Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour two 9" round cake pans. Place a parchment circle in the bottom of each, if desired.
Sift the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. I put mine through a large mesh strainer, no need for a fancy sifter.
On medium-high speed, beat the sugar with the shortening until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Unlike butter recipes, the shortening won’t get light during this step, but 2 minutes is sufficient to incorporate air into the mixture (which is the whole point of creaming). Scrape the bottom and sides of bowl.
On low speed, add the whole eggs, one at a time, until just blended in.
Add the vanilla.
On medium-low speed, add ⅓ of the flour mixture, then ½ of the milk. Add another ⅓ of the flour, then the remaining half of the milk. Finish with the remaining ⅓ of the flour mixture. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
Beat the batter for 2 minutes on medium speed and put into cake pans. Weigh pans for accuracy, if desired.
Wrap pans with dampened strips of fabric (or "Evenbake Strips") if desired, and bake for 28-33 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.
Set on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely.