Blueberry-vanilla checkerboard cake

By Jessica McGovern
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Blueberry preserve:

  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) blueberries
  • 1/2 tablespoon (7.5 milliliters) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) lemon juice


  • 1-1/4 cup (300 milliliters) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2-1/2 cups (600 milliliters) sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) vanilla
  • 4 cups (1 liters) cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 milliliters) salt
  • 1-1/4 cup (300 milliliters) milk
  • Blueberry preserves (see above)
  • 10 drops (10 milliliters) blue food colouring

Vanilla buttercream:

  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups (1 liter) icing sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (10 milliliters) vanilla


  1. To make the blueberry preserves, add blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice to a saucepan and simmer. Stir to break up fruit. Cook until mixture is reduced. It should be thick and syrupy. Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). To make the cake, cream together butter and sugar in a bowl. Add the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla and beat in. In a separate bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder and salt. Gradually mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Gradually mix in the milk. Divide batter in half. Into one half of the batter, fold in the blueberry preserves and ten drops (ten milliliters) of blue food colouring. Pour plain batter into two greased 20 centimeter cake pans. Pour blueberry batter into the remaining two greased 20 centimeter cake pans. Cook for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let cool, then remove from cake pans. Note: put cake pans in the refrigerator to speed up cooling.
  3. To make the icing, cream together butter and sugar. Add vanilla and incorporate.
  4. To assemble, level cakes. Use 15 centimeter, ten centimeter, and five centimeter circular cookie cutters to cut concentric circles out of the cakes. Spread a thin layer of buttercream on the inside ring of all circles. Assemble cake layers by alternating colours. Spread buttercream on one complete layer. Carefully place a different alternating coloured layer on top and spread with buttercream. Repeat until all layers are used up. Spread remaining buttercream over entire cake. Decorate as desired.

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