Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray, line with parchment paper, then spray the parchment paper as well. Set aside.
Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, water and vanilla. Mix lightly until combined.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and mixing for 30 more seconds on medium-low speed.
Evenly divide the batter into the two prepared pans (about 22 ounces in each pan) and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until ready to use. You're still going to want to level your cake layers to ensure a completely even surface for frosting and stacking.