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Wilton Checkerboard Cake Set Review  

My daughter and son-in-law love to hike in the mountains, year round, even in the snow and ice.  Brrrrr!  Even while she was pregnant!  She wanted a wilderness theme for her baby shower.  I made her a Lumberjack plaid cake for her baby shower.  We cut out cardboard rings and used them as guides to cut the cake layers.  It was tricky, but the cake turned out beautiful.  

She said she'd like to make many more plaid cakes for her husband and son in the years to come,  so I recently bought the special Wilton checkered cake pans to make it easier.  I tried it out for my sister's birthday cake this week.   

I got the 9" round Wilton checkered cake set.  It actually takes three batches of cake batter.  That came as a surprise as it does not warn on the box.  I wanted pretty white, pink and lime green squares, so I made key lime, strawberry velvet and plain white cakes.  

The directions say to set the insert in a pan, fill the center ring, then the middle ring, then the outer ring.  Then you are to lift the insert divider straight up.  When I did so, it created an incredible suction and a lot of batter came up with the insert with each layer.  Then you wash it and do the next layer until all three layers are done.  When baked and leveled, only one layer showed all three color rings.  That made me think it unlikely there would be a three color checkerboard when it was sliced.

I had enough batter left over for nine cupcakes.  I dumped a dollop of each color into each cupcake liner and it turned out so pretty when eaten!  I topped them with Buttercream Frosting, sprinkled them with yellow and pink sanding sugar and topped them with gum paste daisies.

The bag you see is individually wrapped Almond Sugar Cookies topped with Marshmallow Fondant.  I think they were gorgeous!

I also had yummy leftovers from leveling all three layer tops, that could be used to make cake pops! 

I liked the pic on the box the set came in, so I used it as a jumping off point.  I decided it could be fun and funky to scatter some daisies on it for whimsy.  A row of fondant balls finished the bottom.  (Love my pedestal from Home Goods - what a happy place that is!)

For this cake I made a batch of marshmallow fondant, edible glue, 3 cakes, 9 cupcakes, 29 gum paste daisies, 260 fondant circles and 12 fondant curls.  I also made a batch of buttercream frosting for between layers and crumb coating.  Fortunately I had some gum paste left from the last batch I made.  I did have a few circles and daisies left over.

Then for the moment of truth...would it be checkered?

Nope!  As a set to make a checkered cake, it was an utter fail, but I think the results of my fail were gorgeous and oh my it tasted wonderful with those three flavors!  We think that suction is what caused this pattern.

My opinion after using this set is that one would do much better baking a different color batter in each of the three pans and then pressing the insert into it to cut the circles, as it DID NOT make a checkered cake at all.  A plaid would also have utterly failed.  I have not tried pressing it into a baked cake to cut rings and do not know it would work.  Perhaps using it as a guide to cut rings with a knife might be another option.  It was helpful having the three pans so it could be done in one baking.  I have not returned it for that reason. 
This was my second fondant/gumpaste cake and the first I had actually "draped". 

In case you too are new to this...let me share what I learned on my first one and save you some grief.

When I made my first fondant/gumpaste cake, I wanted the entire exterior to be a beautiful embossed roller pattern, but it only imprints a limited area.  I opted to cut a circle for the top and then measured the height of the cake and cut a band for the sides.  Using edible glue, I joined the sides together, then attached the top to the sides and worked it gently with my fingers to hide the seam.  It looked gorgeous! 

The next day was another story. It was perfect when I went to bed, but in the morning, it had all these lumpy ripples!  In researching on line, I found that apparently my layers had settled, which then made the fondant too "tall" causing the ripples.  I set it on something to elevate it, gently smoothed the wrinkles down and trimmed the excess off the bottom.  It was almost as good as new.

This cake was my first chance to try out many of the things I'd been learning about, so it's a mix of many things.  I do not like the ribbons on it and they weren't extremely successful anyway, but I did like how it looked when I piled all the gumpaste flowers I'd made on top.  They were also my first attempts.

This cake, my second fondant/gumpaste cake, was the first I "draped".  This is how I did it:

I love the results.

I hope you found this helpful and it saves you some grief.  Fondant/gumpaste was a bit intimidating to me at first, but no more.  I wasn't very good at making buttercream flowers and turned to this as an easier - hands on way to make them.  My treats are not only delicious now, but pretty too. Thanks for stopping by and have a fantastic day!

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