Orange and Chocolate Checkerboard Cake

Orange and Chocolate Checkerboard Cake

Where it all began – the Checkerboard Cake!

Our journey began watching television!

As a family we sat watching a cooking show on TV, and as we watched contestants on the show struggle with collapsing cakes and failing frostings, our then 10 year old son decided that he too would like to attempt to make a checkerboard cake!


He googled the recipe and I gathered ingredients and that very weekend we managed between us to create a near-perfect replica of the orange and chocolate checkerboard cake we’d seen on the TV show.

Like every proud mother I showed my Facebook world just what my amazing son had achieved and, before we knew it, he was getting orders from friends and family to make this spectacular treat for birthdays and parties all over the neighborhood.

This, coupled with his propensity to wear checked shirts, quickly earned him the title of the “Checkered Chef.”

Fast forward a couple of years and we now have a family business selling top quality kitchen products around the world!

The chocolate orange checkerboard cake is very impressive and actually a lot easier to make than you might think.  It simply involves baking 2 orange cakes and 2 chocolate cakes, cutting them into rings and assembling them with layers of delicious chocolate ganache in between.

There are special kits you can buy to cook your cakes into rings but, quite frankly, we tried one of these and it didn’t work – much better results are achieved by cutting the cake into rings after baking.
Scroll to the bottom of the page to watch a video and see how easy it is.
Here is the recipe we use:

Orange and Chocolate Checkerboard Cake


For the Orange Cakes

  • 2 1/2 cups of self-raising flour
  • 1 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups of milk
  • 100 g 3.5oz of melted butter
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • red and yellow food dye

For the Chocolate Cakes

  • 2 1/4 cups of self-raising flour
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa
  • 1 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups of milk
  • 100 g 3.5oz of melted butter
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • a few drops of parisienne essence

For the Ganache

  • 375 g 13oz of butter
  • 45 g 1.5oz of brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup of boiling water
  • 600 g 22oz of chopped dark chocolate


  • Serious bakers out there will probably have their own ideas of the best way to make the mixture for the cakes but, I can honestly say that this very simple method is the way our Checkered Chef does it and we’ve had great results every time.
  • Preheat oven to 160°C (320°F).
  • Grease and line 2 round cake tins - ours are 8” diameter and 2” deep.
  • Place all the ingredients for the orange cake into a large bowl or benchtop mixer. Use hand held electric beaters or benchtop mixer and mix until smooth and glossy.
  • Divide the orange cake batter evenly between the 2 tins.
  • Put them in the oven for 40 minutes (turn cakes halfway through baking time).
  • Repeat the whole procedure with the chocolate cake ingredients.
  • Once all 4 cakes are cooked and cooling on your Checkered Chef Cooling Rack start making the ganache:
  • Place the butter, sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
  • Take saucepan off heat and stir in chocolate.
  • Transfer mixture to stainless steel mixing bowl and put in freezer until spreadable - check and stir mixture every 10-15 minutes
  • When cakes are cool cut off the pointed tops and cut around the template
  • When the ganache is spreadable use the ganache and cake rings to assemble the cake
  • Start with a chocolate center, cover the edges in ganache. Place an orange middle ring around the chocolate center and cover the edges with more ganache. Finish the layer with an outer chocolate ring.
  • Smother the top of the layer with ganache then build the next layer by starting with an orange center.
  • Repeat until cake is 4 layers high and all pieces have been used.
  • Finally cover the whole cake with remaining ganache
  • Decorate with more chocolate if desired.

Looking for an even easier way to make a checkerboard cake? Check out this great idea for an amazingly simple checkerboard cake here.