1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup canola oil
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 cans (14 1/2-oz each) pitted dark cherries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 tbsp cherry brandy OR 2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line the bottoms of 2 greased 9-inch cake pans with paper; grease paper and set aside.
In large mixer, bowl beat the milk, eggs, oil, and vanilla until well combined.
In another bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together; gradually beat into the milk mixture.
Transfer the batter evenly into the prepared baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees 30-35 minutes until a wooden toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Allow to cool in pans 10 minutes then remove to wire racks, peel off paper and allow cakes to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Drain the juice from the cherries, reserving 1/2 cup juice.
In a small saucepan whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and reserved juice; add the cherries. Cook, stirring, over low heat until bubbly - about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the brandy or vanilla extract.
To make the whipped cream, beat the cream until it starts to thicken. Add the confectioners' sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
To assemble cake:
Using a long serrated knife, cut each cake in half horizontally. Place one layer on a cake plate and top with 1 1/2 cups of the whipped cream. Spread 3/4 cup filling to within 1/2-inch of the edge. Repeat procedure twice. Top with the remaining cake layer and frost sides and top with the remaining whipped cream. Top with the remaining filling.
Keep cake refrigerated until serving time and refrigerate any leftovers.