• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 3/4 cups white sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/3 cups water
• 1/2 cup shortening
• 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2 eggs
• 3 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
• 1/3 cup butter
• 4 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
• 1/4 cup milk
• 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 (16.5 ounce) can pitted dark sweet cherries, drained with juice reserved
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• 6 teaspoons orange liqueur
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour 2- 8 or 9 inch round cake pans.
2. In a medium sized bowl combine flour, white sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add water, shortening, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until combined. Then beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs and melted chocolate and beat 2 minutes more. Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool cakes on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and let cool thoroughly on a wire rack.
4. To Make Frosting: Beat butter until fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups of confectioner's sugar and the cocoa. Beat well than add the milk, and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Beat in the remaining confectioner's sugar and any additional milk as needed for spreadability.
5. To Make Filling: Drain cherries reserving 2/3 cup of the liquid. In a medium sauce pan combine reserved liquid and cornstarch, add fruit. Cook over medium heat and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for more 2 minutes and then stir in the orange or cherry liqueur. Remove from heat cover and cool without stirring.
6. Arrange one cake layer on a serving dish and spread the cooled cherry filling over the top (reserve some cherries for a garnish for top of cake). Place second layer on top filling and frost sides and top of cake with frosting