Beat shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes or until creamy. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating 5 to 7 minutes. Add egg, beating until yellow disappears.
Combine flour and next 3 ingredients. Stir together buttermilk and molasses in a large measuring cup. Gradually add flour mixture to shortening mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat until blended.
Divide dough into 5 equal portions; place each portion in a 9-inch greased and floured cake pan or cast-iron skillet, and firmly press with floured fingers into pan. Prick dough several times with a fork. Sprinkle each layer evenly with 1/2 teaspoon sugar.
Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until golden brown. (Only bake layers on one rack at a time.) Repeat procedure as needed to bake in pans. Remove layers from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
Spread 1 1/2 cups Dried Apple Filling between each layer to within 1/2 inch of edge, beginning and ending with a cake layer. (Save your prettiest cake layer for the top.) Loosely cover cake, and let stand 2 days at room temperature.