Grease and flour two 9″ round cake pans. I also line mine with parchment and grease and flour the parchment.
Sift together flour, cocoa, coffee and salt.
Using the paddle attachment to your electric stand mixer, beat egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until they become thick and lightened in color. When this happens, you will be able to pull the paddle out of the eggs and the egg will fall off the paddle in a way that looks like a ribbon. This will probably take three or four minutes.
In a separate bowl (or you can remove the yolks and thoroughly wash the bowl you were using) beat the egg whites using the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Continue beating, while slowly pouring 1/2 cup sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolks to lighten the yolks. Then, fold in the remaining whites.
Fold in flour mixture, 1/4 at a time. Folding until all streaks disappear between each addition.
Divide batter evenly between the two prepared pans.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow cakes to cook for 10 minutes in the pans sitting on wire racks.
Remove cakes from pans and allow to cool completely before frosting and filling.
Bring water and remaining 1/4 cup sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Continue cooking until sugar is dissolved.
Stir in 2 tablespoons kirsch, if using, and cherries. Let sit for 30 minutes.
Strain cherries from liquid, reserving liquid.
Whip cream using the whisk attachment to an electric stand mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually, add confectioners’ sugar and kirsch (if using) and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Brush both cake layers with about 3 tablespoons each of the liquid you strained off the cherries.
Frost one layer with whipped cream.
Top whipped cream with cherries and press them lightly into the whipped cream.
Top with second layer and frost the entire cake with whipped cream.
If desired, use a vegetable peeler to create curls out of the chocolate and garnish the cake with the chocolate curls and additional cherries. I always make the chocolate curls while I am letting the cherries sit in the syrup.