1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup butter
5 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/3 cups cocoa
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup pecans, toasted (optional)
Preheat oven to 350º. Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) round cake pans; line with wax paper. Grease and flour wax paper. Set aside.
Beat shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups sugar, beating well. Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
Combine flour and next 3 ingredients. Add to shortening mixture, alternate with buttermilk; beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix at low speed after each addition until blended. Beat an additional 3 minutes at high speed. Stir in 2 tsp of vanilla. Pour batter into prepared pans and set aside.
Beat cream cheese, 2 Tbsp butter, and cornstarch at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sweetened condensed milk, beating well. Add 1 egg, beat well. Stir in 1 tsp vanilla. Spoon cream cheese mixture over chocolate batter.
Bake at 350º for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, cool completely.
Beat 2/3 cup butter at medium speed until creamy. Combine powdered sugar and 1 1/3 cups cocoa. Add to butter alternately with cream; beginning and ending with powdered sugar mixture. Beat until spreading consistency. Stir in 1 tsp vanilla. Spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with nuts if desired.