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Frosting Checkerboard Cake

I’ve made checkerboard cakes in the past, by cutting out rings of colorful cake layers and reassembling them to create a pattern.

And it was fun, I loved trying the technique with different colors, and even different cake recipes.

However, this time around I wanted to try something new.

Since I am a huge fan of frosting, I had a crazy idea pop into my mind…what if I made a checkerboard pattern by alternating cake layers and frosting??

I kid you not, just as I was falling asleep one night, and the idea popped into my mind (luckily, it was a Friday night). The next morning, I set to work!!

Does this mean that half of this cake is frosting?? Yes, yes it does 🙂

sliced checkerboard cake at angle-2


I began by using circle cutters to cut each cake layer into 4 pieces. I make my cake layers in advance, and freeze them overnight.

I let them thaw for about 20 minutes, and then use the circle cutters while the layers are still slightly chilled and firm.

If you aren’t freezing your layers, be sure they are completed cooled before you cut into them.

Be sure to wipe off the circle cutter after each layer, to ensure a clean cut on the next layer.

checkerboard blog post 1-2

Once my layers were cut, I placed my frosting into large piping bags and cut to have a 1-inch opening.

I place the largest and 2nd smallest cake pieces onto my great proof cake board, and filled in the openings full with buttercream.

It should resemble a bullseye. 

checkerboard cake filling center with frosting-2

Use the remaining bits of cake layer, and place on top of the areas filled with frosting. By alternating cake layers and frosting, you are creating the checkerboard pattern.

Repeat with the second cake layer, until all the cake rings have been used.

I found the second layer was a bit harder to create, since the outer ring is pure frosting! Smooth the sides of the cake using a bench scraper.

Chill the cake in the freezer for about 5 minutes after you’ve added the second cake/frosting layer, to help it keep its shape.

It’s really important that your buttercream is relatively stiff so that it isn’t seeping over the sides as you pipe it.

Use a bench scraper to smooth the sides of the cake, and create an edge at the top of the cake. Place the cake back into freezer for a few minutes, to allow the frosting to firm up.

frosted checkerboard cake-2

Once the frosting is firm to the touch, cover the cake with a second layer of frosting.

Add a bit of cocoa powder and a splash of heavy cream to my remaining frosting, to create some contrast between the outside of the cake, and all the frosting hidden on the inside.

Once the cake is covered, use a large offset spatula to create horizontal lines around the cake.

Begin at the base, and slowly moved the spatula up the cake while spinning your cake stand. Follow the lined pattern that is being created, until you reached the top of the cake.

piping boarder around top of checkerboard cake-2

Pipe some additional dollops of frosting in a ring around the top of the cake, and garnish with mini and regular chocolate chips.

moody photo of uncut checkerboard cake-2

Then cut into this frosting filled cake and reveal the amazing checkerboard pattern!

I recommend using a very large, sharp knife. Heat up the knife by running it under warm water, and drying with a towel. This will help you get nice, clean slices, especially if the cake is slightly chilled.

I won’t lie,  I was so nervous to cut into this cake!! While I really did think the concept would work, I’ve never made a cake quite like this before!

I literally squealed with excitement as I pulled out the first slice.

sneak peak at inside of cut checkerboard cake-2

It turned out exactly how I hoped it would!!

Big blocks of vanilla buttercream, perfectly separated by chocolate cake squares.

sliced checkerboard cake 5-2

Like always, I cut a massive first slice, to make it easier to cut the remaining slices, and so that I get a great view of the inside of the cake.

I was beaming with excited when I started photographing the sliced cake.

me way too excited about checkerboard cke-2

My chocolate layer cake recipe and double batch buttercream recipe can be found below.


Sunday 8th of September 2019

I love this idea! What sizes of circle cutters did you use?


Tuesday 10th of September 2019

Thanks Rachel!

I used 6 inch, 4 inch, and 2 inch! I had to order them separately on amazon though, the circle cutter packs usually range from 1-4 inches, so I had to order the 6 inch circle cutter on it's own. Hope that helps!