Vanilla Checkerboard Cake, Vanilla Buttercream Filling, and tinted Vanilla Buttercream Flowers
This is a fun, fun cake to bake and build. Of course, attention to detail takes on a peculiar meaning with this beauty – but the results can be worth it.
This is my third checkerboard cake and the focus is always on even layers and spacing.
Recently, I’ve been baking one Vanilla Cake after the next. It just seems to go like that – sometimes I find I’ve been in a Chocolate Cake binge or a couple weeks of Carrot Cake.
The step by step for this cake looks like this…
I separated six eggs. My favorite Vanilla Cake calls for four eggs, but since I wanted the sponge closer to white I needed six egg whites.
While the egg whites mix with the sugar, combine the dry ingredients.
This recipe calls for cake flour and I was completely out! I used all-purpose flour knowing full well the sponge would be dense with a few open holes but still delicious. Cake flour has less protein which gives cake an amazing lightness and an incredibly delicate crumb.
I finished up the last bit of mixing by hand in order to prevent the batter from getting overworked.
Knowing how much my KitchenAid mixing bowl weighs (792 gr), I was able to evenly divide the batter in half.
I was excited for a green, green cake to celebrate early Summer. Gel colors are wonderful to work with and seem to be easier to manipulate.
Using same sized bowls when dividing batter is a real boost in gauging how much batter is in each, even when using a scale. These Fiesta Large Bistro Bowls are quickly becoming a favorite go-to when baking.
When baking in pans larger than 8″, I like to place parchment paper or wax paper in the bottom of the round. This is an old-school technique to prevent the bottom of the cake breaking apart when releasing from the pan.
When it comes to trimming, carving, or slicing cake – consider a serrated knife. I have an amazing knife that is ideal when dividing a cake round, or in this case, leveling the top of the cake.
While it is the case this is an 8″ cake round, it actually measures 7 5/8″. At this point, it was time for maths.
I found some round items around the kitchen to use…including the Calumet Baking Powder lid.
Those protein holes are a bit aggravating; it was totally my decision and I knew what to expect.
The white spots in the green round is the result of white lumps in the batter than wasn’t introduced to the gel coloring. It’s such a fine line between fully mixing the color and not overworking the batter. Hot tip: If tinting the entire cake batter one color, add the gel coloring before integrating the milk and flour.
Swap the rings.
The tops that were trimmed away was still great cake. With a ring mold, I cut out a few circles and made a couple whoopie pies (cake with buttercream). These are an ideal ‘taste test’ for a new recipe. Also, these little pies help keep the little ones (and maybe not so little ones) occupied while the cake is finished.
I put them in the cake fridge to set up a few minutes then photographed them like oversized macarons. It’s a baking hack that makes me giggle.
Time for the crumb coat. With this checkerboard design, I don’t want very much buttercream between the layers – it could visually skew the evenness/unevenness of the slice. Typically, I’ll add three ice cream scoops of buttercream for an 8″ cake – in this case I used two.
While it was in the cake fridge, I frosted the two cupcakes baked with the batter leftover in the mixing bowl.
I do love the green and white.
After a final layer of buttercream, I started with a few flower stems.
Then I tried different tips before deciding which would be best for the flowers.
It needs a border….
I had more than a dozen different placements for the cupcake shoot, but the cake pictures were different.
Taking a look at my Fiesta Dinnerware, I couldn’t decide how to stage the cake. I love the colors of the flowers and had to keep in mind the checkerboard design inside. I don’t have a Shamrock (green green) vase, pitcher, or tall mug to use as a vase and the Lemongrass Vase I do have just wasn’t going to be the one.
But, I do have plates the color of the flowers and I do love the simple design of a graduated stack of plates. This stack of luncheon plates, dessert plates, and saucers includes current colors and some retired colors; I’m crazy about them all!
I genuinely enjoy a more complicated construction; it captures my imagination and keeps me on my toes. To look at this cake, I don’t think anyone would suspect what’s waiting inside!
My life partner continues to amaze me with his love and support.
Sobriety makes everything possible…even the relationships with our people, whom are a kick in the pants.