My sister suggested I create a ‘KitKat cake’ for the ‘K’ of my challenge, to celebrate her last day in her job before she moved on to pastures new. I thought the idea of a KitKat cake would be great, but wanted to make this creation memorable for more than the chocolate wafer fingers that lined the outside of the cake, so I delved back into my Hidden Surprise Cakes book and found an impressive recipe for a chequerboard cake.
Although this cake involves two batches of oven cooking as there are four sponges (unless you have a double oven), it really wasn’t as time consuming to make as I expected it to be. I’ve included the detailed instructions before on how to make the cake. It was surprisingly simple to compile the sections of the cake to create a chequerboard effect, but it is important to make sure you wait for the sponges to cool completely before cutting into them and re-ordering.
My sister, who openly admits she prefers manufactured cakes to homemade creations, sent me a text on her last day of work to say she loved the cake, and so did her colleagues, which was fantastic to hear as I’d not been able to cut into the cake to check the effect inside before handing it over to my sister. Apparently, comments my sister received from her colleagues were “does she do this for a living?” and “she should really go on Bake Off!” Praise indeed!
Have you seen the inside of this cake? That’s the high point; it really blows a lot of people’s minds, trying to work out how to achieve this effect and the truth is, it’s really simple to do so!
You really need to make sure the cakes are cooled completely before cutting shapes into them and maneuvering them, as i mentioned above. I wasn’t very delicate when lifting some of the rings, so they split in half (oops) but I managed to salvage them. The frosting helped to stick them back together!
For the chocolate sponges:
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 225g self-raising flour
- 225g unsalted butter
- 225g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk
For the orange sponges:
- 225 self-raising flour
- 225g unsalted butter
- 225g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
For the frosting:
- 175g plain chocolate
- 100g unsalted butter
- 100ml double cream
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease two 7-inch round sandwich tins (I used two 8-inch tins).
- To make the chocolate sponges, mix together the cocoa powder, coffee granules and hot water in a small bowl to make a smooth paste. Set aside. Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the butter, sugar, eggs and milk. Beat with a hand held electric mixer for one to two minutes until smooth and creamy, then beat in the cocoa paste.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until risen and just firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Clean tins, then grease again.
- To make the orange sponges, sift the flour into a large bowl and add the butter, sugar and eggs. Beat with a hand held electric mixer for one to two minutes until smooth and creamy, then beat in the orange juice.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins and bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until risen and just firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- Place the chilled cakes on two large boards. Using a 6cm round metal cutter, stamp out a round from the centre of each cake and carefully remove.
- Then, using a 12cm cutter or saucer as a guide, cut a ring of sponge from each cake. Very carefully separate and remove the rings, leaving four outer rings of sponge.
- Re-assemble the cakes, swapping the chocolate and orange sponge cakes and rings so you end up with four sponge cakes that look like targets.
To make the frosting:
- Put the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water, and heat until the chocolate and butter have melted.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and stir the mixture until smooth. Leave to cool for 2-3 minutes, then stir in the cream. Leave to stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes, then chill in the fridge for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick enough to spread.
- To decorate, spread a thin layer of frosting over one of the sponge cakes and top with a second alternate sponge cake. Repeat to stack up all the layers neatly, making sure you alternate the sponges as you go to ensure a chequerboard appearance when you cut into the cake.
- Spread the remaining frosting around the sides and over the top of the cake.
- Line the outside of the cake with individual KitKat fingers – I used four two-finger KitKats from the following flavours for this cake: Chocolate orange, dark chocolate, cookies and cream, and toffee treat.