Checkerboard Chiffon Cake

checkerboard cake

I baked a checkerboard cake for my husband’s birthday.  Since he loves chiffon cakes, I thought putting two flavors in one cake would be a good idea.  The first time I made this cake, the chocolate flavor overpowered the orange flavor and both cakes did not rise too much (I used a recipe for an 8″ cake but divided half of the ingredients for the orange cake and half for the chocolate cake).  I also realized putting two cakes in the oven at the same time had also cause the cakes to not rise properly.  So I made some adjustments – (1) increased orange zest to 2 tbsps to enhance the orange flavor, (2) bake a full size cake for each flavor, and (3) bake one cake at a time.  This time the cakes came out beautifully.

Ingredients (makes two 8″ checkerboard cakes):

Orange Cake Chocolate Cake
6 Egg whites 6 Egg whites
105g Caster sugar 70g Caster sugar
1 tsp Cream of tartar 1 tsp Cream of tartar
6 Egg yolks 6 Egg yolks
30g Caster Sugar 35g Caster Sugar
80g Cake flour 70g Cake flour
1/8 tsp Salt 1/8 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking powder 1 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Vanilla extract 1 tsp Vanilla extract
50g Olive oil 50g Olive oil
80ml Fresh orange juice 90ml Non fat milk
2 Tbsp Orange zest 25g Unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions for making the Orange Chiffon Cake, please click here.

Directions (for Chocolate Chiffon Cake):

  1. Preheat oven to 340 °F.
  2. Separate egg whites and egg yolks.
  3. Mix egg yolks and 35 g sugar until well combined.  Add in olive oil, milk and vanilla extract, mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder.
  5. Sift in cocoa powder and flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture, mix well to make sure there are no lumps.  Set aside.
  6. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.  It is best to begin at a slow speed and gradually move up to high when beating.  Add cream of tartar to stablize the egg whites.   After mixing well, add 70 g of sugar in three batches, about one-third at a time, and beat well between additions.  Continue to beat until the egg whites are stiff and glossy.  Don’t over beat it, overbeaten whites look lumpy and watery.
  7. Gently fold-in half of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture and repeat the same with the remaining egg whites.
  8. Pour mixture into an 8″ tube pan and bake in the preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes.
  9. Remove the cake from the oven and invert the pan immediately.  Let cake cool completely.
  10. Remove the cake by running a thin-bladed knife around the pan, angling the knife towards the pan to try to get the full crust on the cake.

Assemble Cake:

  1. Before assembling the cake, place both cakes in the refrigerator to chill so they will be much easier to cut into circles.  I used a cake leveler so they will all be even.  Bear in mind this is a chiffon cake, unlike the regular buttery checkerboard cake, it is harder to cut through as the cake is super soft and fluffy.
  2. Use a sharp knife to remove the top thin layer of the cake (picture 1)
  3. Also trim off the edges with a knife (picture 2).
  4. Cut the cake into 2 to 3 equal layers with a cake leveler (depending on how thick your cake is) (picture 3)
  5. I did not make this cake with a special pan that has dividers so I cut out circle templates.  I used an 8-inch cake pan, so my circle templates were 6″, 4″ and 2″) (picture 4)
  6. Put the biggest circle on top of your cake and use a sharp knife to cut around the rim, repeat this cutting process with the remaining circles.  (picture 5)
  7. Lift slowly and remove the cake pieces.  (Picutre 6)
  8. Start your layers on a cake plate or stand.  I started with the cocolate flavor first, don’t forget to frost the edge of each ring.  (Picture 7)
  9. You will alternate the colors for each layer, creating a target shape.  Remember to frost the edge of each ring.  (Picture 8)
  10. Once you have assembled the first layer, spread frosting on this layer. (picture 9)
  11. Now assemble the second layer which will have the opposite colors (orange flavor first).  (picture 10) Repeat Step 10.
  12. You can make a cake with four, five or six layers.  Each time you just alternate the colors for each layer.  (picture 11)
  13. To decorate the cake, apply frosting all over the cake.  (picture 12)  The whipping cream frosting recipe is below.

Checkerboard Cake

How to make whipping cream frosting:


2 Cups      Heavy Whipping Cream
2 Tbsps     Powdered Sugar
2 Tbsps     Vanilla Instant Pudding


  1. Whip the heaving cream with medium speed until it’s smooth and firm, add powder sugar and whip for another 1-2 minutes.
  2. To make the cream more firm, add Vanilla Instant Pudding and whip for 1-2 minutes.


The tube pan has a hole in the middle.  I saved some batter and poured into a 3″ springform pan and bake separately (do this for both flavors).  These small cakes are used to fill the middle part of the checkerboard cake.