For years I have owned a checkerboard cake pan and finally decided to attempt to make this layer cake. First and foremost, I want to emphasize–this takes time. I planned two days to prepare the cake, chill the cake, and make and decorate the cake.
And by no means, am I any sort of expert. I call myself a cooking and baking enthusiast. But, over the years, I have developed confidence in trying many new recipes and experimenting with my own recipes and modifications.
This icing recipe is not an experiment. It came directly from the pages of Martha’s American Food cookbook. It was made exactly as she recommended. And, it is an amazing recipe. Although she does not say to chill the cake after icing, I highly recommend that step.
The icing is perfect consistency for spreading on a layer cake, but needs to firm up for serving. I also feel that by chilling the cake prior to icing, allows the cake to firm up as well. There is nothing worse than a layer cake that is sagging, tilting, or falling over.
If ever thinking of making a layer cake, consider this recipe, it is delicious. This recipe made 7 1/2 cups of icing. I had about 1/2 cup left over after frosting three layers. Certainly, the quantity could be changed based on your cake size.
1 1/2 pounds semi-sweet chocolate, 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder, 1/2 cup plus 1 cup boiling water, 4 1/2 sticks unsalted butter SOFTENED, 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, pinch of salt
Heat and melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Remove from the heat and allow to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Combine the cocoa with the boiling water in a bowl. Dissolve. Beat softened room temperature butter in a stand mixer, with the sugar and salt until fluffy. Add melted chocolate slowly and then add in the cocoa mixture.
Use immediately. The icing will be soft and free-flowing and covers the cake very well. To firm up the icing, chill in the refrigerator.
And about the cake itself, the pan is the key to the checkerboard cake. You can use any two types of cake mixes, or any of your favorite cake recipes. The pan does the work. I baked the cakes for 25 minutes, chilled, and leveled the tops prior to assembling the layer cake. These pans provide an easy release and there were no worries with the results. I used a Chicago Metallic checkerboard cake pan, but many others are also available online, including one from Wilton.
I always have a nice feeling when I bake a cake for the one I love.