Red Velvet Cake with Black Walnuts

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½ cup shortening
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 whole eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup Black Walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ounces red food coloring
1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 Tablespoon vinegar

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In a stand mixer with paddle attachment or with electric hand mixer beat together shortening, sugar and eggs. Sift together flour, salt and cocoa.

Add sifted mixture and buttermilk a little at a time alternating between wet and dry ingredients. Fold in the Black Walnuts, vanilla, food coloring and soda/vinegar mixture.

Fill two 8″ round cake pans lined with parchment paper or nonstick spray. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Top with either a vanilla buttercream or cream cheese frosting. Press additional toasted Black Walnuts into the side or sprinkle on top.

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