Beat shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
Combine flour, salt, and soda; add to shortening mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Beat at medium-high speed 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cakepans.
Bake at 350° for 22 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.
Spread Caramel Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.
Chocolate-Buttermilk Cake: Substitute 1/2 cup cocoa for 1/2 cup flour. Pour batter into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch pan. Bake at 350º for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.