I'd like to make a checkerboard cake for my husband's birthday. He loves biscoff/speculoos so I am going to incorporate that flavour into the icing. The cakes need to be roughly black and white in appearance and cut well. I love Nigella's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake, but what should I use for the white part of the cake?
For a checkerboard cake you need two layers of one flavour and colour of sponge cake and two layers of a contrasting cake. As the four layers are to be stacked together you need to have cakes that are extremely close in size, depth and texture. Nigella's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake (from FEAST) is a good choice for a chocolate cake and we suspect that you may be able to convert this recipe to a vanilla version to give the whiter coloured layers, though as the cake contains eggs and butter it will be yellow rather than white.
To convert the cake you would need to replace the cocoa powder but we suggest rather than using plain flour you should use cornflour (cornstach) as this absorbs liquid in a similar way to cocoa. Also both cocoa and cornflour do not contain gluten and this helps with the texture of the cake. You will need to add more vanilla and we would suggest increasing the vanilla extract to 3 or 4 teaspoons. However as we have not tested this recipe we regret that we cannot guarantee the results. The alternative would be to make a more traditional Victoria sponge cake, though the texture is different, and you would need roughly a 4 egg quantity of cake batter to fill two 20cm (8-inch) sandwich cake tins.