkerboard Cake Pans

Thanks to modern-day innovations in cake pan shapes and sizes, you can now purchase special checkerboard cake-pan kits (found at most kitchen supply stores or baking specialty stores) to help ease your way to baking perfection. Checkerboard cake kits are comprised of a special set of three baking pans with a divider ring, which help create the desired pattern. Batter is poured into successive pans, with the ring insert helping to separate between the two differently colored/flavored batters (chocolate cake batter and vanilla/yellow cake batter) in order to achieve a chessboard effect. You can make the cake batter from scratch or use a prepared cake mix to save time.


Making a Checkerboard Pan without a Kit

There are several recipes on how to create a checkerboard pattern without the use of special pans or a kit. Some recipes call for preparing two cakes of different colors (chocolate and yellow), cutting them into strips, lining the rectangular slices side by side and one on top of the other to create a chessboard design, and then icing the cake in kind. Other recipes call for squares of dark chocolate alternating with squares of white chocolate on top of the cake to achieve the desired pattern.

When it comes to interesting, whimsical and clever cake designs, chess and checkerboard cakes are clearly one the “kings” in a royal line of cake decorating ideas and novelties.