Checkerboard Cake1

One year ago today, I thought that I was absolutely crazy.

I had tried to talk myself out of it for months, giving all kinds of excuses as to why the idea in my head was a bad, terrible, even abysmal one that would never lead to anything.

I didn’t know anything about blogging. I mean ANYTHING.

WordPress or Blogroll? How should I know? Wait. What’s the difference between them anyway? (This was a serious, actual conversation I had with myself at the time, I kid you not.)

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I didn’t know anything about photography.  I got my first real digital camera for my 24th birthday, and I knew virtually nothing about operating it besides pressing the button that would actually take the pictures. Food styling? Natural Lighting? Props? What were those things? I sure as heck didn’t know.

There were literally millions of other food blogs out there; what reason did  I have to think that anyone out there would take any notice of it? Not a single one.

Despite all of those misgivings and factors working against me, a year ago today I pressed the ‘Publish’ button. A year ago today, I published the very first blog post on Cooking is My Sport.

My tiny blog baby is one year old, guys. I can’t believe it. When I first started this thing, it was purely an experiment- I told myself that if no one showed interest in my posts, I could always just quit and delete the whole thing, with the world being none the wiser. And for some strange, but wonderful reason, that didn’t happen.

And it’s all because of you people.

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I’ve said it before, but today on my blog’s anniversary I can’t help but say it once again: to every single person who has ever visited CIMS, liked a post, commented on one, or followed my blog- you have my immense gratitude.

Thank you. Thank you. And THANK YOU.

Most of all, thank you all to the wonderful new friends and buddies I’ve made through blogging. Thanks for sharing your wonderful blogs with me and always showing mad support <3

This has been such a wild ride of a year. I feel like I’ve learned so much- not just about blogging, but photography as well. Check back to my first posts if you don’t believe me.

Wait no, don’t do that. My photography is horrifyingly God-awful on several dishes.

Eh, whatever.  You’re welcome to look if you’re brave enough. And regardless of poor pictures, the food is still spot on, so there’s that.

I knew I wanted to make a special cake to celebrate my blogs’s birthday, and this one certainly is special. The checkerboard layer cake is one of those things that for a lot of people that haven’t made it before, is a real mystery. They just can’t figure out how it gets done. I used to be one of them myself. Then, earlier this year, my grandma and grandpa remodeled their kitchen. While emptying it out for the contractor, my grandma decided to get rid of a good number of her old appliances and cookware- fortunately, most of them got passed on to yours truly. One of the things I got was her checkerboard cake pan set. When I was trying to think of what type of layer cake to make for the blog anniversary, I thought of the set and immediately decided that this would be the one.

Checkerboard Cake4

Now, if you don’t have a checkerboard cake pan set, have no fear: you can still make this cake. All you really need are 8″ or 9″ layer cake pans, and bowls/cookie cutters that measure 4-5″ and 2-3″ inches. You also don’t have to automatically go with white and chocolate cake as your flavors: as long as they’re different colors to create the checkerboard pattern, it’s fine. I will say this though: try to use cake recipes that aren’t overly moist. Since this cake requires multiple steps of assembly, super moist cakes can have the tendency to be really fragile and crack with too much handling. The cake shouldn’t be as dense as pound cake, but not as soft as a twinkie either- a perfect medium is what you’re looking for.

I didn’t think I would like this cake a much as I did. Chocolate cake isn’t my favorite, and I’m honestly more of a yellow cake lover than a straight white one. However, I found this to be VERY good. There’s just something about the blending of flavors that creates the perfect blend between the sweetness of the white cake and the slight bitterness of the chocolate cake that just really works together. The vanilla butter cream is delicious enough to eat by itself on a spoon- straight up.

So, I know what you’re thinking: there’s a crap load of frosting on this cake. I know. And I can explain. See the original plan was to use the butter cream to make these lovely, artistic peaks with a spoon, and  needed a rather thick layer of frosting to do so. I just forgot one thing:

I am not artistic by any stretch of the imagination. It took me about 5-7 minutes of attempting this elaborate, peak design to figure out that it just wasn’t going to work. I wasn’t making peaks- more like craters. And no one wants to see craters on a layer cake. So, I just smoothed it all out and called it a night. Yeah, it’s thick, but so what? You get extra vanilla butter cream to eat- who’s gonna complain about that? Not I, said the Jessica.

I guess this about wraps this post up. Once again guys: thank you SO much for all the support you’ve given Cooking is My Sport over the past year- I can’ wait to see what next year holds 😉


Checkerboard Layer Cake

Recipe Adapted from Hershey & Melissa@My CakeSchool



For Chocolate Layer:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup, plus 6 tbsp. flour
  • 6 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup veg. oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

For White Cake Layer:

  • 6 tbsp. unsalted, soft butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 6 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 2 lbs. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups solid vegetable shortening
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk


For Chocolate Layer:

1. Grease & flour 1 9-inch cake pans. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Mix sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add egg, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed in a stand mixer for 2 min.

3. Stir in boiling water and pour batter into pan (it’ll be thin). Bake for 30– 35 min, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 10min, then remove to wire rack.

For White Layer:

1. Keep oven at 350°. Grease/flour 9-inch cake pan. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Combine the egg whites, milk and vanilla extract.

2. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then add half of the milk mixture. Add the rest of both, continue to alternate beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

3. Pour batter into pan and bake for 25-30 min, until cake passes toothpick test. Cool in pan for 10 min, then move to wire rack.

For Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream

1. Cream shortening, butter & vanilla until smooth. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time and milk. Mix on medium speed for 8 min, scraping bowl sides & decreasing speed to slow on last two minutes.

46 thoughts on “Checkerboard Layer Cake

  1. I am such a cake lover and bring on the frosting, I love your cake. Love the checkerboard pattern and the buttercream. A very happy anniversary, I love your recipes and your blog and you do stand out in a sea of bloggers. Beautiful cake.

  2. This cake looks soo good. I’m one of those people who thinks checkerboard cakes are a mystery. I didn’t even know there’s a checkerboard cake pan set! And I love yellow cake and buttercream frosting. So… No complaints from me either. I can slowly devour this cake in multiple sittings =) Happy Blogiversary, Jess! It’s been so much fun learning the whole blogging process with you! I started mine a few weeks after yours =)

    1. I didn’t know about them either until my grandma gave me hers lol And to be honest, Me and my family have already started the devouring process on the cake- I doubt it’ll last the week.

      Thanks Andrea 🙂

  3. Your welcome, Jess! And thanks for providing this delicious cake to allow us all to celebrate the fact that CIMS is 1 year old!
    I’ve never attempted a checkerboard cake. Whether I find it intimidating or maybe I’m just lazy, I’m not sure. But you certainly make it sound do-able, even for me! As far as I’m concerned there is never to much frosting – so I’m loving the bits of it here and there holding everything in place. <3 And vanilla buttercream on top of that…I say, bring it on!

    1. It IS VERY do-able Nancy, whether you have the checkerboard set or not. And it looks so pretty when it’s all done lol

      Thank you for following and keeping up with CIMS, I do really appreciate it 🙂

  4. Happy Happy Happy Anniversary my sweet sweet Jessica!! Guess what?!! Tomorrow is my first anniversary…but I don’t have anything prepared…so I’m going to hop on your train…and enjoy this cake with you! I always knew that we were twins!

    Thank YOU for being here…for sharing your wonderful recipes, your life, and your family with us… I am so happy you didn’t talk yourself out of blogging, because it just wouldn’t be the same without you….and isn’t it funny that people did take notice of your blog? That you’re still here today? You know why? Because you are an integral part of this whole community. We love you. <3

    And now for this cake… Holy smokes man. I've never attempted a checkerboard cake…and I'm so impressed with this. It's beautiful… a perfect cake for a perfect blog… a perfect you. I look forward to the next year with you… <3

    1. Wow, I had no idea our anniversaries were so close together- coincidence? I think NOT! 😉

      You’re so kind. So very kind. I can honestly say this blogging experience wouldn’t be the same without you here in the community. Starting this blog was one of the best decisions I made if only because I got to know you because of it…and I mean that sincerely. <3 you much

  5. Congratulations on your first year Blogiversary, Jess!!! I have loved reading your posts, getting to know you and your extraordinary family and devouring your recipes too!! Here is to another great year!!

    1. Thank you Selma- not just for the comment, but for becoming one of my best blogger buddies. It’s been great getting to know you and your food through your blog as well <3

  6. Happy Anniversary Jess! Our blogs are almost twins! Love the look of this cake as well, it’s perfect for indecisive people like me who can’t decide what flavour they want!

    1. That’s awesome Alice, I’ve enjoyed having them be so close together in age and seeing how they’ve both evolved over the past year. Yes, I too am indecisive when it comes to cake, but here we get the best of both worlds- thank you!

  7. Happy Blog Anniversary Jess and may you have many more years of blogging ahead. I was like you when I started had no clue of blogging. Your cake looks fabulous and I am sure was delicious too 🙂

  8. Happy anniversary, Jess! I would never have known you have only blogged for 1 year. Your pictures and posts are always so professional. This cake is amazing! I love the amount of frosting on the top. That is how all cakes should be in my opinion!:)

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