for the cake
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 ounces red gel 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
for the frosting
12 ounces (1 1/2 packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners sugar
Also: 2 cups bittersweet chocolate shavings
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Liberally grease (or use cooking spray) 2 8-inch spring form cake pans.
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.
In the mixing bowl of your stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-4minutes. 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. Note: if you have never made red velvet cake, the color is shockingly red… it’s supposed to be that way, obviously.
In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Yes, it will fizz! Add it to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Fill cake pans approximately 2/3 of the way full and bake cakes for 38-40 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pan for 30 minutes, then release from spring forms and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting, cream the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. When the cakes are cool, frost generously sprinkle and sprinkle with chocolate shavings. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.