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Checkerboard Recipes

Inspired by our colour scheme in sisterMAG issue No. 64, food photographer Carole Poirot has created and photographed delicious chessboard recipes for us: Battenberg Cake, Matcha Checkerboard Cookies & Roasted Beetroot, Sweet Potato & Feta Salad. Enjoy!

Checker Boards Recipes

by Carole Poirot

Battenberg Cake
gluten free & dairy free 


  • 175g vegan block (butter, Natruli’ works really well), plus extra for greasing
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 175g gluten-free selfraising flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Around 4-5 drops red food colouring

To finish: 

  • 100g apricot jam
  • 350g ready-made, white marzipan
  • 2–3 tbsp icing sugar, for rolling

Preparing the batter: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
  2. Grease a 20cm square cake tin with butter.
  3. Take a 30cm x 20cm strip of baking paper and make a 8cm fold in the centre. This will create a division in the cake so that the two differently coloured sponges can be cooked at the same time.
  4. Line the tin with the baking paper, keeping the division in the centre.
  5. Put the butter and sugar into your mixer bowl and whisk until creamy.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk for two minutes after each, then add the vanilla.
  7. Add the flour spoon-by-spoon and mix until combined.
  8. Pour the batter to a bowl set on scales, remove half of the batter and put it in a second bowl.
  9. Add a couple of drop of red food colouring to one bowl and fold it into the batter until the colour is uniform. To make the colour more intense, add another couple of drops.
  10. Spoon the cake batters into each side of the prepared tin and smooth.
  11. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  12. Cool in the tin for five minutes, then carefully turn them out onto a wire rack.
  13. Leave until completely cold.


  1. To assemble the cake, place the sponges on top of each other and trim off the crusty edges so they are both the same size.
  2. Cut the pieces in half lengthways to make four long rectangles.
  3. Warm the apricot jam in a saucepan.
  4. Brush the long side of one of the pieces with jam and sandwich together with a piece of the second colour. Do the same with the other two sponges.
  5. Sandwich the two pairs of sponges together like a checker board.
  6. Place the marzipan on a surface dusted with icing sugar and roll into a rectangle of about 40cm x 20cm. It should be large enough to wrap the cake completely, leaving the ends exposed, and be about 3mm thick.
  7. Brush the top and sides of the cake with jam.
  8. Turn the cake upside down on the marzipan and brush the underside with jam.
  9. Wrap the marzipan around the cake, pressing it gently onto the surface of the sponges, and press the edges together to make a firm join.
  10. Turn back over so that the seam in on the bottom.
  11. Serve with a lovely cup of coffee.

Matcha Checkerboard Biscuits
gluten free & dairy free 


  • 350 g gluten free plain flour plus extra for rolling
  • 1tsp xanthan gum
  • 225 g vegan block (Natruli’ is the best one)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk save egg white for below
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • 2tsp matcha powder

Egg White Glue: 

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp cold water

For the Batter: 

  1. In a bowl, mix together the flour and xanthan gum
  2. In a stand mixer use the paddle attachment to beat the vegan block/ butter on a high speed until soft and creamy.
  3. Add the caster sugar and beat until combined and creamy.
  4. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and continue beating at high speed until combined.
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again to combine for about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the flour to the bowl and beat on low to combine. The dough will be thick and sticky.
  7. Weigh the dough and divide into half. Wrap one half of the dough in cling film and form it into a rectangular block.
  8. Add the matcha powder into the second half of dough still in the mixing bowl and beat on a low speed until combined.
  9. Wrap the dough in cling film and form into another rectangular block.
  10. Freeze both doughs for 45 minutes (if you’re using dairy butter, you can chill it in the fridge!).


  1. Place two levellers about 12cm apart.
  2. Roll out each dough into rectangles about 12cm wide, 20cm long and 1.2cm thick.
  3. Use a ruler to mark 1.2cm across the dough and then slice into 1.2cm strips.
  4. You should get about 10 strips for each dough (you’ll need 9).
  5. Mix the egg white and tablespoon of water.
  6. Place a green strip next to a plain one.
  7. Brush the sides with the egg white mix, then gently press together.
  8. Place another green strip next to the plain one brushing with egg mix before pressing them together.
  9. Brush the top with egg mix.
  10. Place a green strip on top of the plain one and plain ones on top of the green ones always making sure to brush the sides with egg mix.
  11. Make a third layer by now placing a plain strip on top of the green one and two green ones on top of the plain ones.
  12. You should now have a long log with green/white/green at the bottom, white/green/white in the middle and green/white green at the top.
  13. Make the second log with the colours in reverse (so white/ green/white at the bottom, green/white/green in the middle and white/green/white on the top)
  14. Carefully wrap the logs and freeze for another hour.
  15. Preheat your oven to 170 C. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
  16. Take the logs out of the freezer and, using a sharp knife, slice them into around 1cm thick slices.
  17. Bake for 20 minutes or until very lightly browned on the edges.
  18. Once done, leave the biscuits to cool on a wire rack.

Roast Beetroot, Sweet Potato & Feta Salad


  • Around 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 6 medium beetroots
  • 400g Feta cheese
  • Extra virgin olive oil for brushing and drizzling
  • Salt & pepper
  • Lemon juice for drizzling
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley

How it is done: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 C.
  2. Cut the sweet potatoes and beetroots into about 1.5cm cubes.
  3. Arrange the cubes (half beetroot, half sweet potatoes) on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
  4. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bake the for 45 minutes.
  6. Take the beetroot and potatoes out of the oven and leave to cool completely.
  7. Cut the feta cheese into cubes about the same size as the vegetable cubes (they will have shrunk a little in the oven)
  8. Now arrange the cheese and vegetables in a pattern on a (preferably square or rectangular) plate making sure not to have two of the same next to each other.
  9. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice on top and garnish with the parsley.