Chessboard Chocolate Vanilla Pudding Cake (step by step)

Chessboard chocolate vanilla pudding cake that you can easily make at home. With step-by-step instructions, this dreamy pudding cake will easily become a family favorite.


On todays menu we have homemade chessboard pudding cake – an easy and super visually effective dessert, that my kids adore. It’s made from an easy cake base, layered with some vanilla pudding – made to look like a chessboard. Kind of genius, right! Personally, I prefer to eat it with some ice cream cooled right from the fridge. This is the type of cake that usually is gone within a day in our household. It’s light, delicious and rich.

If you like quicker cakes that are similarly as delicious try my French Chocolate Peach Cake. It’s as good!


Cake base

  • Eggs, medium size – preferably free range organic eggs for better taste.
  • All purpose flour (or type 00 flour) – depending what you have on hand.
  • Brown sugar – white sugar could also be used.
  • Cacao powder – to make things chocolatey.
  • Baking powder – to elevate the cake.

Pudding filling

  • Vanilla pudding – I use Alnatura’s vanilla pudding that is organic with no added sugar.
  • Milk – whole milk, usually up to 30% fat
  • Brown sugar – just a few tbsp. to make things sweet.
  • Gelatin powder – to get vanilla pudding to be firm.
  • Chopped walnuts – for topping the cake with.

The pudding filling can be replaced with pre-made vanilla pudding from the store (like this one on amazon). Just add the gelatin powder in as described below to make it stand firm in the cake.


1st: Prepare the cake base. Once baked and cooled off, with a sharp knife cut 6 rings within the cake base that are approx. 1 cm (0,40 inch) wide. Remove the 2nd, 4th and 6th piece of cake gently. Set aside and prepare the pudding and mix it with the melted gelatin powder.

2nd: Add some of the pudding mix to the emptied cake ring space – just until the middle, so shape of chessboard cake can be made. Then, transfer previously removed cake rings back to their places, without pressing – to create levels.

3rd: Cover with remaining pudding and let cool in the fridge until pudding gets firm. Top with chopped walnuts and enjoy.

homemade chessboard chocolate pudding cake with walnut topping


homemade chessboard chocolate pudding cake with walnut topping

Easy Chessboard Chocolate Pudding Cake

Easy Chessboard pudding cake recipe with cacao powder that requires little effort, but delivers excellent results.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine European


  • 1 round cake pan 22-24 cm (9 inch.)
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • 1 small ceramic bowl for melting gelatin
  • 1 small ceramic cup


Cake base

  • 4 eggs medium size
  • 120 g (2/3 cup) all purpose flour (or type 00 flour)
  • 150 g (2/3 cup) brown sugar
  • 30 g (1/4 cup) cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder

Pudding filling

  • 2 packs vanilla pudding for 500ml (2 cups + 2 tbsp.) liquid each
  • 1 liter (4, 1/4 cups) milk
  • 4 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 sachets gelatin powder for 500 ml (2 cups + 2 tbsp) liquid each
  • 100 g (1 cup) chopped walnuts


Cake base

  • In a large mixing bowl add eggs and sugar and beat until it doubles in size on high speed. Then add flour, cacao powder and baking powder. Beat on low to incorporate.
  • Place into oiled cake pan and bake in preheated oven (180C/360F) for about 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.
  • Once cooled down, with a sharp knife make 6 circles (rings) in the cake base, each approx. 1 cm (0.40 inch) wide. Then, gently remove the 2nd, 4rth and 6th cake ring and set aside. Next, prepare filling.

Pudding filling

  • Prepare vanilla pudding according to package. OR, in a small mixing bowl add 2 packs of pudding, 4 tbsp. sugar and 10 tbsp. of the milk. Stir to combine well.
  • Place remaining milk on the stove and heat up (should be almost boiling). Slowly add the pudding mixture and stir until it gets thicker.
  • Next prepare the gelatin. Place gelatin in a small bowl, then cover with cold water. Let get firm. Then place small bowl with gelatin powder in a larger bowl with hot (nearly boiling) water. Hot water should not be in contact with gelatin, instead make water-bath to make gelatin liquid-y.
  • Next, add melted gelatin to pudding and stir. Pour some pudding mixture (I like to use a ladle) into the emptied cake rings. Cake rings should be half full with pudding to get that chessboard effect.
  • Then gently add the previously removed cake ring onto their places. Pour the remaining pudding over the cake. Place in the fridge and let sit for a few hours so gelatin sets firm. Sprinkle generously with chopped walnuts on top and enjoy.


  • I use Alnatura’s vanilla pudding available across Europe, however you can use whatever alternative you may find at your place of residence. 
  • Walnuts can be replaced with hazelnuts in this recipe
  • Cups = US Cup measurements used in recipe
Keyword Cake, chessboard, pudding
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