For The Cake:
2 ½ cups (310g) all purpose flour plus extra for dusting pans
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick/113g) unsalted butter softened
1½ cups (300g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup (8 ounces, 225g) buttermilk
¾ cup (180ml) vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons red gel food coloring
For The Cream Cheese Frosting:
¾ cup (1½ sticks, 170g) unsalted butter softened
12 ounces (1½ blocks, 340g) cream cheese softened
5 cups (650g) powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (double cream in the UK)
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease three 9-inch cake tins with shortening, and dust each pan with 1 tablespoon of flour.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a separate large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and blend together with an electric mixer on low speed. In a third bowl, pour the buttermilk, oil, vinegar, vanilla extract, and red gel food coloring, and whisk together briefly.
Pour the buttermilk mixture into the creamed butter and eggs, along with half of the dry ingredients. Blend together with an electric mixer on low. When just combined, add in the rest of the dry ingredients. Continue mixing on low until all the ingredients are well combined.
Pour the batter into the cake pans about halfway full, using a digital kitchen scale to make sure amounts are equal. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick put in the center comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans onto a cooling rack. Leave the cakes to rest until completely cool. While the cakes are cooling, in a large bowl cream together the softened butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer.
Gradually add the powdered sugar until it is all combined and mixed smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream and the vanilla extract, and blend until smooth.
If the frosting is still thick, add the last tablespoon of heavy whipping cream. Put the cream cheese frosting in a piping bag with a large round piping tip.
On a large plate, cake stand or platter, pipe a dollop of frosting in the middle. This will keep the bottom layer of the cake from sliding around.
Place one layer of the cake on the plate. Pipe the cream cheese frosting on top in a circle, continuing into the middle until the entire top surface is covered in frosting. Spread out the frosting with a spatula, then repeat with the second and third layers.
Using a spatula or a knife, spread a thin layer of frosting on the sides. Refrigerate the cake for 10 to 20 minutes. Spread on the rest of the frosting on to the sides of the cake. Decorate with red velvet crumbs, extra cream cheese frosting, or sprinkles. Serve and enjoy!