Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease two 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil, 1 cup of buttermilk, 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon of red food coloring, and 1 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Don't overmix the batter.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and smooth the tops with a spatula.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat 8 oz of softened cream cheese and 1/2 cup of softened unsalted butter until creamy.
Gradually beat in 4 cups of powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until smooth.
Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
To assemble the cake:
Place one cake layer on a cake plate or serving dish.
Spread a layer of frosting on top of the cake layer.
Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting and spread frosting on top and around the sides of the cake.
Decorate the cake with additional frosting, if desired.
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