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1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans.
2. Melt butter over very low heat in small saucepan; remove from heat. Skim off milky solids and discard; reserve remaining butter. Beat eggs. sugar and vanilla on high speed in large bowl until mixture is thick, fluffy and very pale in color (about 10 minutes). Stir together flour and cocoa; sprinkle several tablespoons over top of egg mixture. Gently fold into egg mixture; repeat procedure until all of cocoa mixture is combined with egg mixture. Fold in melted butter, several tablespoons at a time. Divide mixture evenly among prepared pans.
3. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes; with knife, loosen cake from sides of pans. Invert onto wire racks; cool completely.
4. Place cake layers on wax paper; with fork, poke holes about 1-inch apart through all layers. Stir together corn syrup and kirsch; sprinkle evenly over cake layers. Lightly press cherries between layers of paper towels to remove excess moisture. Prepare WHIPPED CREAM FILLING.
5. To assemble, place one layer on serving plate; spread with 1/2-inch layer of whipped cream. Place half of drained cherries over top, leaving 1 inch around edge free of cherries; with second layer, repeat procedure. Place third layer on top; frost and garnish top and sides with remaining whipped cream. Cover; refrigerate before serving. Garnish as desired. 12 servings.
*Note: 1 tablespoon almond extract plus 3 tablespoons water can be substituted for kitsch.
WHIPPED CREAM FILLING: Beat 3 cups (1-1/2 pt.) cold whipping cream, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon almond extract in large mixer bowl until stiff. Cover; refrigerate until ready to use.
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