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Checkerboard Birthday Cake Recipe

Checkerboard Birthday Cake Recipe

Although this cake from our Test Kitchen does take some time to prepare, no special pan is needed. The different batters are simply added in rings in three 9-inch round pans.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 20 min. YIELD:12-14 servings


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups cake flour, divided
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Red liquid food coloring
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • Yellow liquid food coloring
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 6-1/2 to 7-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
  • 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • 1. Grease three 9-in. round baking pans; set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine 2-1/2 cups of cake flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk.
  • 2. Divide batter into thirds. To one portion, fold in melted chocolate and vanilla. To second portion, fold in 1/4 cup flour, almond extract and 3-4 drops red food coloring. To third portion, fold in lemon extract, 3-4 drops yellow food coloring and remaining flour.
  • 3. Spoon a ring of chocolate batter around edge of one prepared pan; spoon a ring of pink batter inside chocolate ring and fill center with yellow batter. Spoon a ring of yellow batter around edge of second pan; add a chocolate middle ring and a pink center. Spoon a ring of pink batter around edge of third pan; add a yellow middle ring and chocolate center.
  • 4. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • 5. For frosting, in a large bowl, cream butter and 2 cups confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in melted chocolate until smooth. Add milk and vanilla. Beat in enough of the remaining confectioners' sugar until frosting achieves spreading consistency. Spread between layers and over top and sides of cake. Yield: 12-14 servings.

Reviews for Checkerboard Birthday Cake

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Cool user User ID: 5279166 63418
Reviewed Jan. 23, 2014

"Nice B'day cake"

[email protected] User ID: 902414 48107
Reviewed Jan. 10, 2013

"the idea for the checkerboard is great, the recipie itself, however, turned out kind of dry. I made this for my son's first birthday party and while I got much praise for the effect of the checkerboard some of the cake ended up getting thrown out and my son hardly ate any."

CookieBakerElf User ID: 6326020 87494
Reviewed Nov. 5, 2011

"I aked this cake several for my god daughter's birthday party. Rave reviews!

Fun to look at and even better to eat.
Friends will think that you are a cake genius. The trick is to find a great recipe such as this and use your checkerboard cake form-have no fear:)"

Mssoxy User ID: 6236450 126842
Reviewed Sep. 29, 2011

"Superb... tricky yet extremely worth the effort ; )"

marie elena User ID: 5759429 54934
Reviewed Jun. 29, 2011


mama_S User ID: 3513093 48106
Reviewed Oct. 23, 2008

"I always wondered how this was done. Now I will try it then let you know how it turns out.


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