1. Beat sugar and butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until yellow disappears after each addition. Beat in vanilla and almond extracts.
2. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl; add to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at medium-low speed just until blended after each addition. Beat 1/3 cup hot water into batter just until smooth. (Batter will be thick.) Use immediately.