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Team Babes' Mirror Glazed Checkerboard Cake


Team Babes' Mirror Glazed Checkerboard Cake

Haritha P

Photos and Words by Team Babes

“Yeah, there’s a couple squirts of chocolate in there, but if you blink, you’d miss it.” -Sophia Pou, self-proclaimed gay icon/the sassiest Cambodian-Australian you will ever meet

Checkerboard cake is an Asian bakery classic. If you do not have checkerboard cake in your local Asian bakery, then your bakery is just not Asian enough. The secret to making the different squares in the cake is to use ring molds. By cutting and spacing the rings out enough, you can create perfect little squares along each slice of cake, babe.

With this recipe, you “got a lot of cutting, babe.” You have to slice the two different kinds of cakes to get two layers out of each, then you need to slice the rings, either using ring molds, paring and butter knives, or a combination of any of the above, and then you need to layer and glaze the damn thing. But it’s a pretty cake, and you might as well do it for the Instagram. Or if you have someone special you want to bake this for (unless you are Fred and Adrienne, who are deathly allergic to romance and prefer eating ice cream alone in the dark).

For the cake, we are doing a genoise base, using vanilla and chocolate flavors. Genoise is a very basic spongecake made with whipped eggs and sugar to leaven the batter, and it holds the best to getting sliced and layered. For the filling, we just stuck to whipped cream, but we named it chantilly cream, because it is the easiest way to make something basic sound fancier than it actually is. For the coating, we are doing a dark chocolate-grand marnier mirror glaze, because mirror glaze cakes are trendy and we also swiped some white chocolate along the top layer, just to make the presentation have that black and white coloration.

For vanilla cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
¼ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For chocolate cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon grand marnier or creme de cacao

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a bowl, whip the eggs and sugar into ribbon stage; it needs to be stiff and pale. In another bowl, mix either the extract or alcohol with the oil (for chocolate cake, use half of the cocoa powder here and the rest in the egg mixture). Combine with about ¼ of the egg mixture. Fold in the flour, oil-egg mix, and the egg-sugar mix. Line, spray, and flour a 9 in circular cake mold. Pour in batter, and bake for 30 minutes.

Allow the cakes to cool to room temperature before removing from the pan. Slice the cake into two layers. Using three differently sized ring molds, slice three circles into the cake layers. Rearrange the cake circles so that they are each alternating between vanilla and chocolate. Re-stack the cakes, making sure that the layers are also alternating, and spreading chantilly between each layer, and then frost. Freeze for 1 hour, and then glaze. Chill for at least 2 hours before slicing.

2 cups heavy cream
¾ cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
A pinch of salt

Whip ingredients into stiff peaks and chill in the refrigerator.

Mirror glaze:
1 ½ cups dark chocolate chips
1 ½ teaspoons gelatin powder
½ cup condensed milk
1 tablespoon grand marnier/orange liqueur

Bloom gelatin in grand marnier. Melt down the chocolate chips with condensed milk over a double boiler. Melt the bloomed gelatin mixture into the melted chocolate. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, continuously stirring with a rubber spatula to scrape the edges and bring down the temperature of the chocolate without allowing it to solidify. Should the chocolate get too firm, re-heat until just liquid again; you need the glaze to be pourable and easily spreadable, or else it can compromise the texture of the chantilly.

White chocolate:
¼ cup white chocolate chips

In a double boiler, melt down white chocolate. Using a spoon, make swipes across the just glazed cake, and allow it to set onto the cake to create a nice swirl-like pattern.