This is the recipe I modified from several different sources. The major change I made was using half cake flour and half all-purpose. If you only have all-purpose flour on hand, simply use that. The cake flour adds a little more lightness but isn't enough to compromise the texture of the cake.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweeted cocoa powder, sifted
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups hot water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8-inch-round cake pans with a spray oil or two dozen muffin tins with paper liners.
Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and, whisking by hand, stir to combine. A few lumps are expected. Pour the batter into your pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes for round cake pans or 14 to 18 minutes for cupcakes. When the cakes are done, a toothpick inserted should come out clean.
Let cakes cool completely on a wire rack before icing or cutting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
2 8-ounce containers of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 stick of butter, softened to room temperature
3 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon vanilla
Combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, whipping until the two ingredients come together and are light and fluffy. Slowly add powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, making sure to start the mixer off on a slow speed and gradually increase so you don't kick the sugar out of the bowl. Finally, add vanilla and mix to combine. Spread or pipe frosting over cooled cakes or cupcakes.