1Day Before: Pour the cherries into a medium sized bowl with a lid and add 1/4 to 1/2 a bottle of amaretto, stir gently not to break the cherries but bled the amaretto in well. Place them into the refrigerator for 6- 24 hours: Longer is better!
2The Cake: Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 3- 9" Round pans with baking spray and set them aside.
3In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla, and amaretto until it is light and fluffy. In a separate bowl blend together flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda and espresso; mix together well.
4Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk alternately to the creamed mixture until everything is well incorporated. Pour the batter evenly into the 3 prepared pans and bake for 26-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean.
5Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool for at least 15 minutes before removing for the pans.
Note: If you add more amaretto, just use a little less buttermilk to balance the moisture.
6The Icing: break the chocolate into pieces and place it into a glass bowl. Microwave for one minute intervals, stirring between until it is all melted (usually 3x does the trick) set the chocolate aside. Cut the butter into 48 tablespoon pieces, place in a bowl and set aside so that it can become room temperature. Note: because you are using two butters you may have to soften them up a little more by placing them in the microwave for about 15 seconds.
7In a large mixing bowl combine the sugar, egg whites,cream of tartar and salt. Carefully combine them but do not beat them. Place the mixing bowl over a pan of boiling water for 5 minutes or until the egg & sugar mixture is warm not hot to the touch. Place the mixing bowl on to the mixer and whisk on high until the meringue holds a stiff peak.
8Turn the mixer down to medium and begin to add the butter one piece at a time scraping down the sides often. Note:make sure each piece is well blended before adding another or you will end up with huge clumps of butter in your icing.
9Add in the chocolate, vanilla, espresso powder and amaretto and beat for another minute or until everything is mixed in well, scrape the sides to get all of the chocolate and butter off the sides of the bowl.
10To assemble the cake, place a dollop of icing and place your first layer bottom down onto the dollop, lightly frost the layer and add 2 layers of boarder: I usually use a piping bag to do this; I refer to it as the great wall. Spoon the cherries evenly into the pocket you have formed; fill the whole space but do not use too much liquid. Place the second cake layer, bottom down over the cherries like a cap and very gently press down to seal the cherries into the pocket you have created. Frost the entire cake. Using a pastry bag with a star tip, add a ring of stars close together to form a pool on top of the cake, spoon in the rest of the cherries making sure you do not put too much liquid. Decorate the sides with sliced almonds or dried cake crumbs....be creative.
11Notes: The smallest bottle of amaretto available is 750ml, or a nip, use about a 1/4 to 1/2 a bottle to soak the cherries depending on how many cans you use. cover the cherries and gently stir them to be sure the amaretto is mixed in well.
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