Rainbow Checkerboard Cake

Rainbow Checkerboard Cake

It’s that time of the year again. Yes my birthday week and I always bake a cake for my birthdays, some of them were – Checkerboard cake, pineapple cake, old fashion chocolate cake, strawberry pie and chocolate wine cake.

Rainbow Checkerboard Cake

This year was no different and I decided to experiment a bit more with my cakes in terms of design. I did a retake on my earlier checkerboard cake and created it using 3 colors. Priya’s mom had got me food colors on her recent trip to States and I loved using them. They behave so differently to the ones we get in India.

Rainbow Checkerboard Cake

The base cake is from my favorite white cake recipe which I first discovered in Mango Cake here. I colored the batter for each layer in a different color.

Rainbow Checkerboard Cake

I started out with baking blue and yellow color and then realized that I only need one more layer, so I had to choose from red or green for the 3rd layer. I doodled on my iPad and did a quick round on Instagram/ Facebook. Unanimously red was voted as a better combination with yellow and blue.

Rainbow Checkerboard Cake

The slightly tricky part is cutting concentric rings from the 3 layers. I used a 4-inch lid and 2-inch cookie cutter to cut rings. Just press the cutter into the layer and using a knife in up and down motion cut out the circle. Gently remove circles and set aside. Now interchange each circle with different colored ones and complete layers – i.e. Outer ring of color 1, middle ring of color 2 and inner ring of color 3.

Rainbow Checkerboard Cake

My kids also got so excited seeing the Cake that they couldn’t wait for the cake cutting to happen. They were totally fascinated with the process.

The cake as usual was a hit with my friends but the best part was that my kids also equally enjoyed Rainbow Checkerboard Cake.

Rainbow Checkerboard Cake

one 6 inch round cake Conversion Chart Print

Rainbow Checkerboard Cake


1 cup of all purpose flour
½ cup of sugar
¾ teaspoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of baking soda
¼ cup of unsweetened apple sauce
½ cup of curd or buttermilk
2 tablespoons of olive oil
½ tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
2-3 drops of food coloring of your choice, I used red, blue and yellow color


1.Pre-heat oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 6 inch round pan. In a large bowl, combine together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In a separate small bowl, mix curd or buttermilk, oil, vinegar, vanilla extract and apple sauce.
2.Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl until just mixed. I added another teaspoon of curd to adjust the consistency. Add 2-3 drops of desired colour. Quickly mix well. Pour the batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes or till the tooth pick inserted near the centre comes out clean. Cool the cake completely in the pan before de-moulding. Freeze the layer till further use. Bake 2 more layers using different colors to color them.
3.Assemble and decorate as per your choice. Or you can follow these steps to make a simple yet stunning Surprise Inside Cake with Rainbow Checkerboard Pattern. Cut out 2 concentric rings each from all 3 layers. I used a 4-inch lid and 2-inch cookie cutter to cut rings. Just press the cutter into the layer and using a knife in up and down motion cut out the circle. Gently remove circles and set aside.
4.Apply very little amount, just enough to stick the layers together, of whipped cream on inside of outermost circle. Gently place middle circle of color 2 inside the outercircle. Again apply light coat of whipped cream and place the smallest circle inside of color 3. Layer one of cake is ready. Remember interchange each circle with different colored ones and complete layers - i.e. Outer ring of color 1, middle ring of color 2 and inner ring of color 3. Repeat the same process to get 3 separate layers with different colored circles in each.
5.Place the first layer on a platter or cake stand. Make some holes into the bottom layer using a fork. Soak the bottom layer lightly in sugar syrup. Then apply very thin layer of whipped cream on the first layer. Place the second layer on top of the bottom layer & repeat the process of soaking & spreading filling. Finally place the top layer & again soak it. Lightly spread the filling on top & sides of the cake making a crumb coat. Refrigerate the cake for 1 hour.
6.Frost the top layer with any type of design or decoration you like. I kept it simple.


This recipe makes 1 layer. Repeat this process to get 3 layers.

I soaked the layers lightly this time as I wanted the checkerboard pattern to clearly show and not fall apart upon cutting.

You can use any color of your choice or skip the checkerboard pattern altogether and enjoy a simple cake.

  • This is seriously the cutest cake ever! Pinning!

  • Jyotirmoy Sarkar

    Cute and lovely cakes.

  • Thanks Jyoti!

  • Thanks Pamela :)

  • Amanda

    Hi! Can you please remove “surprise inside” from all descriptions for cake and any other cake you may have posted? I own the trademark to “surprise inside” and your use of it is a violation. Please also delete all social media that reflect this verbiage as well. Thank you!

  • Sorry for inadvertent error Amanda. I will remove all mention of surprise inside from wherever I have posted – blog and social media. If I miss somewhere and you do come across any mention of it, please be kind enough to point it out to me and i will do the needful.