1/4cup hot water 2tablespoons finely ground espresso 2 1/4cups all-purpose flour 1teaspoon baking soda 1/2teaspoon salt 1cup granulated sugar 1/4cup packed brown sugar 1/2cup vegetable shortening 1teaspoon vanilla extract 3large eggs 1cup low-fat buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. To prepare cake, coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottom of pans with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray; set aside.
3. Combine the hot water and 2 tablespoons espresso in a small bowl, stirring to dissolve; set aside. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
4. Combine the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar. Place 1/4 cup sugar mixture, shortening, and vanilla in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at low speed 30 seconds or until well combined. Increase speed to medium; add remaining sugar mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, beating 15 seconds between each addition. Scrape sides of bowl; beat an additional 5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Add espresso mixture, beating until well combined. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to egg mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour batter into prepared pans.
5. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack. Discard wax paper. For the petit four pan, bake at 350 for 10 minutes, until they are no longer sticky. Cool in pan 2-3 minutes, then invert on wire cooling rack. Trim excess "muffin top" from each petit four for a finished edge.