Preparation / Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9 x 2-inch cake pans. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Beat in the milk, coffee, shortening and vanilla with an electric mixer at low speed until comhined. Beat at high speed for 2 minutes. Add the eggs; beat for 2 minutes.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans; smooth with a spatula. Bake the cake layers in the middle of the oven for 3O-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool the cake layers in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn out the cakes onto a rack and let cool completely.
Place one layer top side down on a plate. Spread with l cup of the frosting; sprinkle with the walnuts. Top with the other layer, top side up. Frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting, swirling with a small spatula. Garnish the cake with walnuts.
MAKE AHEAD TIP: make the layers and freeze them, well-wrapped, for up to 1 month, then thaw them at room temperatnre overnight.