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How to Make a Checkerboard Cake That Will Blow Your Guests' Minds

This unassuming cake has a deep secret. While seemingly modest with its fluffy buttercream frosting, ruffle borders, and dash of sprinkles, there is actually much more going on than what initially meets the eye. The real party is inside the cake! Last year we introduced you to the Vertical Layer Cake. Now it’s time to discover its geometric cake-cousin: Meet the Checkerboard Cake recipe. Cubes of lemon and strawberry cake make up this anything-but-ordinary party treat. And it’s easier to make than you think!

It’s easier than it looks!

How to Make a Checkerboard Cake That Will Blow Your Guests' Minds

This unassuming cake has a deep secret. While seemingly modest with its fluffy buttercream frosting, ruffle borders, and dash of sprinkles, there is actually much more going on than what initially meets the eye. The real party is inside the cake! Last year we introduced you to the Vertical Layer Cake. Now it’s time to discover its geometric cake-cousin: Meet the Checkerboard Cake recipe. Cubes of lemon and strawberry cake make up this anything-but-ordinary party treat. And it’s easier to make than you think!

Ingredients

  • pink and yellow food coloring
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry preserves
  • sprinkles (optional)
  • 1 batch vanilla buttercream

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 4 6-inch round cake pans and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth.

Add in the sugar. With the mixer on medium speed, mix together until fluffy — about 3-4 minutes.

Turn the mixer down to low and add in the vanilla, eggs, and egg yolk, one at a time. Mix until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add in half of the flour mixture and mix on low until just combined.

With the mixer running, slowly pour in the milk.

Add in the second half of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Don’t over mix!

Separate the batter into 2 mixing bowls.

Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and yellow food coloring to one bowl. Fold the batter until combined and even in color.

Add the strawberry preserves and pink food coloring to the other bowl. Fold the batter until combined and even in color.

Evenly distribute the batter into the cake pans so that you have two pans of each color. Bake for about 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.

Once the cakes have completely cooled, use a long serrated knife to carefully level each cake. They should all be the same height — about 1 inch tall.

Using the 4-inch round cookie cutter, cut out the centers of each cake.

Using the 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out the centers of each of the 4-inch cake pieces.

Using just a small amount, carefully smear the insides of each cake ring with buttercream.

Alternating flavors, place the cake rings back inside of each other. There will be 2 layers with yellow outside and inside pieces and 2 layers with pink outside and inside pieces.

Place the bottom layer on a cake board or serving dish, then apply a thin, smooth layer of buttercream on top with an offset spatula.

Alternating colors, place the second layer on top and repeat. Continue with all 4 layers of cake.

Crumb coat the entire cake with buttercream, then let chill in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.

Frost the outside of the cake with buttercream, then finish off the cake with a ruffled buttercream border and sprinkles.

Our Latest In

Wedding styles run the gamut from modern to traditional to our very favorite: the earthy and ethereal boho. Think whimsical flowers, woodsy decor, and a creative edge from aisle to style. Not just a summer trend, boho is perfect year-round. That's why we were so excited to team up with All Who Wander to share their collection of 17 gorgeous wedding dresses designed for the modern-day bohemian (AKA us in a nutshell).

We love a little free spirit vibe mixed in with our wedding bliss — something new, something blue, and something totally unique. Here's a peek with four All Who Wander dresses styled for every season, because finding your perfect dress is the next best thing to finding your favorite person, right? Congrats btw!

Winter

It takes a bold woman to book a winter wedding but the benefits are pretty amazing: more venue options, cheaper rates, no humidity, and stunning winter scenery, to name a few. The voluminous Joey gown has these 3D floral elements that almost float down the tulle like snow.

Check out the crosshatch on the tulle — so pretty!

For that wintery vibe (really this dress goes with any season) we paired it with a faux fur shawl and a bouquet with wintery waxflower, matthiola, and pine cones.

Makeup artist Stephanie Cardenas went bold with darker lips in cool tones. "We tend to have less color in our skin in winter months," says Cardenas. "Lips are the real showcase here so deep cheek contour and matte makeup are a great contrast. A nice highlight on the cheekbone can go a long way," she adds.

Joey Gown

Essense of Australia

Emery gown

Essense of Australia

Skye gown

Essense of Australia

Harlo gown

Essense of Australia

Spring

Spring weddings are all about the blooms, from head to table. The floral and sheer lace panels throughout the Skye gown's skirt gives it beautiful drape and an airy feel for warmer days.

It was also so comfortable to wear. The built-in cups in the bodice gave it really nice shape without having to worry about what bra to wear.

For makeup, Cardenas went with a fun, bright lip (go for matte to keep it from straying from your lip) and loose boho waves for hair. Oh and that flower crown? Made from a $5 bouquet!

Here's a simple how-to for the crown.

You'll need:

  • paddle wire
  • floral stem wire
  • wire cutters
  • floral shears
  • two bouquets of your choice
  1. Measure paddle wire around your head, leaving 2 or 3 inches for closure.
  2. Clip with wire cutters and twist ends together to close.
  3. Trim 3-inch stems of blooms.
  4. Use floral stem wire to wrap each stem around the crown.
  5. Wear and feel like a bridal queen!

Summer

Midsummer Night's Dream theme, anyone? Really, who can resist a woodsy backdrop against bright flowers and a dreamy dress? Yes, please! We paired the modern simplicity of the Emery gown with a simple baby's breath crown (so easy to make) and a colorful bouquet of ranunculus, calla lilies, mums, and snapdragons. Yellow shoes topped off the look!

The Emery gown's plunging neckline and keyhole back adds a dash of sexy without having to go sleeveless if that's not your thing. And the lace bodice adds really nice character on the minimal gown. A beach wedding would be sweet for this one too!

Fall

The Harlo gown was a favorite at the B + C office. Fringe and soft sequins give it beautiful texture and sheen but also a really fun edgy vibe. With a dress like this you can really play. We paired it with a fun rancher hat and beautiful orange sunflowers.

And look at how it swings!

Here's a close-up of the Harlo's lace detail, swoon...

So what do you think? Have a better idea of what you'll want to wear down the aisle? All Who Wander has many more designs (find a retailer near you here) for the adventurous bride, no matter what kind of wedding you're planning any time of year. Makes us want to do it all over again!

Author + Creative Direction: Theresa Gonzalez

Photographer: Kurt Andre

Stylist: Kayla Haykin

Hair and Makeup: Stephanie Cardenas

Models: Irina (Winter), Lauren (Spring), Anala (Summer), Malia (Fall)

B+C Studios in partnership with All Who Wander