Neapolitan Checkerboard Cake with Sea Salt Buttercream
Making this Neapolitan Checkerboard Cake was a work of love for our youngest daughter’s birthday. For years she has favored a chocolate and yellow marbled cake which I affectionately referred to as confused people cake. This year she decided to up the ante and test my baking skills.
Years ago, our oldest daughter gave me a Pampered Chef Checkerboard cake pan set. Prior to this cake, I had only used it once and no longer had the instructions. Thank goodness for Google! Pampered Chef no longer lists the pan on their site so I had to find a picture of it elsewhere. In case you’re wondering why I didn’t take a picture of mine there’s a good explanation. I’m in the walking boot cast and on crutches again so going downstairs to snap a pic is out of the question.
At one point during the discussion about this cake, my daughter suggested I just marble the three cake flavors. Nope, baby wanted checkerboard and I was determined to make it for her. As you can see from the picture there is a plastic insert made of three connected circles. There’s an order that the different batters go into the insert. Oh my gosh I know I made that step harder than necessary.
The challenging part was lifting the insert straight up and evenly so that the batters stayed in place. Ha! My circles had feathered edges and initially, I thought I could smooth them out. It took all of 5 seconds for me to toss that idea and leave well enough alone. All I had to do now was stack the three layers in the right order to achieve the color pattern I wanted. Well, that didn’t go as planned, but we had a good laugh, a glass of wine and enjoyed the cake.
Just in case things went awry I used Duncan Hines French Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate cake mixes for my Neapolitan Checkerboard Cake. Having the layers out of sequence was something I could live with. Having all the scratch ingredients wasted and possibly having to start over, not so much.
With the leftover batter, I made cupcakes and sent them to work with the birthday girl.
Now about that Sea Salt Buttercream Frosting…. Absolutely Delicious!!!
Sea Salt Buttercream adapted from Lady and Pups
- 1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
- ½ + ⅛ tsp of fine sea salt (I used Fleur de Sel)
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
- 4 TBS heavy cream
- Using a fine sea salt helps to ensure that it dissolves evenly into the buttercream.
- As an extra precautionary step, melt it into the heavy cream first over gentle heat or on low power in a microwave and let it cool completely adding it in the last step.
- In a stand-mixer with pedal-attachment, add the unsalted butter and fine sea salt then beat on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.
- Add the vanilla extract and 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time.
- Sifting it first removes any lumps and gives it a smooth finish.
- Whip until smooth before the next addition of powdered sugar.
- Then, whip in the heavy cream and beat until smooth for at least 4-5 minutes.
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