Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray two 9" cake pans with cooking spray, line with cut-to-size wax paper on bottom, and spray top of wax paper. Set aside.
In a bowl whisk together flour, salt, and cocoa. Set aside.
In a large bowl beat together sugar and oil until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the food dye and vanilla and beat well. Alternate adding the flour with the buttermilk, until both are mixed throughly.
In small bowl mix the baking soda with the vinegar (it will bubble up and expand so make sure your bowl has room). Add to the batter and beat for 10 seconds. Divide the batter between the two cake pans.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until cake tester comes out clean. Cool cake in pans for a few minutes and then turn onto wire rack to cool completely.
Add sugar and cinnamon with water to a large sauté pan and heat over medium heat until sugar begins to melt. Add pecans and stir with a silicone spoon until pecans are well coated with sugar glaze. Add vanilla and stir. Transfer pecans to a parchment lined baking sheet to cool. Break apart as pecans cool.
Mascarpone Whipped Topping:
In a large bowl beat together the cream cheese, mascarpone cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth.
Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
If using a stand mixer, switch to a whisk attachment, gradually add the heavy cream, and whip until frosting is thick, about 3-5 minutes.
Cut cake into large chunks and place 1/3 on bottom of trifle bowl. Top with 1/3 of mascarpone frosting and 1/3 candied pecans. Repeat 2 more times. Store in refrigerator.
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