Ready in 45 minutes
Things that are important to know about this recipe:
1) the vinegar-baking soda mixture is what makes it rise. This is a delicate leavening method because it does not last long. Get the vinegar mixture into the batter quickly and gently and get it in the oven FAST, or you will have a heavy cake.
2) Cakes from scratch have to be timed carefully in the oven because they're not "failproof" like box mixes. Start checking it with a toothpick 10 minutes before the given time and after that every 3 to 5 minutes until the toothpick comes out mostly clean.
3) The flour paste for the frosting must be cooked until it forms a mound that stays in the middle of the pan, and it must be cooled to room temperature but never chilled. The butter and sugar must be beaten for at least 10 minutes before adding the flour paste, to eliminate sugar grit.
4) You must frost a COMPLETELY cool cake; beating warm frosting or frosting a warm cake will produce a runny, oily frosting. Follow these instructions and the recipe *will* turn out. It is a good recipe with no errors.
Grease two 9-inch round pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Make a paste of cocoa and food coloring. Set aside.
Combine the buttermilk, salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the cocoa mixture.
Beat in the buttermilk mixture alternately with the flour, mixing just until incorporated. Stir together baking soda and vinegar, then gently fold into the cake batter.
Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To Make Icing:
In a saucepan, combine the milk and flour. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Set aside to cool completely. Cream together butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, then stir in the cooled milk and flour mixture, beating until icing reaches spreading consistency.
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