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Ingredients

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Directions

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  • Heat chocolate and 1-1/2 cups heavy cream in medium-size saucepan over low heat until chocolate is melted and smooth. Pour half of chocolate mixture into small bowl and refrigerate frosting until chocolate hardens to spreading consistency, about 2 hours. Set aside remaining chocolate in covered saucepan so it remains liquid.

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  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9-inch-round cake pans. Line the bottom of each with a round of waxed paper; grease the paper.

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  • Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Stir in almonds and almond extract. Pour into pans.

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  • Bake in 350 degree F oven 30 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on rack 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack; peel off paper. Cool cakes completely, about 45 minutes.

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  • Meanwhile, drain cherries, reserving syrup (about 3/4 cup). Pat cherries dry with paper toweling. Coarsely chop.

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  • Beat together remaining 2 cups heavy cream, powdered sugar and cherry brandy if using, in medium-size bowl at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Fold in cherries.

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  • With serrated knife, carefully cut each cake horizontally in half to make 4 layers. Place 1 cake layer, cut side up, on serving plate. Brush one-fourth of reserved syrup over cake layer. Spread with one-third whipped cream mixture. Repeat with 2 more cake layers, syrup and whipped cream mixture. Top with remaining layer. Spread chocolate frosting over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until frosting sets.

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  • Place cake on wire rack over tray. Pour chocolate coating from saucepan over top of cake. (If chocolate has thickened too much, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons water until pourable consistency.) Spread with long metal spatula so chocolate coats top and runs down sides of cake; spread over sides to cover cake completely. Refrigerate cake at least 1 hour before serving.

Nutrition Facts

451 calories; total fat 32g; cholesterol 63mg; sodium 256mg; carbohydrates 40g; protein 6g.

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