Combine evaporated milk and yeast in a large bowl; add egg, molasses, 2 tablespoons sugar, and vegetable oil. Stir until yeast dissolves and mixture is combined.
Sift together 4 cups flour, salt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves in a medium bowl.
Add half of flour mixture to milk mixture. Mix well.
Add shortening, blending until combined, then add remaining flour mixture. Knead until mixture comes together, adding remaining 1/2 cup flour, a bit at a time, if needed. Form dough into ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight.
On a floured board, roll dough to 1/3-inch thickness. Cut into 24 squares. Cover with a clean dish towel and set aside in a warm, draft-free area for 45 minutes.
Line a plate with paper towels; set aside.
Add vegetable oil to a deep-sided pot to a depth of 3 inches. Heat oil to 375 degrees F. Drop in dough squares a few at a time, turning frequently with a long-handled slotted spoon. Cook until puffed and golden. Remove with slotted spoon and transfer to the plate lined with paper towels. Lightly tent with foil to keep warm while remaining beignets cook.
Combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Dust hot beignets with cinnamon-sugar mixture; serve warm.