GBBO Showstoppers: Chess Board Cake

Oh blog dearest, how I have missed you.  First of all allow me to explain my absence.  If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you’ll understand why I have been so darned quiet. For the last few month I’ve been the busiest I have ever been in my whole life.  I opened a cake shop named Pet Lamb in the heart of Newcastle with my best friend and partner in crime, this would be enough to keep any normal person occupied but not me.  While pouring all of my heart and soul into my fledgling business I have also been spending every second I had away from the shop writing my book.  To say it’s been tough would be a massive understatement but I battled through and I made it through to the other side.  My manuscript is now in the hands of my publishing house and the shop is thriving and growing every day.  I am a very lucky girl indeed!

Now, onto the main event, cake!  You’d think that being a baker by trade I’d be sick of the sight of sponge, I’m not.  Not even slightly, if anything the shop is pushing us harder to keep coming up with new and fresh ideas.  When I was asked if I’d like to receive a copy of the new GBBO Showstoppers book I jumped at the chance.  Show stopping cakes are just what I need for some delicious inspiration.  Upon my first flick through the book this Chess Board Cake caught my eye.  It looked so impressive and so complex but reading through the recipe I was surprised at the simplicity behind it.  

This is the perfect conversation piece that will have people gasping with delight.  Take this darling to a party and you’ll have everyone believing your a baking extraordinaire.  Only you will know how simple it really is.

Chess Board Cake
(From GBBO Showstoppers)


350g butter, at room temperature
350g caster sugar
3 tsp vanilla
6 eggs
350g self raising flour
pinch of salt
50g cocoa powder
4 tbs milk


300g Dark Chocolate

300g Whipping Cream


Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C and line 3 eight inch pans with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar together for several minutes until creamy.

Add the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary.

Sift in the flour and salt and fold by hand to combine. Put half the batter in a separate bowl and sift in the cocoa powder and two tablespoons of the milk. Stir in 2 tablespoons of milk in the vanilla batter.

Put the two batters into separate piping bags. Pipe a ring of chocolate around the outside of two of the tins, then pipe a ring of vanilla. Keep alternating until the pans are full. In the third pan start with the vanilla first.

Bake for 22-25 minutes (12-15 minutes for a small cake). Run a knife around the edge of the cakes and invert onto a cooling rack.

To make the ganache heat the cream until near boiling and pour over the chopped chocolate.  Leave for a few minutes then fold the mixture until all of the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth and glossy.  Leave to cool until spreadable and use to fill and frost your cake.


  1. Louise
    September 18, 2012 / 5:05 pm

    Looks fab, gong to try this, hope it's not too tricky! You make it sound so

  2. FancyBaker92
    September 18, 2012 / 5:50 pm

    You have no idea just how excited I was when I saw a new post on your blog! I've really missed it :)Sometimes I wish I lived in Newcastle, just so I could visit your shop.The cake looks delicious, I may just have to bake this soon.Sophiexxxx

  3. Daniëlle
    September 18, 2012 / 6:31 pm

    Congratulations on your shop and book! The cake looks delicious, love the cake standard as well!

  4. SaraG83
    September 18, 2012 / 8:27 pm

    My God, it's wonderful!!!

  5. Claire
    September 19, 2012 / 9:32 am

    Katie what you have been up to lately sounds awesome. I really wish I lived closer so I could visit the shop as the pictures I've seen look incredible!Glad to see you back with an amazing cake! x

  6. Jacqueline
    September 19, 2012 / 9:32 pm

    It really is a showstopper. Beautifully excecuted Katie. I am so pleased for all your good news, although I know all the hard work behind it. Lovely to have to back in blogland 🙂

  7. Harriet
    September 23, 2012 / 6:14 pm

    That cake look amazing!Good luck with all your new endevours, I have no idea how you fit it all in!

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