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Red Velvet Cake

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Ingredients

As much as you may eschew using shortening, it?s critical here, as it prevents the frosting from becoming unpleasantly soft in warm weather.

1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) non-trans-fat vegetable shortening

a scant 1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons meringue powder (optional, for a smoother icing that holds its shape a bit better)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 cups (24 ounces) confectioners' sugar or glazing sugar

4 to 6 tablespoons (2 to 3 ounces) milk

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