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1. Heat oven to 375°F. Grease bottoms of two 9-inch round baking pans; line with wax paper. Grease wax paper lining, leaving sides of pans ungreased.
2. Beat egg yolks in large bowl on medium speed of mixer 3 minutes. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating another 2 minutes. Stir together almonds, flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add alternately with water to egg yolk mixture, beating on low speed just until blended. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts.
3. Beat egg whites in large bowl until foamy. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold chocolate mixture into beaten egg whites. Spread batter evenly in prepared pans.
4. Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until center of cake springs back when touched lightly. Cool 10 minutes; with knife or spatula loosen cake from side of pan. Remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. With long serrated knife, cut each layer in half horizontally to make 4 thin layers. Refrigerate layers while preparing filling and whipped cream.
5. Place one cake layer on serving plate; spread with one-third (about 1-1/3 cups) RICOTTA CHERRY FILLING. Top with another cake layer. Repeat procedure with remaining filling and cake layers. Frost sides and top of torte with COCOA WHIPPED CREAM. Garnish with candied cherries or almonds, if desired. Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Cover; refrigerate leftover dessert. 12 servings.
RICOTTA CHERRY FILLING
1 cup (1/2 pt.) cold whipping cream
1-3/4 cups (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped candied cherries
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Beat whipping cream in small bowl until stiff. Beat ricotta cheese and powdered sugar in large bowl until smooth. Fold whipped cream into cheese mixture just until blended. Stir in candied cherries and almond extract. About 4 cups filling.
COCOA WHIPPED CREAM: Stir together 2/3 cup powdered sugar and 1/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa in large bowl. Stir in 2 cups (1 pt.) cold whipping cream and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract; beat just until stiff. (Do not overbeat.) About 4 cups whipped cream.
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