As with frosting any cake, refrigerating it so it is completely chilled will ensure a much easier frosting experience. For this cake, I suggest refrigeration before you do the crumb coat and before you pipe the final layer. I use one, 9.5 c container of my Vanilla-Bean Buttercream frosting, which I then tint as needed. This will make a four-layer cake.
1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
2 cup cake flour
food colors desired (see note above)
Prepare 4, 6″ round cake pans by spraying them with Bak-klene or butter/flour – preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together – then add eggs one a time until incorporated, followed by the buttermilk. Add baking powder, soda, salt and vanilla bean paste – stirring to combine. Add cake flour and mix until batter begins to look creamy.
Divide batter evenly into three bowls, AND one prepared cake pan (this will be your uncolored layer). To the first bowl add a tiny amount of desired color and stir to combine with a fork. Scrape into one of the prepared pans – set aside. In the second bowl, add a larger amount of color so your next batch is more vibrant, stirring with a fork to incorporate. Scrape into one of the prepared pans – set aside. In the third bowl add a larger amount of the color, adding more if necessary – so it is a level darker than the last, stirring with a fork to combine well. Scrape into one of the prepared pans – set aside.
Place prepared pans into preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until tester comes out clean. You may need to move pans around if your oven has hot spots. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes, then invert cakes out onto rack to cool completely. Wrap with plastic wrap and place into refrigerator to chill fully. Remove from refrigerator when you are ready to ice layers together and put on crumb coat.