1. Preheat the oven 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
2. Whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Divide batter between the two prepared pans.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until thin knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
4. Reserve 12 cherries for decorating. Combine the remaining cherries and the Kirsch; set aside.
5. To make the whipped cream, combine the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract and whip until soft to almost-stiff peaks form. Refrigerate whipped cream until ready to use.
6. Once the cakes are cool, level the tops and place one layer on a serving platter. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cherries and place on the cake layer. Top with about ½ to ¾ cup whipped cream, spreading over cherries (that's an estimation, as I didn't measure, just covered the cherries and spread into an even layer). Place the second layer on top, and frost the entire cake with the remaining whipped cream. Decorate as desired. (I used a 1M tip to pipe on top and placed the reserved cherries on top of each decorative star, and then lined a bottom border with chocolate shavings.)
* Note: If you do not have Kirsch or brandy, or would rather not use alcohol, reserve ¼ cup of the juice/syrup from the canned cherries before draining.
* Note: To make chocolate shavings, scrape a melon baller across a block of chocolate (or back of a candy bar). To attach them to the cake, lift them with an offset spatula and gently touch them to the sides of the cake.