- 3 1/3 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 6 tablespoons red food coloring
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cakes - grease and lightly flour, three 9 x 2" round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper circles (or wax paper). Cupcakes - line 2 dozen cupcake liners with paper liners. Whoopie pies - grease and flour 2 Jelly roll pans (10 ½ x 15 ½) then line with parchment paper and grease and flour again.
2. In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
6. In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts, alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
7. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.
Cakes: Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 1 hour. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.
If making cupcakes: Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
Whoopie Pies: Pour 3-4 cups of batter into each prepared pan, bake for about 10 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pan. When completely cool using a cookie cutter, cut desired shapes, layer with whipped vanilla icing or your favorite buttercream!