Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177
degrees C). Grease, or spray with a non-stick vegetable spray, a set of three 9
by 1 inch (23 x 2.54 cm) checkerboard cake pans, line with parchment paper, and
then grease and flour again. Set aside.
Melt the chocolate in a stainless steel bowl
set over a saucepan of simmering water.
In a separate bowl
whisk together the 4 large eggs, 1/3 cup (80 ml) of milk, and 1 tablespoon pure vanilla
extract. Set aside.
In the bowl of your electric
mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and beat to combine.
Add the butter and remaining 1 cup (240 ml) milk and beat on low speed until the dry ingredients
are moistened. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the egg
mixture to the flour mixture and beat to
incorporate the ingredients.
Divide the batter in
half, placing each in a separate bowl (in one of the bowls have a little more
than half the batter). Stir the melted chocolate into the smaller
amount of batter until it is thoroughly combined. Fill two
large pastry bags, fitted with large round tips (about 3/4 inches (2 cm) in diameter,
one with the
chocolate batter and the other with the white batter.
Place the divider rings
in one of the prepared pans and pipe batter into each section, alternating batter colors
(for example - outer and inner ring yellow, middle ring chocolate). The batter
should fill the pan about half full. Using the back of
a spoon, smooth the batter. Now carefully lift out the
divider. Wash the divider before placing in the next pan. When piping batter for the second layer, alternate the
colors, i.e. if you started with yellow for the outside ring, start with the
chocolate. Pipe batter into the third pan exactly like the first pan.
(Note: You will end up with two pans having the same color pattern and one
Bake about 20 minutes or
until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean and the cakes spring
back when pressed lightly in the center. The cakes should start to shrink from
the sides of the pans only after removal from the oven.
Be sure that you do not overbake this cake or it will be dry.
Let the cakes cool in
the pans on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a knife or spatula
and invert onto a greased wire rack. To prevent splitting, reinvert so
that the tops are up and cool completely before covering with Ganache.
Note: When stacking
the layers of the cake, make sure the bottom and top layer are the same pattern
so you end up with the checkerboard pattern when you cut the cake.
Place one layer on a
cake circle (top side of cake down on the cake circle so you get a nice flat
top) and put on a wire rack. Spread with a thin layer of ganache (you want
a very thin layer of ganache so it does not interfere with the checkerboard
pattern). Place the second layer (top side down) on top of the first and
spread with another thin layer of ganache. Top with the last cake layer
(top side down). Pour the rest of the ganache on the top of the cake and
with a spatula gently spread the ganache so it drips down the sides of the cake.
Use leftover ganache to cover any missed spots. Once the ganache has set
gently transfer the cake, using a large offset spatula, to a platter or cake
Store 2 days at room
temperature or 5 days refrigerated although this cake is best eaten the first
Adapted from Cake Bible
by Rose Levy Beranbaum