In a small bowl, stir together cocoa and boiling water until smooth; set
Cream shortening, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl until light
and fluffy. Add eggs; beat well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda
and salt; add alternately with buttermilk to creamed mixture. Blend in cocoa
mixture. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9-inch layer pans.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans.
Cool completely; frost with Fluffy Cocoa Frosting.
Fluffy Cocoa Frosting: Mix cocoa and sugar together in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, use a mixer to cream part of the cocoa/sugar mixture with
the butter. Blend in vanilla extract and half of the milk. Add remaining cocoa/sugar
mixture and blend well. Add remaining milk and beat to desired spreading consistency
(additional milk may be added if required).
Frosting fills and frosts two 9-inch layers, 8 to 10 servings.
* To make sour milk, use 4 teaspoons vinegar plus milk to equal 1 1/3 cups.