1 Preheat the oven and prepare the pans and bowls: Heat the oven to 350˚F. Place parchment paper circles in the bottoms of two 8-inch wide, 1 1/2-inch deep round cake pans; coat the pans with nonstick spray.
Place the bowl and whisk (stand mixer, hand mixer, or stand-alone bowl and whisk) you’ll use for making whipped cream in the freezer.
2 Make the cake: To a large bowl add both the granulated and brown sugars, breaking apart any large clumps of brown sugar with your fingers. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Gradually whisk in the hot coffee to form a fairly loose batter.
3 Divide the batter and bake the cake: Divide the batter between the cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
Let the cakes cool for 30 minutes in the pans before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool for 30 minutes more.
Note: If you don’t want to finish assembling the cake, let the cakes cool completely and wrap each cake round individually in plastic wrap, then foil and refrigerate for a few days or freeze the cakes for up to three months.
4 Cook the cherries: While the cakes are cooling, put the cherries and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fruit has softened and released a lot of its juice, 15 to 20 minutes.
Strain the fruit. Reserve both the liquid and the cherries. You will use them at different stages. (You should have about 1 cup cherry juice.)
5 Make the cherry syrup: Return the cherry juice to the saucepan over medium heat and reduce until thick and syrupy, 10 to 15 minutes. You should have about 1/3 cup once it’s reduced. Stir in the Kirschwasser.
6 Cut the cake rounds and brush them syrup: The cakes could be slightly sticky or tacky. To prevent them from sticking once sliced, place them on a square of parchment or have a large cake lifter or metal spatula nearby to help with transferring the rounds.
Cut the cakes in half horizontally so you have 4 circles. Using a pastry brush, brush the cut sides and the edges of the cakes with the cherry syrup, to prevent them from drying out. You should end up using all of the syrup, but it’s okay if there’s a little bit leftover. Let the liquid soak in and wait for the cakes to finish cooling, about 30 minutes.
7 Make the whipped cream: Remove the bowl and whisk from the freezer. Using either a stand mixer, an electric hand mixer, or brute force, add the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and extract to the bowl; gradually increase the speed to medium-high and whisk until the cream holds stiff peaks, but isn’t lumpy. If using a stand mixer this comes together within a couple of minutes so don’t walk away.
If making stabilized whipped cream find instructions for that here.
8 Assemble and decorate the cake: Place one cake round on a plate cut-side up and top with a quarter of the whipped cream. Spread within a half inch of the edge and then scatter with a third of the cooked cherries; place another cake round on top and repeat for two more layers. Place the last cake round cut-side down on top and spread with the remaining whipped cream.
Decorate with the shaved chocolate and cherries as desired.
9 Serve: This cake is best eaten the day it’s assembled or the following day. But you can still enjoy any leftovers for a day or two after that so nothing goes to waste.