Friday, August 26, 2011

~ CheckerBoard Cake ~

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Today's blog will be a lot of fun for me.  Not just because of the whimsical cake above HUGE HIT... It's chocolate, really), but also because I was inspired by my long time blogging buddy... Really Rainey of the Project Table!  I LOVE visiting the Project table.  In fact, I have loved visiting the Project Table long before eRecipeCards.  She has been on my blog list for years.  In fact, I love visiting the Project table so much, in real life, I have set up a blogging meet up with Rainey in October (Doesn't hurt that she lives in the Phoenix area, just a short hop from my sainted Mother)!

But before we get to her, WE HAVE A WINNER!!!  A couple of days ago I hosted my very first contest!  What a huge success.  I always see over a hundred visitors to this blog daily, yet only get 6-10 comments.  Apparently it takes a bribe to get people interested!  A whopping 38 people were interested, but only one person can be a winner...

Number 16, Andra of the Brighter Side of Gluten is the winner.  Andra, drop me a note with your mailing address and I will ship your book out ASAP!

Thanks to all that played along.  And if you are still interested, please double click the book cover to be taken to Amazon so you can buy this TERRIFIC read yourself!

And now back to The Project Table!  While food blogs are terrific, Rainey actually has a well rounded "do it yourself" and "slice of Life" blog.  Just as many posts of hers are shots of her life as are crafty tips as are food recipes.
Click the photo to see the post

Like this crafty tip (which in reality is a foodie tip (and should have been submitted to But I naggingly digress) for how to grow your own sprouts... pure genius!

Click the Photo to see the post
Her Slice of her Life photos are equally fun.  Like this series of photos she called "Grill with a View", when she shows off a new toy, a propane grill that attaches to a ski boat.  She shows off a bit of lake Powell and the scenery around the lake as she shows off the versatility, cooking burgers (easy... oh wait, she added a slice of grilled pineapple!), a Grilled Pizza (OK, a bit more challenging), Chicken Wings (OK, all in one day, I am really getting impressed) and finally she even showed off the little gem to make some cinnamon dessert rolls.  As product review posts go, this was about as unobtrusive and fun a post as I have ever seen!

Click the photo to see the Blog site

Rainey has also started a "365 days of Rainey blog" which features her photography.  I have considered doing a VERY basic post on photography.  Many bloggers could benefit from a basic understanding of what is easily done with free programs like Picasa 3 and MS Paint.  But really, Rainey has figured out the real trick to taking better photos... practice.  Learn to look at the world with a new eye.  Study angles, shadows, pay attention to backgrounds and props and ponder how to make an interesting shot (Like the AMAZING shot above of "Strawberry Flambe' ".  The basics of adding a splash of color enhancement and proper light balance can be done with the those programs.  BUT, it takes work to achieve that photographer's eye.  Starting a blog dedicated to working to seeing with a photographer's eye and you will get better (as Rainey has)... but I digress.

Click the photo to see the Blog Page
And finally... one more reason to take a look at The Project Table Blog and continue to "haunt" her pages... She is a huge Halloween fan.  Among the most fun decorations and food related holiday faire among all bloggers.  In fact, I first became enamored by her blog during Halloween season.  Like the "Wicked Witch lady fingers" shown above (they are actually sugar cookies with an Almond Slice for the fingernail (although I am pondering using a roasted pumpkin seed instead... more of a nasty look... but I digress).  It is no small accident that I am planning a trip to visit my sainted mother during this favorite time of year for her.  very excited to be visiting the haunted Rainey house (this year, both via viral and via dropping in!).  And now is a great time to add Rainey to your "must visit" page!

Yes... I am a fan!

Oh, one more thing...while preparing this post I found a brand new reason I love blogging so much.

Take a look at the sous chef Rainey used when making the "Wicked Witch lady fingers" shown above...

Now, take a look at the sous chef she used 2 years later when she made this Checkerboard Chocolate cake...

I love personal blogs.  I like to talk about my wife and family when I blog.  I like to read and get a little slice of the life of the blogger I am reading.

The sous chef is Rainey's niece Brianna.  Brianna pops up on occasion on the Project Table!  It's not enough to love the hobby.  Sharing the hobby is also important.  Years and years from now, Brianna will fondly remember sous chefing for her Aunt Rainey.  And years and years from now, Aunt Rainey will just as fondly be able to look back over her blog and fondly remember one of her favorite times in the kitchen (or dozens of them).

Ain't blogging grand!

OK... Let's talk about this recipe...

First, it's a cheat.  Meaning there is a gimmick to get the look.

See... This is a shot I lifted from Rainey's post, but I assure you, I own the same little toy.  Comes with three pans, and the handy little divider.  Just fill one side and the center with one flavor of cake mix.  Then fill the middle.  Do that with two of the pans and alternate with the third.

That's the trick.

Aside from that, I made a red velvet cake mix...

and (hanging my head in shame), I made a box mix of a vanilla cake.

And some butter cream frosting...

Only recipe I have today is...

 Red Velvet Cake is legendary for it's chocolate richness, buttercream icing decadence and the beauty of the red cake contrasted with the white icing. Bobby Flay did one of his Throwdown shows about Red Velvet cake a few years ago. A simple Google search came up with that recipe on the Food Network Website and I stuck to it...

Ingredients For the Cake  

  • 3 3/4 cups AP Flour
  • 3 tablespoons Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure Vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • The Frosting Recipe Follows

For the cake:


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 (9-inch) cake pans and line each pan with a round of parchment paper.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl
Cream the butter, sugar and oil in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beat until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla, vinegar and food coloring.
Add the flour mixture to the batter in 3 batches alternating with the buttermilk, mixing well after each addition. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool on a baking rack for 15 minutes before removing the cake from the pans. Let cool completely before frosting. Slice each cake into 2 layers and frost.


  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
Combine the cream, milk, vanilla bean and seeds in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove the vanilla bean and discard. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened to a paste, about 2 minutes. Scrape into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 2 hours.
Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat until the mixture is very fluffy and the sugar is totally dissolved, about 6 minutes. Add the cold paste, a few tablespoons at a time to the butter mixture and whip until light and fluffy.

And BTW...There must be something about Red Velvet cakes and cooking with Nieces... This was my sous chef, Brian, also my niece who visited me while I lived in St Thomas last year.  This was our Easter Red Velvet Cake (decorated with Peeps).

And even my version at the top of the page, that cake was actually made by my wife, with me assisting.

Red Velvet CHOCOLATE CAKE... the family cake!

So, if I have tweeked your interest in Rainey and her The Project Table Blog , head on over and say HI for me!

And for a quick look at what she blogs, click on the logo link image to the right.  You will see all the eRecipeCards that Rainey has submitted to  You can add her recipes to your eRecipeBox (once you have a free account).

See how useful the site is and how easy it is to find new favorite bloggers!

These posts continue to highlight bloggers and recipes that I have found on  ""..


  1. A STUNNING cake and a WONDERFUL post and it is so nice to see your family and your photos! That cake is just amazing......fabulous!
    A HUGE congratulations to Number 16, Andra of the Brighter Side of Gluten ~ enjoy that book!

  2. Ahhhh Dave... It takes a lot to make me blush and I'm tellin you right now I'm blushing at the wonderful way you honored me today! My blog really is a slice of my life, what a great way to put it Dave. You have such a way with words... and food. Thank you so much for showcasing me and my blog! Can't wait to see you in October! Have you thought about what we are gonna cook?

  3. That cakes looks beautiful! I have one of those cake gadgets, that I'm sad to say I have never used :) Maybe I need to actually use it now!

  4. Isnt it great .So you have a plain white cake and so you have explosion of colours.And taste;)Aren't you like to have such a pretty nieces:)

  5. Your blog is beautiful.
    I love the recipes and photos that you do.
    I'm your followers now.
    If you want, visit my blog, you are welcome!
    The Magic Pumpkin

  6. Thank you for the introduction to Rainey! I went to her blog and intend to keep reading it, looks like a great place to visit!

    On the cake, you did better than I did! I tried making a checkerboard cake and it fell apart on me! The worse part is I was making it for someone else and waited too long to make it and then had to BUY one! lol. I'll try again some day when I am more awake....I made that cake at 4:30 AM!

  7. Hi..I came to ur site via the Friday Potluck link. The checkered cake looks beautiful!! Awesome!!

  8. now that is a fun cake, and a fun post too - just wanted to say thanks for your friendship, I have been busy with work, no days off so I am way behind on many things, like posting to erecipecards and with the football contest starting up, whoa....
    Doug, I want to know if there is a way for folks to utilize in this weekly series... let me know what you think and I will add it to the 'playbook'

  9. Mmmm cake! Love it! Thanks for sharing at Church Supper!
    Everyday Mom's Meals

  10. Great idea...Love that the kids got involved too! Would love to have you link up to Turning the Table Thursday sometime. Oh and I stumbled your post...hopefully it brings in some viewers!

    Around My Family Table

  11. As we say here - WA WA WE WA !!!
    What a beautiful cake !!

    BTW - I've never seen the tricky pan that you showed here, and would love to know if I can order it from the USA

  12. Great post! I am absolutely going to go check out her site. You are SOOOOO thorough, Dave! Thank you so much for linking your post up at Savvy HomeMade Monday!