I'm not sure this is technically a 'family recipe,' but we've certainly had it long enough... my grandmother remembers making this cake when my father and his brother were young boys, so I think we can let this one slide. I prefer to use the thickest syrup canned cherries, but the brand listed is just fine.

By the way, Kirsch is a type of fruit brandy, usually made with cherries. It's not a mandatory ingredient, but I think the cherry-almond taste adds something nice and original to this cake.

You will need:

1 dark chocolate cake mix, two-layer size

2 cups whipping or heavy cream (makes a generous amount)

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons Kirsch

1 21-ounce can Comstock’s cherry pie filling

1 ounce shaved semisweet chocolate

1. Prepare cake, following directions on package, to make 2 round 9-inch layers.

2. Cool cake thoroughly.

3. In a mixing bowl, whip the cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.

4. Brush tops of cake with Kirsch.

5. Place one cake layer on a cake plate and spread with 3/4 cup whipped cream.

6. Top with half the cherry pie filling.

7. Place second layer on cake. Spoon remaining pie filling on top layer, keeping filling in the center, about 1 1/2 ½ inches from side.

8. Spread the side of the cake with half of the remaining cream.

9. Spoon remaining cream around cherries on top of cake.

10. Sprinkle whipped cream with shaved semisweet chocolate.

11. Refrigerate until serving time.

Serves 12