Have all ingredients at room temperature before starting. Grease and flour two 9-inch layer cake pans.
Sift flour then measure. Into a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa. Add shortening, eggs, vanilla, milk, and water; beat on low speed for 3 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in preheated 350° oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans on a rack for 15 minutes; remove and place layers directly on racks to cool completely.
Calories per serving: 287