Make a Checkerboard Cake – No Fancy Pan Needed!

Checkerboard CakeCookware shops sell special pans for making this cake; however, you can turn out a handsome specimen without them. You will need two pastry bags and three 8-inch round pans.

Ingredients:
- 2 1/4 cup(s) cake flour, (not self-rising)
- 2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
- 3/4 cup(s) milk, (see direction step 2)
- 1 tablespoon(s) milk, (see direction step 4)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup(s) sugar
- 3/4 cup(s) (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
- 3 large eggs
- 2 ounce(s) (2 squares) semisweet chocolate, melted
- 1 ounce(s) (1 square) unsweetened chocolate, melted
- Chocolate frosting (see tips below)

Related: 20 Irresistible Chocolate Dessert Recipes

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with waxed paper; grease paper. Dust pans with flour.

2. In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. In 1-cup measuring cup, mix 3/4 milk and vanilla.

3. In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat sugar and butter until blended. Increase speed to high; beat 5 minutes, until light and creamy. Reduce speed to medium-low; add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until smooth, scraping bowl occasionally with rubber spatula.

4. Spoon half of batter into medium bowl. Into batter remaining in large bowl, with rubber spatula, stir in melted chocolates and remaining 1 tablespoon milk.

Related: Luscious, Low-Fat Summer Desserts

5. Spoon vanilla batter into 1 large decorating bag with 1/2-inch opening (or use heavy-duty zip-tight plastic bag with corner cut to make 1/2-inch opening). Repeat with chocolate batter and a second large decorating bag with 1/2-inch opening. Pipe a 1 1/2-inch-wide band of chocolate batter around inside edge of 2 prepared cake pans, then pipe a 1 1/2-inch-wide band of vanilla batter next to each chocolate band. Pipe enough chocolate batter to fill in the center of each pan. In third pan, repeat piping, alternating rings of batter, but start with vanilla batter around inside edge of pan.

6. Stagger cake pans on 2 oven racks, placing 2 on upper rack and 1 on lower rack, so that pans are not directly above one another. Bake 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of layers comes out almost clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. With small knife, loosen layers from sides of pans; invert onto wire racks. Remove waxed paper; cool completely.

7. Meanwhile, have ready the chocolate frosting of your choice (or prepare the Silky Chocolate Butter Frosting). Place 1 of the 2 identical cake layers on cake plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Top with the reverse-design cake layer. Spread with another 1/2 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer; frost side and top of cake with remaining frosting.

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