1 cup shortening (butter-flavored Crisco)
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch Processed type)
1 ounce (2 tbsp.) red food coloring
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk (not powdered)
2-1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
For Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
10 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped and melted
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound cream cheese (not fat free), chilled
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Light cream, half-and-half, or milk (not fat free), if needed
For The Cake:
Cream shortening, sugar, and eggs. Make a paste with cocoa and food coloring; add to creamed mixture. Mix salt and vanilla with buttermilk and add alternatively with flour to creamed mixture. Mix baking soda and vinegar and fold into mixture. Do not beat. Bake in two 9-inch layer pans, greased and floured, at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans on cooling racks for 20 minutes before turning out of pans. Invert cakes on to cooling racks, and let cool completely. Put first layer on a plate, spread frosting over this layer, put second layer over frosted bottom layer. Frost top and sides of cake.
For The Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until soft and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, vanilla, and salt and beat at low speed just until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 1 minute; avoid overbeating, which makes the cream cheese too thin and runny. Using a rubber spatula, clean the beaters and scrape the sides of the bowl whenever necessary during beating. Add 1 cup of the powdered sugar and beat at low speed just until incorporated. Add the remaining 2 cups powdered sugar and beat just until smooth and spreadable. Stir melted chocolate into mixture.
Note: Add a little cream, half-and-half, or milk if the mixture is too thick.
Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days; return to room temperature and rebeat if necessary to achieve spreading consistency before using. Makes about 4 cups.
Cake makes 10-12 servings.
Date: October 26, 2002