Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cocoa, and sugar. Add shortening, 1/3 cup buttermilk, and coffee. Beat for 2 minutes until batter is well-blended and glossy. (If an electric mixer is used, beat at low to medium speed for same period of time.)
Add the rest of the buttermilk, 2 eggs, and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes. Pour batter into two lightly greased, floured 8-inch pans. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes.
For cupcakes, fill lightly greased muffin pans 1/3 to 1/2 full. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 20 minutes. Makes 18 cupcakes.
For loaf cake, pour batter into lightly greased, floured, 10x10x2 inch loaf pan. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes.
Combine sugar, corn syrup, egg whites, water or coffee, cream of tartar and salt. Place in top of a double boiler over rapidly boiling water and beat with rotary beater until mixture stands in peaks. Remove from boiling water. Blend in vanilla and continue beating until thick enough to spread. Frost cooled cake layers and decorate with chocolate bits.