Please note: To make the 6 layered cake you see pictured; you’ll need to triple the cake recipe only. All other measurements are enough to fill, crumb coat and finish decorating the cake.
Preheat a fan-forced oven to 140°C / 275°F or a conventional oven to 160°C / 320°F. Spray three 20 cm (8 inch) cake tins with oil spray and line the bottoms with baking paper. Set aside.
Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt to a large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed with a hand mixer until combined.
Next, add the eggs, oil, buttermilk, vanilla and red food dye and continue mixing on low speed until everything is well combined. Scrape down the bowl and mix for a final 20 seconds on low speed.
Divide the cake mixture between the three tins. I find that using an ice-cream scoop makes it easy to distribute the batter evenly, ensuring that all three cakes will bake at the same rate.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. If the toothpick is coated with wet batter, continue baking for 10 minutes at a time until fully baked.
Allow the cakes to cool to room temperature in the tins, then chill them in the fridge overnight. Chilling your cakes overnight makes them easier to trim and decorate, so I always bake my cakes the day before I decorate them.
To trim your chilled cakes, use a cake leveller or large serrated knife to carefully trim the crust off the top of each cake. Then trim each cake in half. You’ll end up with 6 layers.
To crumb coat your cake, add a dab of frosting onto a 10” cake board or flat serving plate. Use a small offset spatula to spread the frosting around before adding the first cake layer. Gently press down the centre of the cake layer to make sure it’s stuck to the frosting underneath.
Add frosting to a piping bag and frost a ring around the top of the cake. Fill the centre with more frosting. Use your small offset spatula to smoothen out the frosting before you add the next layer of cake. Repeat with the remaining layers.
Add more frosting around the sides and top of the cake. Use the small spatula to smoothen out the top and sides of the cake, taking care to fill in any gaps in between each layer of cake.
Use a cake scraper (otherwise known as a bench scraper) to smoothen out the frosting on the sides and top. Get it as neat as you can. This should just be a neat, thin layer of frosting which is aimed at trapping any cake crumbs so that random bits of cake crumbs don’t show up on the final layer of frosting. Chill for 2 hours or overnight.
Your cake is now crumb coated and ready to be decorated any way you like!