Add an additional 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract if you do not have almond extract.
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.
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.
This cake batter was strange. It turned out very dense, like pound cake. It has a good taste to it, but it didn't produce the type of cake I was looking for. I ended up making the Vanilla Buttercream frosting for it, which was good.