This recipe is a large batch (1.5x) of go-to chocolate layer cake recipe! It's perfect for making a 10 inch cake with 3 layers, or for a small tiered cake (8 inch, and 6 inch tiers)
Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line pans (either 3, 10-inch pans, or 4 8-inch and 6-inch pans for a tiered cake) with parchment rounds, and spray with non-stick spray.
Add the sugar and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk on high for 1 minute. The mixture should become light in color.
Add in the eggs, one at a time. Then add baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix on high for another minute.
In a separate bowl, combine the cup of hot water, and cup of buttermilk. Pour in the cup of black cocoa, and whisk until no clumps remain.
Next, add 1 cup of flour into the butter /egg mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula, to ensure the flour is fully incorporated.
Pour in half of the buttermilk / cocoa mixture, and gently pulse the mixture to incorporate the liquid (if you don't, you'll end up splattering the cocoa mixture all over you kitchen!
Please learn from my mistakes :P. Mix in the 2nd cup of flour, at a medium speed. Pour in the remaining buttermilk / cocoa mixture, and again gently pulse, then mix on low until fully combined.
Add in the last cup of flour, and mix on low until the flour is incorporated. Mix on high for 30 additional seconds, to incorporate a bit more air into the batter.
Evenly divide between the four prepared pans. I like to use a kitchen scale to ensure each pan has exactly the same amount of batter.
Bake according to the size of pan. For 10 inch layers, bake for 40 minutes. For 8 inch layers, bake for 32-33 minutes. For 6 inch layers, bake for 30-32 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Allow layers to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around the edge of the pans to help separate the layers from the pans.
Place the pans in the freezer for about 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process. Once the layers are fully cooled, carefully flip the pans and remove the layers.
Use a serrate knife to level the tops of the layers, and then frost as desired.
Note #1: This recipe will just barely fit into a 4.5 quart kitchen aid mixing bowl! It's quite a stretch to make it fit, but it is doable. Just be sure to mix your ingredients at a slow speed, to avoid any overflow of ingredients or batter. This is the absolute maximum amount of batter I can make at one time. If I need to make a double batch of cake batter, I make two separate batches.
Note #2: If making 10 inch cake layers, I highly recommend placing a flower nail upside down in the center of your pan! This will help the cake layer bake more quickly and evenly.