Independence Day Checkerboard Cake

June 25th, 2010 by Beth Somers

Summer time and the living’s easy…

You know what else is easy? The Checkerboard Cake Pan Set. I’ll admit it – I was intimidated the first time I baked with it. My first Checkerboard Cake, a tri-colored doozie, looked okay, but I fumbled around a lot getting the batter into the pans and dripping the colors into each other. Over time, I’ve learned some helpful tricks that make the Checkerboard Cake as fun as its namesake game. If you’ve never tried this pan set before, or if you’ve struggled with it in the past, give these tips a shot.

Checkerboard Cake Layers

  • Prepare and color all of your cake batter before starting to fill the pans.
  • Thicker cake batters work best because they stay in place. You can thicken lots of regular cake batters by decreasing the amount of water and adding one extra egg and a 4-serving box of pudding.
  • Fill pans close to the sink because the ring insert needs to get thoroughly washed and dried after each pan is filled.
  • Use a pastry bag to cleanly and evenly pipe batter into rings. Not comfortable with pastry bags? Use a liquid measuring cup or a bowl with a pour spout to direct the batter.
  • Grab the ring from both sides and lift it evenly out of the batter. Don’t worry if a little batter gets out of place – it won’t be noticeable in the final cut cake.
  • Uneven circles in your baked cakes? Again, don’t worry! Once the three layers are filled and stacked, it won’t be noticeable, but the checkerboard pattern will be!

Here’s a quick but impressive Fourth of July dessert. As a side note, when I started working on this cake I wanted it to be tri-colored, and used Royal Blue Icing Color to dye some of the cake batter. Although it was a perfect hue, a lot of Wiltonites laughed at it when they saw it. Sometimes blue is just not a very appetizing color! Instead of icing color, get “blue” from one of summer’s jewels – blueberries!

Red, White, and Blueberry Cake


Decorated Checkerboard Cake


  • 1 package (18.25 oz.) white cake mix, and the ingredients to make it
  • 1 package (18.25 oz.) red velvet cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 package (3.9 oz.) chocolate pudding mix
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 package (10 oz.) Wilton Vanilla Whipped Icing Mix
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries

Makes: Cake serves 20.


Preheat oven to 350°F. Place batter dividing ring into first pan; spray pan and ring with vegetable pan spray.

Prepare white cake mix following package instructions using water, oil and egg whites; set aside. Prepare red velvet cake mix by combining with 4 eggs, 1 cup water, chocolate pudding mix and vegetable oil; mix according to package instructions.

Fill each section two-thirds full as follows: red velvet batter in center and outside sections; fill white cake batter in middle section. Gently tap pan on counter; remove ring and wash well. Repeat in second pan.

Fill third pan, with white cake batter in center and outside sections and red velvet batter in middle section.

Bake 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

(Note: Use leftover batter for cupcakes, which can be frozen for later if your Independence Day guest list is small.)

To decorate: Make Vanilla Whipped Icing according to directions on the package. Assemble cake layers on Show ‘N Serve™ cake board, spreading thin layer of icing sprinkled with fresh blueberries between cake layers. Spatula ice cake top and sides with remaining icing. Garnish with more blueberries.

Beth Somers Beth Somers is the Senior Test Kitchen Manager and has taught at the internationally acclaimed Wilton School of Cake Decorating and Confectionery Art in Darien, IL. As a competitor on the Food Network's Cupcake Wars, she shined as a champion during season 6. Before joining Wilton, Beth honed her pastry skills at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago. Beth loves showing people how fun and easy it can be to bake and decorate amazing sweet treats with Wilton products.

9 Replies

  1. Carmelo says:

    I have to try that Vanilla Whipped Icing. Sounds good. How does that compare to whipped cream? Has anybody tasted it?

  2. Sue Green says:

    Thanks for all the great hints and the hint for filling the cherkeredboard cake pan with the icing bags.

  3. Marie says:

    Can I purchase extra rings for the Checkerboard Cake Pan? I have used this pan and found it very messy and time consuming. For me, I think if each pan had its own ring, It would give a much more even cake.

  4. cyndi macfarlane says:

    Hi Carmelo If you’ve ever bought a cake from a store bakery (ie Winn Dixie, Publix, Albertsons) that generally what they use to frost it. Yes it is good. The stuff we use comes in 1 quart cartons and you whip it like whipped cream, it’s stiffer than whipped cream. However I haven’t found it in any of the grocery stores for general public. We order ours through a supplier. (I am the baker at a senior retirement village)

  5. Kendal says:

    Now that looks like it would be a very delicious, moist cake. I’m going to have to make this one. I like the fact there is blueberries in the mix to keep it moist. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  6. carol williams says:

    can you get the checkerboard cake pan set in square and can you get spare inserts look forward to hearing from you

  7. […] Independence Day Checkerboard Cake – Celebrate With … – Summer time and the living’s easy… You know what else is easy? The Checkerboard Cake Pan Set. I’ll admit it – I was intimidated the first time I baked with it…. […]

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