There are various ways of combining the ingredients for shortened cakes, but all are based on what is called the conventional method. Properly executed, it produces a tender cake with a light, delicate texture.
The ingredients for the recipe should be measured ahead of time and brought to room temperature, particularly the fat and eggs. If the eggs need to be separated, however, it's easier to do so as soon as they are removed from the refrigerator.
Use Solid Fats
Hydrogenated vegetable shortening, butter, margarine or a combination of these solid fats may be used in cake baking. Shortening produces cakes with a fine texture; butter or margarine contributes flavor and color. Begin by beating the fat with an electric mixer at medium speed until it is smooth and creamy.
The sugar should be added gradually (Step 1), beating well until the mixture is light and fluffy, eight to 10 minutes. Halt the creaming process, however, if the fat begins to melt from too much physical action.