This made-from-scratch versatile cake recipe can either be stacked in layers or be made into a checkerboard pattern. The cake is airy yet does not fall apart when cut and manipulated. While the checkerboard cake is visually more fun, a layered cake can be more elegant. The decadent chocolate frosting is really the cherry on top, taking the cake to a whole new level!
Beat egg whites and 1/2 cup sugar until stiff.
In separate bowl, mix egg yolks, remaining sugar, vanilla sugar, oil and orange juice. Sift in flour and baking powder. Fold into beaten egg whites.
For chocolate layer, add cocoa and coffee.
Pour into lined cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Freeze for two hours.
Bring first five ingredients for cream to a boil over double broiler. Cook over low heat for five minutes. Cool.
Cream margarine and eggs until fluffy. Combine with chocolate mixture. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Cut each cake in half, crosswise. Frost each layer sparingly.
Stack all four layers, alternating colors. Trim edges.
Follow instructions for Layered Cake. Cut four layered cakes in half, crosswise. Cut each cake into seven strips lengthwise.
Place first strip on its side and frost. Place second strip onto the first, turning over to alternate colors. Frost.
Repeat with third and fourth strips. Frost top and sides of cake. Repeat with second half of cake.
Photography by Tamara Friedman