Sunday’s Monday afternoon’s Monday night’s running of the 54th Annual Daytona 500, I made a checkerboard cake to match the checkered flag that is waved at the end of the race. There are 6 main flags (green, yellow, white, red, black, and checkered) that are used in NASCAR races so I wanted to feature the one that all the drivers are dying to see first as they cross the start/finish line on the last lap. We were so amped for this race. We are excited for any race but the Daytona 500 is the Super Bowl of NASCAR. It is the BIG race. It really kicks off the season and there is a whole week of races leading up to it that we follow diligently. I really hope to make it to Daytona one day but until then celebrating it at home will have to do.
We originally planned on watching Daytona on Sunday and enjoying a great dinner of Price’s amazing pulled pork and I figure we can end it with this fun checkerboard cake. I was tempted to just make this on my own but I figured the easiest way would be to get the Wilton Checkerboard Cake Pan Set. The set comes with three 9″ cake pans and a divider ring that creates the checkerboard pattern in the cake. The set was affordable at just $15 and really worth it. I think it is a great set but I would LOVE having 2 more rings so I didn’t have to remove it for each layer. I hate washing dishes and I think it would make filling the cakes a little less ‘stressful’ so I could really see that each layer was getting an even amount in each pan.
I filled the cake pans with large spoonfuls of batter and helped smooth it out with an offset spatula. From that experience I strongly suggest to fill large storage bags or cake decorating bags with the batter to fill the rings. I think that would provide more control to the filling the rings.
I used the cake recipe that was provided on the Wilton box because it was my first time making this checkerboard cake and I was not sure how much mix I would need for it. I had my go-to standard yellow cake mix recipe ready but I just was a little uneasy about using it since the flour content was so much less than the Wilton recipe so I was not sure it if was a quantity or texture difference. In the end I think it was a bit of both but mainly this was dense cake. I figure it was to make the chocolate portion and the vanilla portion not bleed into each other. I didn’t actually like this cake when we had some because it was so dense, dry but I am including (with a minor adjustment to the baking time) for reference. I know I will try this cake again with different flavor and color combinations so get ready so see more of this checkerboard cake in the future!
Did you stay up for the crazy Daytona 500? From the 36 hr rain delay to Jimmie Johnson’s Lap 2 wreck (which brought tears to my eyes from his driver’s side hit) to Juan Pablo Montoya’s out of control crash into the jet dryer!!! Never a dull moment and we loved it. But still it got to be really late for a work night after the Montoya crash/red flag delay Pricer crashed and went to bed. I wanted to watch the ending with him so I went to bed shortly after midnight although I was dying to know who won. Plus I was afraid I would yell some profanities if there was another big crash. Which did happen but thankfully I was more composed at 6.30 this morning when we started to watch the end of the race again. I sat in angered disbelief when Kasey Kahne was hit during lap. Oh well! Congrats to Matt Kenseth for his 2nd Daytona 500 win! Can’t wait for next week’s race at Phoenix!
Checkered Flag Cake
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 2/3 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 4 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk
- 4- 1oz squares of semi-sweet chocolate, melted
- Preheat the oven to 350 and spray all 3 pans with non-stick cooking spray.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until smooth.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
- Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a measuring cup.
- Incorporate 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add 1/3 of the milk and beat. Continue to alternate the dry and wet ingredients until the cake is complete.
- Divide the cake in half to remove the vanilla cake batter portion.
- To the remaining batter in the mixer, add the melted chocolate.
- Follow the steps below to fill the pans to create the checkerboard patter.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Rotate half way through the cooking process and remove from oven when a tooth pick is inserted and is clean upon removal.
- Once the 3 cakes have completely cooled, place one of the chocolate, vanilla, chocolate layers on a plate or a cake stand. Level off the top of the cake. Add some butter cream frosting to cover the bottom layer.
- Add the vanilla, chocolate, vanilla later to the first frosted layer. Trim the cake top as needed to provide a level cake. Cover layer with frosting.
- Add the final layer of the cake, trim as needed, and then complete frosting.
To create the checkerboard pattern
- Place the batter divider in the first pan and alternate the chocolate batter and the vanilla batter in the rings. Start with the outside ring filling it with chocolate, then do the next ring vanilla, and the center with chocolate again. Carefully remove the divider ring from the cake pan by pulling it straight up. Wash the diver ring prior to using it again.
- For the second pan, repeat the same process with a chocolate outer ring, vanilla ring, and then a chocolate center.
- For the last pan, make the outer most ring vanilla, then chocolate, then a vanilla center.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 6 oz of semi sweet chocolate
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups of powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a small bowl over a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Once the chocolate is evenly melted, remove from the heat and let cool a bit prior to adding to the rest of the buttercream.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until very fluffy.
- Add the milk and vanilla and beat until completely incorporated.
- Add the melted chocolate and mix until evenly incorporated and fluffy consistency is reached again.
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