2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup hot water
2/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
In medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder; set aside. In a small bowl, mix hot water and cocoa until cocoa is dissolved; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening with electric mixer on medium for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after addition. Beat for 2 minutes longer. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. On low speed, alternate adding flour mixer (about 1/3 at a time) and cocoa mixture (about a 1/2 at at time), beating until just blended.
Divide batter evenly among cupcake cups. Fill each about two-thirds full.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes then remove from cupcake pans to cooling rack. Cool completely for about 30 minutes.
Once full cooled, frost with desired frosting and decorate!