Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8 inch round cake pans or line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate - either in the microwave or in double boiler over hot water - do not melt to boiling. Let cool slightly.
In large bowl, stir shortening or butter until soft.
In medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt,
and sugar. Blend into shortening.
Add ¾ cup of milk and vanilla and mix until the dry ingredients are moistened. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape the bowl and beaters often with a rubber spatula. Add melted chocolate. Beat 1 minute on medium speed. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of milk and eggs. Mix well and beat 1 minute with mixer, scraping bowl and beaters as needed.
Pour the batter equally into the two prepared pans. Tap the pans on the counter to release air bubbles.
Place pans in oven on the rack just below the center and
space at least 2 inches apart.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until center springs back when touched or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Enjoy with frosting!
Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting
1 - 16 oz. package powdered sugar
¼ tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. milk or cream
1 tsp. vanilla
6 Tbsp. soft butter (3/4 stick)
In medium bowl, stir together sugar, salt, milk and vanilla
until rather stiff, doughy paste.
If the mixture too stiff to stir, add a ¼ tsp. of milk at a time until you can stir. Add butter and beat mixture until smooth. Spread frosting on cooled cake.
For chocolate frosting, add 1 to 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder and 1 additional Tbsp. of milk or cream.