Checkerboard Cake with Ermine Frosting and Chocolate Ganache Drip



Today happens to be my elder one Rasha’s tenth birthday. Double digits… It is giving me goosebumps already. She has been excited since the beginning of the year, saying that she is going to be a teenager, but I corrected her saying she will not be one till the number changes to reflect the teen. She gave me a stare and accepted the fact that she has to wait a day shy of three years to get to that number.Β I thought as the girls grow up, it will get easier for me, however, that is not what is happening. As days pass by, I find them to be more demanding on me physically and emotionally. It makes me realize what I had thought till now was wrong. Just like every parent would do, all I can do it to tell her the way I can about life in general and make lot of du’a to the Almighty to keep her protected from the evils of life…


Since it is a special occasion, I am sharing with all of you the cake I baked for Azza’s birthday. Yes, making it’s appearance on the blog after five months, though this is earlier than most of my posts! πŸ˜‰ I was actually not planning to bake a cake that day, since I was feeling really lazy and was contemplating an outside cake. Last year, I hadn’t baked anything for both their birthdays. This time, the kids having grown up, threw her tantrums. “Ummi, you didn’t allow me to wear color dress to school (she did take chocolates for her classmates and teachers though!) and now you are not even making a cake?” She tugged on my strings and I got to baking one that night. We ate it the next day, and till date, she tells me, “We didn’t have my cake on my actual birthday.” πŸ˜€ I am wondering how both of them are going to be over the coming years, hehe…




It wasn’t a neat attempt though. My frosting skills are mediocre, at its best. The other point is I lack patience. I start off things with so much enthusiasm but towards the end, I scramble through to finish it off, hence messing up all my good starts. πŸ™ Somehow, that habit isn’t changing, I thought I would get better with age! Nobody wants to believe that I have no patience, but that is the fact. I want things to finish off soon, I want matters to settle down soon, so much that I have to whisper to myself “Sabrun Jameel” – patience is beautiful, so breath in, and breath out! πŸ˜€


Then why am I sharing this post here? The cake is amazing, it is one of the softest cakes I have ever eaten. The frosting is amazing. I am no fan of buttercream frosting. I hate how buttery and sugary it is, though that’s the way it is supposed to be! I am not sure from where I came across “Ermine Frosting”, which is also called “Flour Frosting”, due to a roux of flour used. But I loved the fact that it was less sugary and less buttery, so looked like a better frosting option for me. Sometime back, when I baked a Neopolitan Cake – another lack lustre cake though everybody loved it! – for my friends’ gathering, I first tried this frosting and fell flat for it. Whatever remained in the bowl after frosting was totally licked up by me. πŸ˜€ My friends also commented that the frosting was just of right sweetness, so I had to use it up for the cake. Then comes the chocolate drip – not a neat drip though, but I loved the milky chocolate drip, so thickly over the cake, that refused to just fall off the sides that I had to literally use a fork to drag it down. πŸ˜€


You see how messy my table looks! πŸ˜€


I haven’t used any fancy techniques to cut my cake. It was just one ramekin and one bowl to do the shapes. I didn’t cool the cake sufficiently, so they were quite soft still. Somehow, I don’t seem to get it into my mind that it is always best to cool your cakes in the fridge before cutting them and frosting them, as they become much easier to handle. Somehow I finished doing the frosting and dumped it into the fridge. Next day morning, before clicking these I did the ganache and dripping. The ganache is thick so wouldn’t drip properly so I had to draw the lines. If you remember, I had done the dripping effect on the Vegan Joan’s Cake too. πŸ™‚ We washed off half the cake as after lunch dessert and since umma was scared we would finish off the cake during the night, she quickly packed it and sent it across to HD’s staff. So basically it is called, sharing the calories! πŸ˜‰


When I cut the cake, it looked more like a leopard than checkerboard. πŸ˜‰ Then I realized I had cut it a bit off line and hence the appearance – another case of impatience here! But I assure you – it was an amazing cake… Please don’t go by the haphazard appearance. πŸ˜‰ OK, you may now be thinking what did Rasha ask me to bake! She wanted a Tiramisu and I am at it, InShaAllah. You can see I have had an Eggless Tiramisu Cake and Quick Fix Tiramisu Shots on the blog along those lines, but not a proper Tiramisu, without the alcohol, of course. So getting ready to add one more to the drafts… πŸ˜‰ But since I am mentioning this here, I hope I will feature it faster… Hehe… Off to the recipe for now, I have blabbered too much, I suppose… πŸ˜‰




4 from 1 vote

Checkerboard Cake with Ermine Frosting and Chocolate Ganache Drip

Course Cake
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8 -10
Author Rafeeda


  • 100 gm butter softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 100 gm butter softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 200 gm butter
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup cream


  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 inch pans - for the chocolate cake pan, use cocoa powder to flour.
  • For both the cakes, the procedure is the same. Beat butter and sugar till fluffy and creamy.
  • Add one egg at a time and beat well after each addition.
  • Add the vanilla and beat.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour to salt) till well combined.
  • Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat on low till moist.
  • Add half the milk and 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat again till just combined
  • Now add the remaining milk and flour mixture and beat till the mixture is all moist. Keep the beater on low and stop as soon as the cake batter is done. Do not over-beat.
  • Pour into the prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes or till skewer comes out clean when tested from the center.
  • Take out the pans, cool cake in the pans for around 10 minutes. You will see the edges moving into the pan.
  • Flip onto a cooling rack, and cool completely. Cover with cling film and store in the fridge till frosting is to be done.
  • For the ermine frosting, whisk flour, sugar and milk together in a bowl and cook on low flame till it thickens and becomes a roux. Allow it to cool completely.
  • The butter must be just soft, not too soft as for usual buttercream, hard to touch but when pressed can leave impressions. Cube them and put into a stand mixer and start beating till creamy.
  • Add the roux one tablespoon at a time and keep beating till incorporated. Finally scrape in the vanilla bean and fold in.
  • Bring the cakes to room temperature at the time of frosting. Cut them into half and set aside.
  • Using two bowls - one small and one medium sized, cut rounds from each of the halves.
  • Slather a thin layer of frosting in the inside. Overlap and keep to make four portions of vanilla and chocolate layers (like you see in the picture above). The frosting will allow it to stick to each other.
  • At the end of this exercise, you will have two portions with the CVCV format and with VCVC format. (C = Chocolate, V = Vanilla)
  • Now keep one CVCV formatted cake ring at the bottom. Slather some frosting to give it a good layer. Put a VCVC formatted cake on the top of it. Slather frosting, put the remaining CVCV, slather some more frosting and finally top with the left over VCVC cake. Be sure to handle it slowly without the inner rings coming out.
  • Crumb coat the cake (apply a thin coating) all over and allow it to rest in the fridge for an hour.
  • Take out the cake, and coat with the remaining frosting. Smoothen it out. Allow it to rest for an hour again in the fridge.
  • For ganache, heat the cream till scalding hot. Do not boil. Pour over the chocolate chips and whisk till all melted and smooth.
  • Allow it to cool till room temperature. Take out the cake, pour from the middle and using an icing spatula, spread it out on the top and allow it to drip to the sides.
  • Keep the cake for another 30 minutes in the fridge for the ganache to settle. Top with some M&Ms and enjoy!


Looking at other elaborates cakes, that the ones mentioned above? Then here are some that are already on the blog:

Eggless Black Forest Cake

Kit Kat Barrel Cake

White Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Buttercream

Mango Entremet

Join the Conversation

  1. Lots of hard work has gone in., looks scrumptious btw..

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks a lot Kalpana…

  2. Looks very inviting with ganache drip!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thanks a lot Angie…

  3. A very happy birthday to Rasha! We always think that life is gonna be better in the future, but when we do finally reach that place in future we find that life was better off in the past:P So I can imagine how tasking it is gonna be when daughters are growing older:) And the calorie sharing part I believe in that totally – ask Shibin’s colleagues and our neighbours:P I like the frosting you mentioned – may be I should try it next time. Buttercream frosting does scare me thinking of the butter that goes into it!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Ria… I guess we just go with the flow… if you are scared of buttercream frosting like me, then definitely this one is for you…

  4. A very happy birthday to your bundle of joy .Delicious bake!!!I am into baking just because of my kids .They wait whole year eagerly that mom will make a special cake on their birthday.If you can’t express your feelings just bake and frost a cake for the loving ones ….is my funda.What was your kids reaction when your mom packed off the cake ?My kids tell me before hand that the quantity of cake be so much that they enjoy next day????

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      My kids aren’t really keen on home bakes as much as they would be for bakery cakes, so you can imagine my frustration… They will eat one day and won’t eat the next day unless they really love it, so I prefer giving it off instead of adding on to inches to my tummy. πŸ˜‰ Thank you so much Nusrath…

  5. 4 stars
    πŸ™‚ I am can’t stop smiling reading till the end. Patience is a pre req for baking any cakes and a checkerboard needs more than usual dose of patience. πŸ™‚ I think Shema chechi of lifescoops has a beautifully detailed post on checkerboard cake and you should check her tips next time. I too have not heard of the frosting you used but seems very interesting and less calorie. Personally, I care less about how it looks, I would still eat them all! πŸ™‚ Hope she had a wonderful birthday! We grew up celebrating bdays with color dress and chocolates for kids and special chocolates for teachers but I think it should change for better ways. Were you the one who shared an article of how a school in some country changed the norm to keep all kids happy and free of stress and jealousy? etc?

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Patience is unfortunately not my virtue! πŸ˜• Even we had color dress and chocolates, but it stopped once we were in Grade 4. Oh did I? I don’t remember.. hehe… Thank you so much Fami… πŸ™‚

  6. Every age has its own demand…so parenthood is like that…the cake looks awesome

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Amrita…

  7. Belated birthday wishes to Rasha! Her age reminded me of my nieces when they were younger. The older one had turned 13 and the younger one was 10. But since she wanted to be a ‘teenager’ she called herself a ‘ten-ager’. The cake must have absolutely delicious. There’s so much of hard work in celebratory cakes. Frankly I’m not brave enough to test my patience in making such a cake. Hats off to you!

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Haha… I love that “ten-ager”, very smart! Thank you so much Kanak…

  8. That’s such a lovely cake everything about it ..Belated birthday wishes to Rasha…

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you so much Gloria…

  9. Good try Rafee…..yummy cake

    1. Rafeeda AR Author says:

      Thank you Fasee…

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