Devils Food Cake for Brian's Birthday

This is the oldest cake recipe I have.  I got it from a childhood friend who was a couple of years older than I was but our husbands were friends when we were first married and this was an old family recipe their family made for birthdays.  I have made it many times for birthdays and other occasions.  I have always appreciated Pansy sharing it with me.  Brian requested it for his birthday diner tomorrow.

The ingredients are:
2 C. granulated sugar
3/4 C. shortening (half stick margarine and half Crisco)
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 C. buttermilk or 1 C. milk plus 1 T. vinegar dissolved
2 t. soda
2 1/2 C. sifted all purpose flour
1 t. salt
1/2 C. sifted cocoa
1 C. boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour  3, 8" pans.
Cream room temperature fats and sugar, add unbeaten room temperature eggs, one at a time beating after each addition.  Add vanilla to milk.  Sift dry ingredients together.  Divide flour mixture into 1/4ths and buttermilk mixture into 1//3rds.  Start with flour and add to batter alternately with milk beating after each addition.  Add boiling water all at once and stir well getting everything mixed off the bottom and sides.  Divide into the prepared baking pans evenly.  Bake 30-35 minutes until done, testing for doneness with a pick.  Cool 10 minutes and remove from pans.  Cool on racks.

1/4  C. flour
1 C. milk
Mix flour and milk in a heavy bottomed pan and cook stirring constantly until if forms a thick paste.  Remove from pan to a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate till cold.

Using a large glass bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer mix together:
1 C. powdered sugar
1/2 C. crisco
1 stick margarine (1/2 C.)
1 t. vanilla
Beat this until it turns very white probably a good 5-6 minutes.  Add the cold flour mixture and beat untill if becomes very white and very fluffy.  Probably another 5-8 minutes.  I use the whipping attachment for this icing recipe.  The frosting is not a sugary stiff icing.  It is more like whipped cream.  Very light and not overly sweet.

Notes about this cake and frosting:
Do not substitute butter for margerine in the frosting.  It will NOT turn out as the butter melts because of the prolonged beating this recipe calls for.

Using an off set spatula makes icing any cake easier.

If you use bamboo skewers plunged directly down the center of the top center of a multi layer cake you will never have to worry about the layers sliding.  I generally put 3 skewers down the center through all the layers before I frost the top and sides.  You can cut them with a kitchen shears to the correct height and cover them with frosting.

Unlike most recommendations I put the amount of frosting I think I will need on the top of the cake in a mound then I frost the sides and return to do the top last.  My reasoning is I am better able to be sure to get everything covered with the wiggle room this method leaves me,

This makes a nice tall showy cake and is really moist and flavorful.  We really like it a lot.  It is worth making.

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