Rainbow Checkerboard Cake Recipe

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Rainbow Checkerboard Cake is a beautiful cake. Once it is sliced, it’s like a surprise! Different color cake layers are baked. They are then cut into rings and swapped to complete each layer. These layers when combined then give a beautiful checkerboard rainbow cake. Read on to learn how to make a rainbow checkered cake recipe.

A vibrant Rainbow Checkerboard Cake showing its colorful layers
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 are – Checkerboard cake, pineapple cake, old-fashion chocolate cake, strawberry pie, and chocolate wine cake.

Close-up of the Rainbow Checkerboard Cake with distinct rainbow squares
How To Make 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 the States and I loved using them. They behave so differently from the ones we get in India.

Whole Rainbow Checkerboard Cake topped with creamy white frosting
Checkerboard Rainbow Cake

For the checkered pattern rainbow 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.

Layers of the Rainbow Checkerboard Cake being assembled
rainbow checkerboard cake

Let’s learn how to make a checkerboard cake/checkered cake.

I started with baking blue and yellow colors and then realized that I only needed 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 on a plate with a fork ready to eat
the best recipe for a checkerboard cake

The slightly tricky part is cutting concentric rings from the 3 layers. I used a 4-inch lid and a 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.

Top view of the Rainbow Checkerboard Cake, showcasing the intricate pattern
rainbow checkerboard cake recipe

My kids also got so excited seeing the rainbow cake that they couldn’t wait for the cake-cutting to happen. They were 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.

Delicious Rainbow Checkerboard Cake served on a plate
How to Make Perfect Checkerboard Cake

How to make Rainbow Checkerboard Cake at Home?

Rainbow Checkerboard Cake

Rainbow Checkerboard Cake is a beautiful cake. Once it is sliced, its like a surprise! Different color cake layers are baked. They are then cut into rings and swapped to complete each layer. These layers when combined then gives a beautiful checkerboard cake. Read on to learn how to make rainbow checkered cake.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Assembling Time30 minutes
Total Time2 hours 10 minutes
Course: Baking, Dessert, Filling & Frosting
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keyword: Bakery, cupcake, eggless
Servings: 6 inch layered cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar granulated
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ cup apple sauce unsweetened
  • ½ cup yogurt homemade curd or buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • a pinch salt
  • 2-3 drops food coloring

Instructions

for the cake layers

  • 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.
  • 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 color. 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.

assembling the cake

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Frost the top layer with any type of design or decoration you like. I kept it simple.

Notes

  1. This recipe makes 1 layer. Repeat this process to get 3 layers.
  2. I soaked the layers lightly this time as I wanted the checkerboard pattern to clearly show and not fall apart upon cutting.
  3. You can use any color of your choice or skip the checkerboard pattern altogether and enjoy a simple cake.

Sugar Syrup

Easy Sugar Syrup recipe to soak cakes & bakes
Prep Time1 minute
Cook Time3 minutes
Total Time4 minutes
Course: Baking, DIY, Filling & Frosting
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keyword: Bakery, Quick & Easy
Servings: 1 cup syrup

Ingredients

  • cup sugar granulated
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  • Boil water & sugar together. Once it boils, lower the flame & allow it to heat for another 1 minute. Remove from heat & cool completely. It can be made in advance & stored in refrigerator.
  • Use ⅓ cup of syrup to soak one layer of cake. If you are soaking White Cake then reduce the syrup per layer i.e. ¼ cup sugar in ¾ cup water. And soak each layer in ¼ cup syrup. With ⅓ cup syrup, I have found the cake to get over soaked.

for infusing flavor

  • If you are infusing flavor like rose petals, then boil petals once sugar is dissolved for 5-10 minutes. Cool & strain. Continue to use for soaking and assembling.

Notes

  1. The more you soak the layers before filling, the more moist your cake will be.
  2. You can infuse this syrup with flavors of your choice. I have used it with dried rose cake by infusing it with 1 cup dried rose petals. 

How to Assemble a Cake

Easy steps on How to Assemble a Cake. Follow them to create a layered cake in a jiffy.
Prep Time5 minutes
Active Time30 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Baking, Dessert, Filling & Frosting
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keyword: Bakery, chocolate, Coffee, cupcake, eggless, Quick & Easy
Yield: 6 inch layered cake

Equipment

  • piping bag, nozzles & levelling knife for decorating and finishing
  • parchment paper or strips

Materials

  • sugar syrup or chocolate syrup for soaking
  • whipped cream or chocolate ganache or buttercream to fill & frost
  • fruits, sprinkles, chocolate chips, etc for topping or filling

Instructions

  • Move the frozen layers to refrigerator few hours before assembling. Place the first layer on a platter or cake stand.
  • Make some holes into the bottom layer using a form. Soak the bottom layer in sugar syrup. Then lightly spread the filling of your choice like whipped cream or butter cream or chocolate ganache over it. 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.
  • Top it generously with chocolate ganache or any glaze or whipped cream or butter cream. Pipe design as you would like. Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours or overnight for flavors to set in. Serve chilled.

Notes

  1. You can whip the ganache before spreading as filling.
  2. The consistency of ganache for topping and filling is different. For filling, you need thick consistency (which you get by leaving the ganache at room temperature for few hours) and for pouring as topping, you need the ganache to be pouring consistency. You can re-heat/ warm up the ganache to adjust the consistency.
  3. I use soy-based ready-to-whip cream which is available in market. Transfer a small portion of cream in a large bowl or your stand mixer and beat till stiff peaks are achieved. Fill and frost as per your choice.

Join the Conversation

  1. This is seriously the cutest cake ever! Pinning!

  2. Jyotirmoy Sarkar says:

    Cute and lovely cakes.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

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