¼ cup butter
1 ¾ cups sugar
3 tablespoons sugar cane syrup (not corn syrup)
1 tsp. vanilla
4 tbsp. vegetable shortening
2-3 tbsp. sour cream
¾ cup cocoa powder
1 ¾ cups unsifted all-purpose flour (in Colorado, I like unbleaced Hungarian High Altitude Flour)
¾ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 ¾ cup milk (2% or higher for texture and flavor
7-8 pecans for grating and decorating.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Generously grease and flour two 9 inch or three 8 inch round cake pan. Cream butter, shortening, sugar, syrup, vanilla, and sour cream until fluffy. Add eggs one at time and beat for 20-30 seconds each.
In a separate bowl combine cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Carefully whisk together. Add alternately with milk to batter. Combine well, but be sure to start at lower speed when adding these final ingredients.
9 inch pans bake for 30 -35 minutes, and 8 inch pans, bake for 35-40 minutes. Be sure to check for doneness with a toothpick as oven temperatures differ. Let cool for 10 minutes, and remove from pans. Let cool down for another hour before decorating with the icing of your choice. For this photo, I have chosen a chocolate buttercream icing. Once the cake is iced, you may decorate as you choose. Here, I simply grated 4-5 pecans and arranged the rest in a floral pattern.