First preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Grease, flour and or line your baking pans to ensure the cake doesn't stick to the pan.
Mix together all of the dry ingredients with a whisk.
Add in the soft butter and oil, stir until fully combined and you have a very thick paste. You want to make sure it is combined well, but not over mixed which can give you a more dense cake.
Slowly add in the eggs to the mixture continuing to stir.
Pour in the buttermilk a little at a time and mix well.
Add the vanilla at the same time you add the final bit of buttermilk.
Then add the hot coffee or hot water to the cake batter.
Mix well until combined and then evenly transfer to your prepared cake pans.
Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes for 5 inch pans (adjust time for larger or smaller cake pans).
Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for approximately 20 minutes before removing and placing on cooling racks.
While the cakes are cooling you can start to whip up the frosting by combining all of the ingredients using a mixer (I like to use my stand mixer for this, but a regular will work too). Mix together slowly and then increase the speed. Whip the frosting on high for about 5 minutes.
If you would like some colored frosting, separate out the amount that seems right to you and color it with the red food gel. Whip again until the color is fully combined, adjust and add more coloring if you would like. I did a mixture of a pale red colored and then the natural white frosting color for my cake.
Use two different piping bags for each color to add the frosting once the cakes are completely cooled down.
I alternated white and red frosting rings for the layers between the cake. Add in the crushed candy canes as sprinkles between the layers and on the top of the cake.
Stack up the layers and then you can add completely unique detail to the top of your cake by playing with different frosting tips! I love the look of using different frosting tips on the top of the cake.
For an extra fun touch on top of the cake I added a thin line of the red gel inside the colored frosting bag so it would create marbling colors with more depth and texture.
Lastly sprinkle crushed candy canes on the top of the cake!