Recipe courtesy of Ashley McMakin

Yield: 1 (9-inch) 2-or-3-layer cake

1½ cups sugar
1½ cups vegetable oil
2 large eggs
3 (1-ounce) containers red gel icing color, such as Wilton
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole buttermilk
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 2 or 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with nonstick baking spray with flour. Line with parchment paper, and spray again. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine sugar and oil, beating at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs, beating on low speed. Add gel icing color and vanilla, beating until well blended.

3. In another bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, and salt. Add to oil mixture in 3 batches, alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

4. In a small bowl, combine vinegar and baking soda, stirring to blend. Immediately add mixture to cake batter, beating at low speed to combine. (Caution: Do not combine vinegar and baking soda until just before you add to batter.) Divide batter evenly among prepared pans.

5. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 25 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on a wire rack.

6. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.