Preparation / Directions:
NOTE: Make Caramel Syrup first. CARAMEL SYRUP: Melt (caramelize) 1 cup sugar in a heavy pan (preferably an iron skillet) over low heat until it is clear and medium brown (about 5 minutes), stirring to keep it from burning. Add 6 Tablespoons of hot water all at once. After most of bubbling has stopped and steam has disappeared, stir and continue cooking over low heat just until mexture is completely blended but not thick. IMMEDIATELY dissolve 4 tablespoons of the hot Caramel Syrup in 3/4 cup water to use as liquid for the cake. If Caramel Syrup becomes stiff, it can always be melted again over low heat...with a few drops of water added. : * If you use double-action baking powder, follow rule given by manufacturer. : Cream shortening, add sugar gradually, and cream until fluffy. Blend in well beaten egg yolks. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, and add to the creamed mixture alternately with the water and warm Caramel Syrup which have been mixed together until thoroughly blended. (The caramel- and-water mixture should not be warmer than lukewarm when it is added to the batter.) Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Bake in 2 greased and floured 9-inch round layer cake pans (1 1/4 inch deep). 30 minutes. 350 F. When cool, spread cooled Caramel Icing between the layers and over top and sides of cake. Decorate with pecan halves.