Special equipment: a cake stand
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. Line the pans with parchment paper circles, then butter the parchment.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and fine salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
Beat the butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale yellow and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the buttermilk and vanilla until just combined, about 1 minute. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans. Bake the cakes until golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let them cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely, about 2 hours.
For the frosting: Meanwhile, beat the confectioners' sugar, butter, milk, kosher salt and strawberry extract if using in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping the sides as needed, about 5 minutes.
Add 1 cup of frosting to each of 2 different bowls. Use the red gel food coloring to color one bowl of frosting the same color as the strawberry sticks. Color the second bowl of frosting slightly lighter than the first one. Cover all 3 bowls tightly with plastic wrap until ready to use, pressing the wrap against the frosting.
Assemble the cake: Cut each cake in half widthwise with a serrated knife so that you have 4 cake layers that are the same height. Place one cake layer onto a cake stand and spread with the dark pink frosting, then top with another cake layer. Spread the light pink frosting over the top of that layer and top with a third cake layer. Spread 1 cup of white frosting over the top of that layer and top with the last cake layer. Cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining white frosting.
Arrange the biscuit sticks vertically around the cake, side by side so they are touching, with the pink ends facing down. Entirely cover the top of the cake with the sprinkles and serve.
When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)
Copyright 2017 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved.