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

It’s made with two layers (a half batch) of my go-to chocolate layer cake recipe, and 2 batches of my american buttercream recipe.

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, 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 bulls eye. 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 scrapper.

Chill the cake in the freezer for about 5 minutes after you’ve added the second cake/frosting layer, to help it keep it’s 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, and heating it up by running it under warm water (and drying with a towel). This will help you get nice, clean slices, even if the cake is slightly chilled still.

I won’t lie,  I was so nervous to cut into this cake!! I really did think the concept would work, but 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.

Small Batch Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe

This is a half batch of my go-to chocolate layer cake recipe! It's perfect for make two 7 or 8-inch cake layers, or three 6-inch cake layers.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chelsweets chococlate cake recipe, chocolate layer cake recipe, small batch chocolate cake recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 1 6-inch cake

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.25 cups granulated sugar
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.75 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs room temp
  • 0.5 cups unsalted butter room temp (1 stick)
  • 0.5 cups hot water
  • 0.5 cups buttermilk room temp
  • 0.5 cups baking cocoa (I like to use black cocoa)

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line four 7 inch or 8 inch pans with parchment rounds, and spray with non-stick spray.

  2. Add the sugar and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk on high for 1 minute. The mixture should become light in color.

  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Then add baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix on high for another minute.

  4. In a separate bowl, combine the cup of hot water, and cup of buttermilk. Pour in the cup of black cocoa, and whisk until no clumps remain.

  5. Next, add 1/2 cup of flour into the butter /egg mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula, to ensure the flour is fully incorporated.

  6. Pour in half of the buttermilk / cocoa mixture, and gently pulse the mixture to incorporate the liquid (if you don't, you'll end up splattering the cocoa mixture all over you kitchen!

  7. Mix in another 1/2 cup of flour, at a medium speed. Pour in the remaining buttermilk / cocoa mixture, and again gently pulse, then mix on low until fully combined.

  8. Add in the last 1/2 cup of flour, and mix on low until the flour is incorporated. Mix on high for 30 additional seconds, to incorporate a bit more air into the batter.

  9. Evenly divide between the four prepared pans. I like to use a kitchen scale to ensure each pan has exactly the same amount of batter.

  10. Bake according to the size of pan. For 7 inch layers, bake for 35-37 minutes. For 8 inch layers, bake for 32-33 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

  11. Allow layers to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around the edge of the pans to help separate the layers from the pans.

  12. Place the pans in the freezer for about 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process. Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers.

  13. Use a serrate knife to level the tops of the layers, and then frost as desired.

Recipe Notes

I chose to use black cocoa (I love the taste and color it creates), but if you don't have any on hand, you can use regular baking cocoa.

Double Batch Vanilla Buttercream Recipe

This is a double batch of my favorite vanilla buttercream! It's great for larger cakes, small 2-tiered cakes, or cakes with a lot of frosting decorations (buttercream rosettes, buttercream ruffles, etc.)

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chelsweets, chelsweets frosting recipe, double batch frosting recipe, large batch frosting recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 tiered cake (8 inch and 6 inch tiers)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (868 grams)
  • 16 cups powdered sugar (1,814 grams)
  • 1 tsp salt (6 grams)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (or whipping cream) (60 grams)
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla extract (24 grams)

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.

  2. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. 

  3. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Recipe Notes

If you are making frosting for a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on low at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process. This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Cake

IMG_7097 (2)

National grilled cheese day is April 12th, and it only seemed fitting that I make a grilled cheese sandwich CAKE! I had to test out a few different techniques in the process, but believe I’ve found the easiest way to do it! I made mine with two, 8 inch square cake layers, and filled them with a yellowish-orange buttercream! I added some triangles of modeling chocolate to look like melting cheese around the edge of the cake, and I caramelized some sugar on the top of the cake to make it look toasted. The recipes I used can be found below.

Vanilla Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 3 large egg whites)
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • yellow and orange gel food coloring

Modeling Chocolate:

  • 16 oz. white chocolate
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • yellow and orange gel food coloring

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and two 8″ square pans.

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.Mix chunks of butter slowly into the dry mix on a low speed. Continue to mix until no chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients (vanilla extract, egg whites, buttermilk, and vegetable oil), and whisk to combine. On low speed, add 1/3 of the liquid ingredients to the dry/butter mixture. Mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.Mix in the remaining wet ingredients in two installments, on a medium-high speed until fully incorporated.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. The edges need to be fairly brown, so that they look similar to the crust of bread! Allow the layers to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

As the cake layers bake and cool, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). Mix in a few drops of yellow gel food coloring, and one or two drops of orange gel food coloring. I wanted my frosting to be the same color as slices of cheddar cheese, but if you want your frosting to be more yellow, you can omit the orange.

To make the modeling chocolate, place white chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Heat at 50% power for thirty second intervals, slowly stirring between each interval. Repeat until fully melted. Let chocolate cool to about 90 degrees, or until it isn’t warm to the touch when you test with your finger. Gently stir in the corn syrup with a spatula. The mixture will seize up quickly. Once the mixture has firmed up, let it sit for about 10 minutes to allow it cool. Then begin to knead the mixture with flexible bowl scraper, until smooth and glossy. Wrap the chocolate in plastic wrap, and place in a Ziploc bag. Allow to rest overnight at room temperature. The following day, cut out triangles to be the overhanging cheese for the edges of the cake.

To assembly the cake, trim the tops of the cake layers, and place one layer on cake board. Add buttercream, and spread evenly.

MVI_7056_Moment(3)

Add modeling chocolate triangles around the perimeter of the cake. Spread a thin layer of sugar on top of the second cake layer, and broil until browned and caramelized.

MVI_7068_Moment (2)

Let layer cool for about 15 minutes in the fridge, then place on top of cake. Cut diagonally for the full, grilled cheese effect 🙂

IMG_7097 (2)

April Showers Themed Cake

IMG_7136 (2)

My friend Taryn (also know as @missladyfinger) and I joined forces again to create an April showers cake and nail art look. We were inspired by all the rain we’ve been getting in New York lately, and wanted that to be the inspiration of this collab! Taryn painted an amazing rainy design on our nails, and I made a cake with blue swirled layers, blue ganache rain drops, and buttercream flowers. The full recipe can be found below, and the full tutorial can be seen here.

Vanilla Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 large egg whites)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • blue gel food coloring

Blue Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 6 sticks (3 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • blue, green, yellow, orange, red, and purple gel food coloring

 

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 8” round pans.

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for about 30 seconds.

Divide evenly between three bowls. Leave one white, and color one light blue (2 drops blue gel food coloring), and one a royal blue (6-8 drops blue gel food coloring). Add batter to pans 1/2 a cup at a time, alternating colors. Once all batter has been used, draga  knife through the batter to create a swirled batter. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling.

As the cake layers bake, prepare the white chocolate ganache and frosting! The full recipe and instructions can be found here. Be sure to color it with a couple drops of blue gel food coloring.

To make the frosting, beat the butter on high for 30 seconds, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). Add 1/3 cup of frosting into eight different bowls. Color each bowl the following shades: blue, violet, yellow, orange, red, and three ombre shades of green. Place frosting into pipe bags, cut with a 1 cm opening. Set aside another cup of uncolored frosting, and add to a piping bag with a 1.5 cm opening. Color the remaining frosting light blue with gel food coloring.

NOTE: When making frosting for a cake, it is important to mix the buttercream on low at the end of the process for a couple minutes, to get out any extra air that might have be incorporated during the mixing process. This will make it easier to get super smooth sides on your cake!

To assemble the cake, stack cake layers and apply an even layer of light blue buttercream between each layer. Once stacked, apply a thin crumb coat to the cake, and chill the cake in the freezer for 5 minutes to allow the crumb coat to firm up. Then apply a thicker, second layer of buttercream, and smooth with a cake bench. Using the shades of green frosting, make vertical lines between 1-3 inches all around the cake, angling some slightly to both sides. This will be the grass, so you want it to look as random and organic as possible. Next, using the remaining colored buttercream, pipe small circles along the top of the grass line to create the flowers. Add some yellow into the center of some of the flowers to give them more depth.

Place in the freezer again for 15 minutes. This step is CRUCIAL, as the cake must be chilled before adding the blue ganache drips.

MVI_7120_Moment (2)

Once thoroughly chilled, slowly add the blue ganache drips onto the cake. You can see a full tutorial on how to add drips to a cake here. Place in the freezer for another 10 minutes to help the drips set.

IMG_7131 (2)

The last step is to pipe on a cloud boarder using the remaining white frosting bag, using a swirling motion. Then it’s time to slice the cake and reveal those beautifully swirled layers 🙂

IMG_7151 (2)

Pink Bubble Gum Inspired Cake

IMG_6875 (2)

This week I made a pink, bubble gum inspired cake!!  Don’t worry, it isn’t bubble gum flavored, just decorated in a bubble gum-inspired fashion.  This cake was for Cosmopolitan, and the full video of it can be seen here. It was inspired by the amazing bubble gum cupcakes made by The Scran Line.

I used my go to vanilla cake batter and american buttercream recipe, and topped it with pink gelatin bubbles. The full recipe and tutorial on how to make gelatin bubbles can be found here.

Vanilla Cake Ingredients:

  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7 large egg whites)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • pink gel food coloring

American Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 6 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • pink gel food coloring

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 8” round pans.

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for about 30 seconds. Evenly divide that batter between two bowls, and color one bowl light pink, and one bowl hot pink with gel good coloring.

Pour batter into each  of the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling. To speed up this process you can also pop your cake layers into the freezer until fully cooled.

While the cakes cool, prepare the frosting! Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). Color a half a cup of frosting light pink, and another half cup hot pink with gel food coloring. Set aside.

To assemble the cake, stack cake layers and smooth an even layer of buttercream on top of each layer. Alternate the bright pink and light pink layers. Apply a thin layer of frosting (crumb coat), and place in freezer to chill for 5 minutes.

MVI_6832_Moment (2)

Once fully chilled and firm to the touch, apply a second layer of buttercream, then smear bits of the pink frosting randomly around the cake. Smooth with a bench scraper, making long slow motions. Remove excess frosting from scraper as you smooth.

MVI_6837_Moment (2)

Spread pink and white sprinkles around the base of the cake. I used sprinkles from the Neon Yolk Shop. I then added the gelatin bubbles in a semi-circle on the top of the cake, and added some additional sprinkles and edible glitters around the bubbles 🙂

IMG_6848 (2)

Pastel Mermaid Tail Cake

Mermaids are definitely a big cake trend right now, and the Food Network asked me to make one! I tested the design out over the weekend, and also livestreamed this cake (you can watch it here)! While there are a lot of different ways to make a mermaid cake, I think a mermaid tail is the most playful! Conveniently, it’s also the easiest!! You can see the full tutorial on how to make this cake below:

 

My version of this cake was eight layers tall, but you could definitely scale this down to fewer layers. The recipes used can be found below:

Decorations:

  • light turquoise fondant
  • light blue fondant
  • light purple fondant
  • wooden skewers
  • tylose powder

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line 2 8″ pans, 2 7′ pans, 2 6″ pans, and 2 4″ pans.

Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium high for about 30 seconds. Evenly divide that batter between three bowls, and color one light blue, one a light purple, and one light green.

Add drops of the different colored batter into each pan, until all the pans are filled an even height. Swirl the colors together using a knife or offset spatula. I filled my cake pans about 1 inch full of batter. You can learn how to make swirled cake layers below:

If you don’t have cake pans in those sizes, you can always make extra batter, and trim more cake away to get to the desired shape. For example, you could bake four 7 inch cake layers for the top of the cake, and trim away the top more.

Bake cake layers for 25-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. My 4 inch cake pans baked in about 25 minutes, and my 6 inch and 7 inch cake layers baked in about 36 minutes, and my 8 inch cake layer baked for about 35 minutes. it all comes down to how much batter you place into each pan. Try to make each layer the same height, to ensure uniform layers for stacking. Allow cake layers to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling, and then chill in the freezer until firm to the touch (at least one hour). This will make it easier to carve them.

While the cakes cool, prepare the frosting! Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time). You can see a full tutorial on how to make this frosting here.

Assemble the cake layers largest to smallest, to build a cylindrical pyramid. Apply a thin layer of frosting between each layer with an offset spatula. Once all the cake layers are stacked, insert a tall wooden dowel into the cake layers. Place cake in freezer for about 5 minutes, to allow the cake to firm. Using a serrated knife, trim cake layers into the shape of a tail.

IMG_0469 (2)

Apply a crumb coat of white frosting, and then chill the cake in the freezer for another five minutes. Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, color the remaining frosting a light shade of turquoise. Apply a second layer of frosting, and smooth with a flexible smoother (bowl scraper or acetate sheet).

MVI_0416_Moment (2)

Twist together the colored fondants, and mix in tylose powder. This will help the thick tail to dry more quickly. Make the tail the night before, to allow it to fully harden before adding to the cake. Once the fondants have been twisted together, roll out to about 1/3″ thickness, to create a marbled effect. Use a pastry cutter to trim into the shape of a tail, then insert wooden skewers into the tail. Use remaining fondant to make the scales. Use a 1.5 inch circle cookie cutter, and cut out several circles from all three colors of fondant. Once the tail is firm, insert it on top of the cake.

Cover the cake in the circle scales, alternating all three colors, and working from top to bottom. Spread some blue fondant around the base, to look like waves.

IMG_0487 (2)

This cake requires a bit of work, but it’s totally worth it! It’s perfect for any mermaid fanatic, a kid’s birthday party, or if you just love pastels 🙂

IMG_0496 (2)

 

Zeek the Zebra Cake

img_6319-3

By popular demand, the next addition to my animal cake series is a Zebra! I used vanilla and black chocolate cake bases to make striped cake layers, vanilla buttercream, and some fondant to create the stripes and facial features!! The full video tutorial can be seen here. The recipe and instructions can be found below:

Vanilla Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 3 large egg whites)
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil

Chocolate Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp instant espresso
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 3 large egg whites)
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 10 drops black gel food coloring

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Fondant Accents:

  • pink fondant
  • black fondant
  • white fondant
  • toothpicks
  • parchment paper

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and three 7″ round pans.

Begin by making the vanilla cake batter. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.Mix chunks of butter slowly into the dry mix on a low speed. Continue to mix until no chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients (vanilla extract, egg whites, buttermilk, and vegetable oil), and whisk to combine. On low speed, add 1/3 of the liquid ingredients to the dry/butter mixture. Mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.Mix in the remaining wet ingredients in two installments, on a medium-high speed until fully incorporated. Set aside.

Next prepare the chocolate cake batter. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, cocoa, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.Mix chunks of butter slowly into the dry mix on a low speed. Continue to mix until no chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly. In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients (vanilla extract, egg whites, buttermilk, and vegetable oil), and add in instant espresso. Whisk to combine. On low speed, add 1/3 of the liquid ingredients to the dry/butter mixture. Mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.Mix in the remaining wet ingredients in two installments, on a medium-high speed until fully incorporated. Add in gel food coloring, and mix until batter is evenly colored.

Add alternative scoops of batter into the center of each pan, until you have several alternating rings of chocolate and vanilla cake batter, and you have used all the batter.

004.jpg (2448×3264)

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling. To accelerate this process, I frequently place my cake layers in the freezer.

mvi_6302_moment-2

While the layers bake,  make the fondant cake decorations. Roll out pink fondant and black fondant to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out an oval shape for the snout using black fondant, and add two small pink circle for the nostrils. Use pink fondant to also make the mouth. With black fondant, cut out two small circles for the eyes, and a circle for the mane. I trimmed out triangles from the circle to make it resemble a tuft of hair. For the ears, cut out 2 white fondant squares, that are 1.5 in. x 1.5 inches. Pull two of the corners diagonally into the center of the square, and seal the together with a bit of water (I used a lightly wet small paint brush). I also added small pink circle of fondant to be the inner ear. Cut off excess fondant on the bottom, and insert two toothpicks into each ear. For the stripes, use remaining black fondant to cut out thin stripes, 1 cm wide. Place prepared fondant onto parchment paper to allow it to firm.

Next, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter on high for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with cream, adding 1 tablespoon at a time. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on medium low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

mvi_6304_moment-2

To assemble the cake, stack and frost cake layers, then apply a crumb coat. The crumb coat is crucial on this cake, as we have a dark cake base (producing black crumbs) and white frosting!! Freeze cake for 5 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set, then use remaining frosting to add a second layer of frosting. Smooth with a bench scrapper. Secure fondant stripes to the cake using buttercream, and gently press fondant facial features onto the top of the cake. The last step is to insert the ears into the edge of the cake using the attached toothpicks. Then it’s time to cut in and see the fun pattern inside each cake layer!!

img_6319-3