Summer time and the living’s easy…
You know what else is easy? The Checkerboard Cake Pan Set. I’ll admit it – I was intimidated the first time I baked with it. My first Checkerboard Cake, a tri-colored doozie, looked okay, but I fumbled around a lot getting the batter into the pans and dripping the colors into each other. Over time, I’ve learned some helpful tricks that make the Checkerboard Cake as fun as its namesake game. If you’ve never tried this pan set before, or if you’ve struggled with it in the past, give these tips a shot.
- Prepare and color all of your cake batter before starting to fill the pans.
- Thicker cake batters work best because they stay in place. You can thicken lots of regular cake batters by decreasing the amount of water and adding one extra egg and a 4-serving box of pudding.
- Fill pans close to the sink because the ring insert needs to get thoroughly washed and dried after each pan is filled.
- Use a pastry bag to cleanly and evenly pipe batter into rings. Not comfortable with pastry bags? Use a liquid measuring cup or a bowl with a pour spout to direct the batter.
- Grab the ring from both sides and lift it evenly out of the batter. Don’t worry if a little batter gets out of place – it won’t be noticeable in the final cut cake.
- Uneven circles in your baked cakes? Again, don’t worry! Once the three layers are filled and stacked, it won’t be noticeable, but the checkerboard pattern will be!
Here’s a quick but impressive Fourth of July dessert. As a side note, when I started working on this cake I wanted it to be tri-colored, and used Royal Blue Icing Color to dye some of the cake batter. Although it was a perfect hue, a lot of Wiltonites laughed at it when they saw it. Sometimes blue is just not a very appetizing color! Instead of icing color, get “blue” from one of summer’s jewels – blueberries!
Red, White, and Blueberry Cake
- 1 package (18.25 oz.) white cake mix, and the ingredients to make it
- 1 package (18.25 oz.) red velvet cake mix
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup water
- 1 package (3.9 oz.) chocolate pudding mix
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 package (10 oz.) Wilton Vanilla Whipped Icing Mix
- 1 pint fresh blueberries
Makes: Cake serves 20.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place batter dividing ring into first pan; spray pan and ring with vegetable pan spray.
Prepare white cake mix following package instructions using water, oil and egg whites; set aside. Prepare red velvet cake mix by combining with 4 eggs, 1 cup water, chocolate pudding mix and vegetable oil; mix according to package instructions.
Fill each section two-thirds full as follows: red velvet batter in center and outside sections; fill white cake batter in middle section. Gently tap pan on counter; remove ring and wash well. Repeat in second pan.
Fill third pan, with white cake batter in center and outside sections and red velvet batter in middle section.
Bake 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.
(Note: Use leftover batter for cupcakes, which can be frozen for later if your Independence Day guest list is small.)
To decorate: Make Vanilla Whipped Icing according to directions on the package. Assemble cake layers on Show ‘N Serve™ cake board, spreading thin layer of icing sprinkled with fresh blueberries between cake layers. Spatula ice cake top and sides with remaining icing. Garnish with more blueberries.