- 2 (15-ounce) cans pitted tart cherries, drained
- ½ cup cherry eau de vie (kirsch), divided
- chocolate cake recipe or mix
- 3 squares dark or semi-sweet chocolate (Fresh Coast, Grocer’s Daughter and Mindo are good Michigan choices)
- 2 cups whipping cream
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 12 maraschino or black sweet cherries
Place tart cherries and ⅓ cup of kirsch in a medium bowl and leave at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for about 4 hours. Reserve remaining kirsch.
Meanwhile, make cake batter according to directions and pour into 3 (9-inch) round cake pans. Bake 20–25 minutes, until toothpick inserted into deepest part comes out clean. Cool layers for about 2 hours.
Prepare chocolate curls and grated chocolate for garnish: With the heat of your hands slightly soften the chocolate squares. Then, using a vegetable peeler, shave 1 of the squares into curls and set aside in a bowl. Grate remaining 2 squares and set aside in a second bowl. Keep cool until ready to use, but do not store in the refrigerator.
With a sharp fork, prick the top of each cake in several places. Drain the cherries well, reserving liquid. Sprinkle reserved liquid over all 3 cakes.
In a chilled bowl, beat cream, sugar and remaining kirsch until stiff peaks form.
Place 1 cake layer on a decorative platter. Spread with ¼ of the whipped cream and top with half of the tart cherries. Repeat with second layer. Top with third layer.
Frost sides and top of cake with about ¾ of the remaining whipped cream and use the rest to place dollops of whipped cream around the perimeter of the top. To garnish, gently press grated chocolate into the sides of the cake, place a maraschino or fresh cherry on each dollop, and pile chocolate curls in the center. Wait to garnish cake until just before serving if it is not to be eaten immediately, since it will have to be refrigerated, and refrigeration may turn the chocolate gray.