Checkerboard Cake

I’ve attempted to make a Checkerboard Cake two times before and both times I didn’t have much luck. The first time I followed the directions on the pan set  I have for it exactly, even following the recipe for the cake and I didn’t like the taste of the cake and my cake batter ran into each other so it didn’t look all that great when I sliced into it. The second time I opted to use box cake and while the cake tasted better I still had the issue of the cake batter running so once again not all that checkerboard looking when I sliced into it. According to the directions for the pan set you put the ring separator into the pan, pour the batter in, remove the ring and then bake. This wasn’t working for me, so on this (my third) try I opted to bake the cakes first and then use the ring separator to cut the cakes and then assemble it for the checkerboard pattern and I’m happy to say I didn’t strike out! Granted it was a bit messy to assemble but it wasn’t anything that couldn’t be fixed (or hidden) with a little frosting.

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Using Betty Crocker’s Super Moist Milk Chocolate and Yellow cake mix I prepared the cakes according to the directions on the box.

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After letting the cakes cool I took the ring separator and sliced each of the cakes into three rings.

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And then the messy part began… Assembling. As you can see some of the rings broke up a little, but like I said frosting covered up all the little imperfections. To make sure the rings of the cake wouldn’t fall apart when slicing I “glued” them together with icing along the inside of each ring.

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After covering the first layer with frosting I added the second layer and then spread frosting on it as well.

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And finally the third layer…

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I’ll admit the final product was a bit lopsided and could have used a little extra frosting (I used two containers of Betty Crocker’s Milk Chocolate Frosting to get to this point) but this was an afternoon whim of baking to see if the technique would work.

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And the moment of truth… I got a pretty decent looking checkerboard!!! The saying is true… If at first you don’t succeed try, try, try again. And I’ll definitely be trying it again with more time and frosting.

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Banana & Chocolate Cupcakes

Normally when I have a few over-ripe bananas I tend to make Banana Nut Bread, but, recently when I had a few bananas that were past their prime for eating in my opinion I decided to make some cupcakes with them instead. Following the recipe Gina’s Banana Cupcakes from the Food Network’s website I made some really moist and delicious cupcakes that weren’t overpowering with the flavor of banana.

I started off by mashing two very ripe bananas.

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I then combined my dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) and set it aside.

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To begin making the batter I creamed together butter and sugar.

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I then added in sour cream and vanilla.

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And then two eggs, which I added in one at a time.

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At this point I added in the dry ingredients to the wet mixture.

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After mixing it well it was time to finally add in the bananas.

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Once the entire banana was incorporated into the mixture I used an ice cream scoop to fill my prepared cupcake pan.

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The batter was the perfect amount for twelve cupcakes!

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After baking for 18 minutes in a 350 degrees preheated oven they were done and smelled incredible.

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I let them cool for a bit before frosting and since I was running a bit short on time I decided to take a short cut and use store bought chocolate frosting.

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Once they were cooled I frosted them using a piping bag attached with Wilton’s 1M tip to create the 1M Swirl.

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Overall… the cupcakes were absolutely delish!

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Gina’s Banana Cupcakes*

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick (4 ounces) butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup sour cream

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add the butter and granulated sugar. Beat with a handheld mixer until combined. Add the sour cream and vanilla. Slowly beat in the eggs, one a time. Incorporate the dry mixture and wet mixture together until thoroughly combined. Add the bananas, being careful not to over mix.

Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake liner three-quarters of the way full. Bake in the oven until the tops turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the oven to a wire rack and let cool before frosting.

*The original recipe included 3/4 cup walnuts from the batter which I omitted and was paired with a molasses frosting which I opted to replace with a chocolate frosting.

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