Valentine's Day checkerboard cake with strawberry fondant decorations from Queen of Cakes
by Dawn Stevens
1 (18 oz) white cake mix
eggs, oil & water, as specified on the box of cake mix
Red food coloring
Your favorite icing recipe, or 1 can of pre-made frosting
(1) 8oz bag of strawberry flavored pink marshmallows
4 cups powdered sugar
2-3 TBLS vegetable shortening
(2) 8" round cake pans
(1) 4" round cutter
Mix up your cake mix according to the directions on the box. Divide the batter equally into 2 separate bowls. Add a few drops of red food coloring to one of the bowls, just enough to tint the batter pink. Prepare your cake pans with pan spray or parchment paper. Pour the pink batter into (1) 8" round pan, then pour the white batter into the other 8" round pan. Bake til done, cool the cake layers.
1. Working with cool cakes, level each layer with a knife, so there is no "hill" on top.
2. Use the 4" round cutter to cut a circle from the center of each cake layer.
3. Spread a little icing in the hole on the sides. Do this on both cake layers.
4. Press the pink circle into the white cake layer and the white circle into the pink cake layer.
5. Spread a layer of icing on top of one of the layers and place the other layer on top to create a 2-layer cake.
Place 8oz of strawberry-flavor pink marshmallows into a microwave-safe bowl. Add 2 TBLS water, and microwave on high for 1 minute, til the marshmallows are puffy and starting to melt. Stir with a spatula til melted, microwave 30-45 seconds more if needed. Stir til no lumps remain. Stir in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, fondant will begin to firm up. Grease your counter top with a bit of vegetable shortening, then dump fondant onto counter and knead til smooth. Wrap and let fondant rest for 30 min, or store overnight.
Roll out fondant onto a greased counter top, cut into 1.5"checkerboard squares with a knife or a square cutter. It will take 13 1.5" squares to create a checkerboard pattern on top of your 8" cake.