1. Heat oven to 350°F. Stir together cornstarch, 1 tablespoon water and almond extract, if desired, until cornstarch is dissolved. Gently stir in pie filling; spread mixture evenly on bottom of ungreased 9-inch square baking pan.
2. Stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add 1 cup water, oil, vinegar and vanilla; beat with spoon until batter is smooth and well blended. Pour batter evenly over cherries.
3. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; invert onto serving plate. Serve warm with whipped cream. About 9 servings.