Here's what you NEED:
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. unsweetened Hersey's cocoa powder
2 & 1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 & 1/2 c. butter, softened
1 & 1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 & 1/4 c sugar
6 large eggs at room temperature
3 oz milk chocolate chips, melted
2 & 1/4 tsp MADAGASGAR vanilla
2 & 1/4 c well-shaken buttermilk
3 oz. [3 small bottles] red food coloring
First, Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spray 3 -9 inch round cake pans with Pam and line
bottom of each with a round of wax paper.
Spray paper and dust pans with flour, knocking out excess. NOTE: This may be stating the obvious but it took me a while to start doing it this way, so I'm sharing..... set the pan on the wax paper and gently trace with open scissor and it'll sorta perforate it so you can tear a perfect sized insert!
Mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, set aside. Beat together butter and sugars in a large bowl using an electric mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after adding each one. Add melted chocolate [which I melted in microwave a minute at a time, this small amount took 2 minutes on high, stirring mid way], madgasgar vanilla and red food coloring [be CAREFUL, it'll git ya if you're not] and beat until just combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in a few batches, beginning with flour mixture and mixing until just combined.
Divide batter between cake pans, spreading evenly, and bake until a tooth pick inserted in center of each cake layer comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Cool cake layers in pans on racks at least 10 minutes [I've left in for a while with no harm]. Run a knife around edge of each layer, then invert onto racks. Peel off paper and cool layers completely.
Make your butter cream once cakes completely cooled [I made my cakes last night and wrapped tightly in Saran wrap overnight on the counter].
HUGE shout out to Tara at Smells Like Home for this To. Die. For. butter cream recipe [which I have doubled here for our purposes]...
White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 & 1/2-5 cups powdered sugar added 1/2 cup at a time
2 tsp pure MADAGASCAR vanilla extract
8 oz good-quality white chocolate, melted – I used Ghirardelli
4 tbsp heavy cream
To make the frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until soft and fluffy then beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time; allow the sugar to mix in before adding the next 1/2 cup. Once all of the sugar has been added, beat on medium speed for 30 seconds and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the melted white chocolate and beat on medium speed until incorporated. With the mixer on low, add in heavy cream 1 tbsp at a time and beat at medium speed until the frosting has reached your desired consistency.
Now to frost.... Halve each cake
layer horizontally using a long
serrated knife [bread knife].
Layer cake, using a heaping 1/2 cup frosting between each layer, then frost top and sides with a LIGHT coat, it will get very crumbly, fret not this is our "under coat". Once undercoat on put in fridge for 20 minutes THEN ice outside with remaining frosting.
p.s. leave out the food coloring for a kick a$$ chocolate cake ANY day of the year