Serves: 8Hands-on: 30 minutesTotal: 1 hourDifficulty: Medium
- 2⁄3 cup plus 2 1⁄2 cups sugar, divided
- 2 1⁄2 cups cake flour
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1⁄2 tsp. salt
- 1⁄2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 1⁄2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
- 2 egg whites
- In a heavy skillet, melt 2⁄3 cup sugar over low heat, stirring constantly. When a dark brown syrup has formed, remove from heat and slowly add 2⁄3 cup boiling water. Return to the heat and stir until the caramel syrup is completely incorporated, then boil to reduce to 1⁄2 cup. Let cool.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease 2 round cake pans (9 inches).
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, cream the shortening with an electric mixer until light and creamy, then gradually add 1 1⁄2 cups sugar, creaming thoroughly. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, and then the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with 3⁄4 cup water, a small amount at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Add 3 tablespoons of the caramel syrup. Beat the batter very well for 4 minutes. Pour into the prepared pans.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then turn out onto racks to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the frosting: Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and corn syrup in a saucepan. Cover and bring quickly to a boil. Uncover. Boil until a candy thermometer registers 240°F. Remove from the heat. In a bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Pour the sugar and corn syrup mixture in a slow, thin stream into the egg whites, beating constantly. Add 1 1⁄2 teaspoons caramel syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks form and the frosting can be spread, about 6 minutes.
- Frost the cake layers with the frosting.