Intro: Tetris Checkerboard Sponge Cake
My boyfriend and I love being creative and doing projects together so when we saw there was a 'Game Life' competition we decided to combine our passions (baking - me, gaming - him) and write this instructable on how to make a Tetris Checkerboard Sponge Cake. By the way this is also a great date night/day idea if anyone is looking for something more exciting and fun then just dinner....plus added bonus is a delicious sharing dessert ;-) (*also would be great family activity)
When I heard the words 'Game Life' it just made me think of how much gaming has changed during my lifetime. From the good old days of board games with solid physical pieces to the world of technology and playing everything through a screen. We therefore decided to join these 2 passages of time in our cake design using a classic chess checker board design inside the cake which is taken over by the computer world of Tetris on the outside.....
So what do you need to make this yummy gaming masterpiece you ask -
1) Enough cake ingredients to make 1 vanilla and 1 chocolate sponge cake - I used this great all in one recipe https://charlotteslivelykitchen.com/birthday-cake-... and then just replaced some of the flour with cocoa powder for the chocolate sponge. I baked my cake in a 30x23 tin but if yours is a slightly different size use the handy calculator here https://charlotteslivelykitchen.com/birthday-cake-... to get the right weights.
2) Equipment - Scales, Baking tin, pallet knife, rolling pin, sieve, mixing bowl, fork, spatula, Stanley knife, baking parchment, cling film.
3) For decorating - Jam (your favourite flavour), Vanilla buttercream (recipe from https://charlotteslivelykitchen.com/easy-vanilla-buttercream/), black fondant icing, various colour fondant icing (we chose neon colours for brightness)
Step 1: Bake Your Cakes
Using the recipe mentioned in my introduction make 1 vanilla and 1 chocolate rectangular sponge cake.
This recipe is easy to do as an all in one mix if you have an electric food mixer however if like me you like making cakes in the old fashioned by hand way then here are a few tips:
- Melt your butter in the microwave for 30secs/1min or leave out at room temperature for 1hr to soften before adding to the sugar
- Sieve your flour in to the creamed butter and sugar mix BEFORE adding your eggs. This will then reduce the risk of the mix splitting and will also stop you from over beating the mix and losing all the air bubbles created by the eggs
Step 2: Construct Your Checkerboard Cake
Firstly make sure that both cakes are fully cooled down before attempting this construction or the cake will be soft and fall apart.
Make a paper rectangle template in order to be able to cut out 'layers' from your cake. The template should sit roughly in the middle of your cake mine was 25x15cm with a smaller 20x10cm in the middle of that.
Cut around the larger rectangle first on both cakes being sure that you dont cut right through to the edge of the cake as you want to make sure your outer 'shell' stays intact (see images above). Then cut down your template to the smallest rectangle and again cut this out of the cake.
You should have 3 individual pieces cut out of each cake.
You will then need to use your favourite jam to line the inner edge of each piece. Then reconstruct the completed rectangles but alternating the flavours of the cakes, ensuring the layers stick together using the jam. Once this is complete you will then need to lay one cake on top of the other to form 2 layers with alternating colours.
This may sound complicated but its absolutely worth it for the end checkerboard result and with 2 people it can be fairly straightforward.
Step 3: Buttercream Decorating Fun
Now to start the decorating fun....
To get a nice finish to the cake and help the fondant icing stick you will need to completely ice the cake in buttercream icing. The recipe for this is in my introduction but essentially it is a whole lot of butter and icing sugar and if you dont have a mixer it needs a serious amount of arm strength.
You will need to cream the butter and icing sugar together until it reaches a smooth icing texture...if doing it by hand take turns to show off your biceps and alternate who does the mixing until you get a creamy consistency.
I like to put a large dollop of buttercream in the middle of my cake first then use a pallet knife to spread this out evenly to the edges.
Use the pallet knife to then spread icing around the edges and sides to get a smooth finish.
Step 4: Fondant Decorating Fun
Now to be creative....
Roll out the black fondant icing until it is large enough to cover the top of your cake. I like rolling out my fondant on to cling film as this makes it easy to flip onto the cake without it sticking onto any surfaces but make sure you use a little icing sugar on your rolling pin to prevent sticking.
Once you have laid the black layer on to your cake use a Stanley knife to go around the edges and cut off any excess icing so you have a neat rectangular shape.
To make the Tetris blocks use small balls of the coloured icing. Roll this out to a suitable size then using a Stanley knife and a ruler measure out your blocks, we did 2cm squares for each block and used a different colour for each classic Tetris shape.
You can then start building up your Tetris board in whatever pattern or design you want. Using a pastry brush just lightly brush water on the area of black fondant you want to stick your Tetris block to and gently press down.
We also decided to use leftover icing to make multicoloured buttons which we stuck to the side of the cake.
Step 5: EAT!
Once complete you can use a little water to wipe off any leftover icing sugar marks from rolling the icing.
Then all that is left is to slice the cake and marvel at your brilliant skill at making a deliciously edible game.......