2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
3 oz. red food coloring
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and cut pieces of parchment paper to fit into bottom.
2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
4. Make sure you have cake pans nearby. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Yes, it will fizz! Add it to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Working quickly, divide batter evenly between the 2 cake pans and place them in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. But check earlier than that to see if done.
5. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. To remove the cakes from the pan, place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, then gently lift the pan. Peel away the parchment paper. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting with cream cheese icing (recipe below).
NOTE: *Sift cake flour once before measuring, then sift again with the other dry ingredients per recipe instructions.
Cream Cheese Icing
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter room temperature
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl. With a handheld electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla. Beat, on low speed to combine. If too soft, put in the fridge for about 10 minutes before using.