1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling
2 cups mini-chocolate chips
1 recipe white cake batter or white cake mix
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1 (10-ounce) jar maraschino cherries, with stems, drained and wiped dry
Red food coloring
4 cups vanilla buttercream or canned buttercream frosting
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
For the cake: Drain and rinse cherry pie filling under running water. Press cherries between several layers of paper towels until very dry. Chop cherries fine and reserve 1/2 cup (discard remaining cherries - or eat them!). Gently fold cherries and 1/2 cup chocolate chips into cake batter. Grease and flour three 8-inch cake pans and divide batter among pans. Bake on middle rack in 350-degree oven until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely.
For the cherries: Melt remaining 1 1/2 cups chips and shortening in bowl. Holding stems, partially dip maraschino cherries into chocolate and place on parchment-lined plate. Refrigerate until hardened, at least 10 minutes.
For the frosting: Beat 5 drops red food coloring into buttercream; add more coloring as desired.
To assemble: Spread 3/4 cup buttercream on bottom cake layer. Repeat with 3/4 cup more buttercream and second cake layer. Top with final cake layer and frost top and sides with remaining buttercream. Decorate with whipped cream and cherries. Yum!