Prepare three 8″x2″ cake pans with cake goop or another preferred pan spray. Preheat your oven to 335ºF (168ºC). Bring your butter, milk, and eggs to room temperature. It’s really important when making a cake for the ingredients to all be slightly warm so they create an emulsion.
Heat the water until it’s simmering and then combine it with your cocoa powder.
Stir it until the cocoa powder is moistened. It will look lumpy, but that is normal.
Set it aside and let it cool while you prepare the cake batter.
In a separate container, combine 3/4 cup of the milk and the oil together and set it aside.
In a separate container, combine the remaining milk, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract together. Whisk it to break up the eggs, and then set it aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with the paddle attachment. Mix for 10 seconds to combine everything.
Add your softened butter to the flour mixture and mix on low until the mixture resembles coarse sand (this takes about 30 seconds). This style of mixing is called the reverse creaming method, and it will result in a very velvety, moist cake. A lot of my other cake recipes like brown butter cake and white velvet buttermilk cake use this method.
Add in your milk/oil mixture and mix it on low until the dry ingredients are moistened.
Increase the speed to medium (setting 2 on my Bosch Mixer, setting 4 on a KitchenAid) and let it mix for 2 minutes to develop the cake’s structure. If you don’t let your cake mix on this step, your cake could collapse.
Scrape your bowl and then reduce the speed to low.
Add in your egg mixture in three batches, letting the batter mix for 15 seconds between additions.
Scrape down the sides again to make sure everything has incorporated.