Combine shortening, salt and vanilla. Add sugar gradually and cream until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add baking powder to flour and sift 3 times. Add small amounts of flour to creamed mixture, alternately with milk, mixing after each addition until smooth. Pour batter into two 8-inch layer pans greased with shortening. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
Combine brown sugar, salt, butter and water in a saucepan and heat until sugar is dissolved. Take off heat, pour in egg yolk, and stir vigorously. Return to heat and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Cool. (Mixutre will thicken as it is cooled). Add walnuts, spread between layers.
If only one layer of cake is made, there is enough batter left to make 6 cupcakes.
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