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Grease and flour the pans, or spray with Baker's Joy or the equivalent.
Cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pans.
Grease and flour, or spray, the parchment paper in the bottom of the pans.
Whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl
Sift those whisked-together dry ingredients into another bowl.
Combine all the wet ingredients, except the water, in the mixer bowl.
Mix the wet ingredients on low speed until they reach a consistent, uniform color.
With mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a handful (big spoon) at a time.
Mix just until the ingredients are combined and the batter is a uniform color.
Boil the water.
With mixer on low, slowly pour the boiling water (so you don't cook the batter) into the mixer bowl. The final batter will be thin.
Weigh the batter, divide by three, then pour equal amounts into the prepared pans. Or, if your spatial intelligence is better than mine, eyeball it.
Place pans on center rack of preheated oven and bake for about 40 minutes. ChefSteps says the cakes are done when they reach an internal temperature of 205°. I use a thermometer, but a toothpick that comes out clean is a reliable test.
Bring the sugar and water to a boil.
After it's boiled, let it sit on the counter until the cake layers are ready.
When the syrup is room temperature, stir in the alcohol (if you add when the syrup is hot, the alcohol will cook out, and we certainly don't want that).
Remove from oven and slam on the counter to get rid of air bubbles in the cake. Don't be afraid.
Allow cakes to cool completely before removing from pan.
Working one layer at a time, flip the layer onto a plate or cardboard cake round.
Remove the parchment paper stuck to the layer.
Brush the layer with the syrup.
Frost the layer with whatever frosting you want.
Start over with the next layer, until all three layers are stacked on top of each other.
Finish frosting the cake.