2 ¼ cups (350g) all purpose flour
2 ¼ cups (450g) granulated sugar
1 ¼ cup (100g) cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 c /250g /16 T unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ½ cups (350mL) buttermilk (buttermilk powder with water is an option if you can’t find liquid buttermilk at your grocery store!)
2 tsp vanilla extract
Of note...you'll need a kitchen scale if you want to measure ingredients in grams.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar. Turn mixer on low speed and allow it to mix for a couple minutes to help everything combine well (or sift the ingredients together). Add in the softened butter until it’s well incorporated into the dry ingredients and no lumps of butter are visible.
Next, add buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla together and whisk until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until no dry ingredients are visible. Scrape down the bowl and beat for another 20 seconds.
Fill the three pans evenly - I find a kitchen scale helpful for this part, and each of mine weighed out to about 550g. Bake for 30-35 min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow cake layers to cool for 10-15 minutes on a wire cooling rack before removing from pans, and cool completely before frosting. Set in the fridge or freezer to accelerate the cooling process if desired.
While you’re waiting, make your filling and frosting!
Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
8 oz (one package) cream cheese, softened
16 Tablespoons (two sticks) butter, softened 6-7 cups powdered sugar
2-4 Tablespoons milk
1 T clear vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt (if using unsalted butter)
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter; slowly add in powdered sugar alternating with milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Add vanilla and salt if needed and beat until well combined.
- 1 8- or 10 -inch cardboard cake circle (I prefer Wilton’s center-punched circles) or an 8” acrylic cake disc (I started using these so I wouldn’t waste so many cake circles!)
- about 1 ½ cups raspberry jam or jelly
- Large piping bag & tip – I use this set of reusable large bags & tips more than almost any of my others!
- Pink Americolor food gel
- Pink sprinkle mix of your choice! I actually couldn’t find a mix I loved at the store I went to, so I bought four small packs of sprinkles and made my own mix!
- Cake leveler, cake turntable, offset spatula, and bench scraper - not all 100% necessary but incredibly helpful!
Once your cakes are cool, level them (if needed/desired). This can be done with a cake leveler or a large serrated knife and a ruler. Place a smear of frosting on your cake circle (to keep the cake from sliding while you decorate it) and center your first cake layer in the center of the circle. Spread the layer with frosting.
For the cake filling, I’ve had issues with liquid from very soft fillings seeping into the cake – hate that; you lose filling thickness, your frosting can bulge, AND you can get soggy cake layers! I pulled about ½ cup of my frosting from the bowl and mixed it with about ¾ cup of raspberry jelly to make my base filling, then piped a frosting border to keep everything inside, and then added a second (about ¼ cup) layer of raspberry jelly on top of that. You could just fill with just either of those two if you’d like, though!
Repeat the process with your remaining cake layers.
Now you're ready to crumb-coat . If you're unfamiliar with crumb-coating, it's just what it sounds like – spreading a thin layer of frosting over the entire outside of the cake to keep crumbs out of your final layer.
Once your crumb coat has set (this takes about 5-10 minutes in the fridge), add your final layer of frosting and smooth. I like to use an offset spatula and bench scraper for this part. Once your cake is covered, place it into the fridge or freezer to set the frosting.
Onto the fun part – decorating! Creative liberties encouraged here; I started with a rim around the base of the cake and then pulled some of the larger sprinkles up onto the sides. A dab of pink food gel coloring inside my piping bag colored a rim of frosting swirls around the upper edge of the cake, and then I covered the top of the cake with what was left of my sprinkle mix.