This cake has a wonderful surprise in the middle - it looks like a plain chocolate cake on the outside but has a chequerboard design inside! You can buy special tins to make this but it is actually very easy to make in a regular cake tin.
I made this to take into work on my birthday; I had seen these cakes in recipe books but never tried to make one before so I thought it would be a great opportunity to try to impress my colleagues!
The recipe comes from the Great British Bake Off book, Showstoppers. I did adapt it as their recipe makes a three-layer cake and I made four layers, but from the same quantity of ingredients.
350g butter, softened
350g caster sugar
3 tsp vanilla flavouring
350g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
4 tbsp milk
50g cocoa powder
for the chocolate ganache
300g plain chocolate
300g double cream
Preheat the oven to 175C. In a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar, add the vanilla then alternate adding one egg and 1 tbsp flour, mixing after each addition. Then fold in the rest of the flour and the salt and finally the milk. Now at this stage stop and transfer half the cake mixture to another bowl, and mix the cocoa powder into half the mixture.
Grease two equal-sized round cake tins (I used 9 inch). You need two piping bags with wide plain nozzles; alternatively you can use freezer bags and snip the corner off, turning them into makeshift piping bags. Put the chocolate mixture into one and the vanilla mixture into another.
Starting with the vanilla mixture, pipe a thick circle around the outside of one cake tin, then take the chocolate mixture and pipe a circle inside the first one. Continue piping ever-decreasing circles alternating colours until you have reached the centre of the tin. Do the same on the other tin, but importantly, start with the other colour - so you have one tin with a vanilla ring on the outside and one tin with a chocolate ring on the outside.
I had enough mixture to do this four times, so I had two cakes with vanilla on the outside and two with chocolate on the outside.
Make the chocolate ganache by melting the chocolate with the cream in a saucepan; do not allow to boil. Stir until the chocolate has melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool. When the ganache has cooled it will thicken; use half of it to sandwich the layers together. What you must remember is to alternate the layers so if you have one on the top with a vanilla ring on the outside, as you see here, the next layer must have the chocolate ring on the outside and so on.
Use the rest of the ganache to cover the top and sides of the cake. I decorated it with Dr. Oetker giant chocolate stars, which are brilliant - my only complaint is you don't get that many in the pack!
Stuck In The Tree is a bingo review site that is about having fun online and off; they are running a 'bakespiration' competition so I am sending them my cake in the hope they will include it in their gallery.