I used canned dark pitted cherries for this cake, but you can substitute 1 1/2 lbs. fresh dark cherries when they are in season.

Kirsch-soaked cherries

  1. 2 cans (15 ounces each) pitted dark cherries
  2. 1⁄2 cup kirshwasser cherry liqueur

Cake layers

  1. 1 2⁄3 cups (205g) all-purpose flour
  2. 2⁄3 cup (85g) unsweet cocoa powder
  3. 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking soda
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 1⁄2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  6. 1 1⁄2 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  7. 2 eggs
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  9. 1 1⁄2 cups (360ml) buttermilk


  1. 1 tablespoon espresso powder
  2. 1/2 tablespoon hot water
  3. 1⁄2 cup (113g) unsalted butter
  4. 3 cups (375g) confectioners’ sugar
  5. Pinch salt
  6. Kirsch-soaked cherries

Whipped cream frosting

  1. 3 cups (720ml) heavy whipping cream
  2. 1/4 cup (30g) confectioners’ sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  4. 3 tablespoons kirsch
  5. 3/4 cup (4.5 oz) shaved dark chocolate or chocolate curls.
  6. 3/4 cup (4 oz.) chocolate sprinkles
  7. 12 fresh dark cherries with stems

Infused cherries

  • Drain the cherries and halve them. Place in a bowl. Pour the 1/2 cup kirsch over the cherries and soak overnight. Pour the kirsch off the cherries and reserve.

Make the cakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Spray three 9 inch round cake pans with flour-based baking spray (or grease and flour).
  • Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. 
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and mix well.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Begin and end with dry ingredients. 
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
  • Cool the cakes and remove them from their pans. Use a toothpick to prick holes in the tops of the cake; brush the 1/2 cup of reserved kirsch (poured off the cherries) onto the cakes. Allow the cakes to infuse while you prepare the filling.

Make the filling

  • Dissolve the espresso powder in the hot water. Set aside to cool.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until lightened. Add the confectioners’ sugar, salt and espresso mixture. Mix well. If the icing is too thick add kirsch one tablespoon at a time.
  • Place a cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Spread half of the espresso filling over the top; cover with cherries and top with another cake layer. Spread on the remaining filling, cover with cherries and top with the third cake layer. 
  • Cover the cake and refrigerate for at least two hours. For best results, allow cake to infuse overnight and for up to 2 days.