Emulsified or High Ratio Shortening (also called Hi Ratio Shortening, Bakery Shortening, Cake Shortening or Icing Shortening) is shortening that has been changed by adding an emulsifier and whipping up the product so that it can absorb more sugar and liquid than regular shortening.
Though Emulsified Shortening spreads easily in a batter and rapidly coats Sugar and Flour particles, it is really for commercial baking where a recipe calls for a high percentage of sugar. Emulsified Shortening gives a finer and smoother texture to cakes but the primary benefits are economic since Emulsified Shortening costs less than butter, improves consistency and helps keep Cakes moister longer. It also helps keep Icings stable longer, extending shelf lives. Typically, Emulsified Shortening is often introduced to the other ingredients in a two-stage mixing process that as a by-product reduces the production of gluten in baked goods. The drawback is often the lack of a distinctive rich taste.