Checkerboard Cake

This checkerboard cake consists of tender vanilla and chocolate cakes with a rich, creamy chocolate frosting.

low angle looking at a checkerboard cake on a cake stand with a slice off to the side on a plate
Prep Time:
45 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Additional Time:
1 hrs 25 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
1 9-inch layer cake


  • 1 (15.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix (such as Duncan Hines®)

  • 2 cups whole milk, divided

  • cup salted butter, melted, divided

  • 3 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

  • Baking spray with flour

  • 1 (15.25 ounce) package white cake mix (such as Duncan Hines®)

  • 3 large egg whites


  • ½ cup salted butter, softened

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

  • 1 (32 ounce) package powdered sugar

  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 4 tablespoons whole milk, or more as needed

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Prepare cakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) with racks in middle and lower third positions.

  2. Place devil's food cake mix, 1 cup milk, 1/3 cup melted butter, 3 large eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat at low speed, using the paddle attachment, for 1 minute until combined. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Spoon batter evenly into 2 (9-inch) round nonstick cake pans, greased with baking spray; set aside. Repeat procedure with the white cake mix, substituting 3 egg whites for 3 large eggs.

  3. Bake 4 cakes in the preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in middle comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating cake pans from front to back and between top and bottom racks halfway through baking time. Remove pans to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and cool completely on wire racks, about 1 hour. Trim the top of the cakes as needed to make sure the top is level.

  4. Prepare frosting: Beat softened butter with a stand mixer at medium speed, using the paddle attachment, until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add softened cream cheese and mix for 1 minute until combined, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Whisk together powdered sugar and cocoa in a large bowl; gradually add to butter mixture alternately with 4 tablespoons milk, along with the vanilla. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition, stopping to scrape down bowl in between additions. (If needed, add up to 1 tablespoon milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to reach desired consistency.) Increase speed to medium, and beat 1 to 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.

  5. Assemble cake: Place 1 chocolate cake layer on a cutting board. Using a 6-inch round cutter, cut out center of cake to create a 6-inch cake round; leave 9-inch cake ring intact, and remove center 6-inch cake. Using a 3-inch round cutter, cut out center of the 6-inch cake to create a 3-inch cake round; leave 6-inch ring intact, and remove center 3-inch cake round. Place the 9-inch cake ring on a serving platter or cake stand. Set aside 6-inch ring and 3-inch cake round.

  6. Repeat process with 1 vanilla cake layer to create 1 (9-inch) vanilla cake ring, 1 (6-inch) vanilla cake ring, and 1 (3-inch) vanilla cake round.

  7. Place the 6-inch vanilla ring in the center of the 9-inch chocolate ring. Place the 3-inch chocolate cake round in the center of the 6-inch vanilla ring. Spread a thin layer of frosting over layer on platter. Place 9-inch vanilla cake ring on frosted layer and place the 6-inch chocolate ring in center of thee 9-inch vanilla ring. Place the 3-inch vanilla cake round in the center of the 6-inch chocolate ring. Spread a thin layer of frosting over layer. Repeat process with remaining chocolate cake layer and vanilla cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Chill for 15 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

890 Calories
37g Fat
134g Carbs
11g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 890
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 37g 47%
Saturated Fat 20g 98%
Cholesterol 126mg 42%
Sodium 738mg 32%
Total Carbohydrate 134g 49%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Protein 11g
Potassium 394mg 8%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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