Lemon Elderflower Chess Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place a parchment sheet to line the bottom of an 8×8 cake pan and grease the sides. Using aluminum foil, create an 8 inch divider. (Alternatively, grease and flour two loaf pans.)
  2. For the cake, cream the butter and sugar in a bowl for 5 minutes. Add sour cream + lemon juice + eggs + lemon zest + vanilla and whip for 2 minutes. Gradually sift in the flour + baking soda + salt and mix well.
  3. Divide the batter equally into two bowls. In one of the bowls, fold red food gel coloring in small amounts until you get a red color.
  4. Transfer the batters into each side of the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes and let it cool on a wire rack until its completely cold, at least an hour.
  5. Make the syrup by combining equal parts simple sugar and elderflower liqueur. Set aside.
  6. To make the buttercream, whip the butter in a bowl for 5 minutes until it is an airy pale yellow color. Add the lemon zest and whip until its well-incorporated. Sift in the powdered sugar in batches and you will have a thick cream. Whip in the elderflower liqueur, a TBSP at a time. Set aside.
  7. To assemble the cake, you want to trim each of the pieces so that it is a height of 0.75″ and trim off the crusty edges. The short side of the red cake should be 3 inches and the short side of the white cake should be 3.75″. Brush the tops of the cake with the syrup mixture.
  8. Divide the red cake equally so that you have 4 rectangles that are 8″ long x 0.75″ wide x 0.75″ tall. The white cake should be divided in 5 equal pieces that are 8″ long x 0.75″ wide x 0.75″ tall.
  9. Spread the buttercream on the two long sides of a red cake piece and sandwich a white cake on either side. Spread butter cream on top of the assembled pieces. Repeat, except it will be a white cake piece sandwiched by two red cake pieces. Top with a white-red-white piece so that the cakes are sponged together like a checkerboard and spread the top and sides with buttercream.
  10. Knead the fondant on a work surface until it’s easily pliable and roll it so that it is 1/4″ thick. Trim edges so that you have a rectangle that is 8″ x 12″. Turn the cake upside down on the fondant so that the ends fit in the 8″ part of the fondant. Spread the leftover buttercream on the underside of the cake.
  11. Wrap the fondant around the cake, pressing and smoothing it gently and press the edges together and smooth out the seam. Turn the cake over so that the seam is underneath and trim a thin slide off each end before placing it on a serving plate.