Preheat oven to 350°. Spray cake pans with cooking spray and place parchment paper on bottom. If making cupcakes place cupcake papers into a cupcake pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt.
In a separate bowl (or in your mixer) cream together sugar, egg, softened butter, and vanilla extract.
Add half of the dry ingredients to your creamed mixture and mix just until Incorporated.
Slowly add in your liquid (water or coffee).
Add remaining dry ingredients to mixer and mix until all the ingredients are incorporated (do not over mix).
Divide cake batter evenly into your prepared cake pans.
Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (see recipe notes for approximate times).
Cool for 10 minutes, then remove cakes from their pans and finish cooling completely on a wire rack.