Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour or use pan spray with flour to prepare pan. In small bowl, dissolve instant coffee in water; stir in cocoa powder and mix well. Set aside to cool. Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla; mix well. Combine cocoa mixture and sour cream. Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating after each addition until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon 4 1/2 cups batter into top of cupcake pan; spoon remaining batter into bottom of pan.
Bake 60-70 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on wire rack 15 minutes. Turn cake onto wire rack to cool completely. To assemble cupcake ice top of cake's bottom half. Place top half of cake atop iced bottom half. Decorate as desired.
Checkerboard Cake is fit for a king! Alternating rows of yellow and chocolate-flavored cake batter are baked and stacked to produce the alternating squares. A dusting of cocoa creates the design on the top.
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