For the red velvet cake
Preheat oven to 170°C.
Grease, line and flour an 11 inch cake tin.
Combine sugar and oil in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until well combined.
Add eggs one at a time and make sure you beat well after each addition. and scrape down sides of the mixing bowl. Add food colouring and vanilla essence on low speed.
In 1⁄4 batches, slowly start to add flour and cocoa, alternating with the buttermilk until all combined.
In a small bowl mix the baking soda and white vinegar. Now add to the mixture, beat for one minute on medium speed to combine.
Pour cake into tin and bake for about 35 minutes. Test to see if cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake – if it comes out clean it is has cooked properly.
Leave cake to cool in tin for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
(Remember if you tripled this recipe, you will have cake mix for three cake tins!)
For the cream cheese frosting
Beat icing sugar and butter in an electric mixer with paddle attachment until sugar and butter have combined. Add cream cheese and beat for a further five minutes. Don’t over beat!
How to assemble a layer cake
The instructions below are for if you are choosing to triple this recipe and make a tall cake as pictured! If you are making just one cake, unstacked, simply ice the exterior of the single cake as desired.
If you really want to get into it and create super fancy tall cakes (like the one pictured!), some essentials I suggest you invest in to make decorating your cake easier include a good serrated knife, a rotating turn table, offset spatula in several sizes and a bench scraper. The instructions below assume you want to stack 3 individual cakes with cream cheese icing between each layer.
Place a bit of icing on your turn table and place your first cake on top of it.
With a serrated knife trim the domed top off your cake layer to make a flat surface, gently spinning the table as you cut the top of your cake to ensure it is flat and even.
Using your spatula, cover the top of your first cake evenly with a good amount of your icing, extending the icing a little over the edges of the cake.
Place your next cake on top and gently press it to make it level. If you find your cake is not level you can always bump it up with some of the cake left over from when you trimmed it.
Begin the process again with your third cake, adding a generous layer of icing and stacking your final layer on top.
Once all three cakes are stacked, spread the stacked tall cake with a small amount of icing all over. This is called a crumb coat and makes sure that all crumbs are sealed in.
Refrigerate the cake for 15 minutes, and then use all remaining icing to generously coat the cake. Place icing on top first, slowly rotating the turntable until the cake is covered. Use a bench scraper to smooth the sides of the cake and remove excess, slowly rotating the turntable to give you the slightly uneven look as pictured above.