This Sweet Cherry Almond Cake recipe is tender and packed full of jammy, plump sweet cherries! It’s such an easy cherry cake recipe to pull together and with a hint of almond, vanilla and lemon, it’s full of flavor. Use the freshest summer fruit in this cake and in other summer favorites like Blueberry Cornmeal Crisp and Carrot Cake with Pineapple. This recipe is vegetarian and easily dairy free. [ UPDATE 5/22: read notes above recipe card for update.]
A Little Fresh Cherry Cake Backstory
This easy cherry cake recipe is a loosely adapted version of Marian Burros’s famous Plum Torte recipe originally printed in 1983 in the New York Times. I tried it for the first time years ago and its become a beloved late summer cake easily adaptable to just about any juicy fruit. My favorite, turns out, is fresh sweet cherry. But I wouldn’t pass up strawberry, peach or the original plum, should an opportunity arise.
An ultra tender, delicate, moist and light crumb, with just the right balance of sweet, this homemade cherry almond cake recipe is easy to pull together and freezer friendly, least you attempt to eat it all in one setting (seriously). The cherries turn into soft, jammy goodness and the crumb is the most tender of crumbs with a nice texture thanks in part to almond flour. A sprinkle of sugar on the batter pre-bake turns into a thin layer of crackly crust. My heart is all a flutter!
Original Cherry Cake Recipe Changes
From Marian’s original recipe I’ve made several changes:
- Prepare the pan throughly by greasing and lining with parchment.
- Reduced the all purpose flour and added a bit of almond flour, vanilla and almond extract and lemon zest to bump up this scrumptious cake’s flavor profile.
- Reduced the one cup of sugar to 3/4 C (165g).
- For a dairy free option, I tested this recipe using coconut oil instead of butter. I love both, but the buttery flavor stood out among the two for me. Rob however, couldn’t tell the difference. If using coconut oil, the bonus here is you don’t have to break out the stand mixer or handheld beaters. Just a whisk, mixing bowl and strong arm will make the magic happen!
Ingredients for Bing Cherry Cake
- Unbleached All Purpose Flour
- Almond Flour
- Baking Powder and Salt
- Cane Sugar
- Unsalted Butter or Coconut Oil
- Fresh Sweet Cherries – not maraschino cherries – I like Bing
- Fresh Lemon
- Almond and Vanilla Extract
Quick Guide: How to Make this Cherry Cake Recipe From Scratch
After pitting the cherries, mixing this cake is super simple. You’ll need a mixer for the butter version. If using the dairy free version, a whisk and strong arm will do. In summary, here’s how to make it (see recipe card below for details):
- First, pit the cherries and slice most into 1/4 pieces, some 1/2 pieces.
- Second, using a mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. If using coconut oil, simply melt the oil and pour it into a mixing bowl with the sugar and whisk vigorously for about one minute.
- Third, mix in the eggs, extracts, lemon zest and juice. The batter will look broken. Press on!
- Fourth, sift in the almond and AP flour, salt and baking powder and mix until just incorporated. The batter will be very thick.
- Fifth, fold in the quartered cherries. Scrape the batter into a prepared cake pan. Place the halved cherries on top and sprinkle with sugar.
- Last, bake.
This cherry, almond flavored cake will need to cool completely before sharing. Enjoy with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream.
What Cake Pan to Use
A non stick 8″ spring form pan makes this sweet cherry cake easy to depan. Simply ease the ring off and the cake is ready to go. But this sweet cherry cake can also be made in a regular 8″ round cake pan.
Either way, even if using a nonstick pan, grease the pan, place a parchment round on the bottom and lightly oil the bottom again. This will ensure an easier release.
Variations on Sweet Cherry Almond Cake
This cherry cake recipe can be made with other juicy summer fruits as well. I’ve made plum, strawberry and this cherry cake. I’m thinking peach or apricot would be fun to play with too.
The bake time will be longer however, if using juicier fruit. Deb at Smitten Kitchen shares the original plum torte recipe. Worth a look if you plan on making it.
Tools I Use to Make This Cake (these are affiliate links)
- Cherry Pitter – I love this tool and it pits olives too!
- 8″ Spring Form Pan
- Offset Spatula – small
- Stand Mixer – I highly recommend
- Parchment Paper – my go to
A Few Recipe Tips
- Proper pan preparation will ensure easy release. The original recipe calls for no pan prep/grease, but I find the fruit sticks to the sides and bottom of the pan. To alleviate this, grease the bottom and sides of the pan then line the bottom with a parchment round.
- Freezer friendly? Yes please! Once the cake is completely cool, wrap it snugly in plastic wrap, or storage container and freeze for up to two weeks. Thaw at room temperature.
- Dairy free? Oh yesss! I tested this recipe using melted coconut oil instead of butter and love the results.
- This fresh cherry cake is delicious shared warm with a bit of ice cream. Gently rewarm in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes.
More Summer Dessert Recipes to Love
- Sourdough Biscuit Shortcakes
- Blueberry Cinnamon Yogurt Coffee Cake
- Single Layer Carrot Cake with Pineapple
- Sweet Cherry Galette
- Blueberry Cornmeal Crumble
- Blueberry Peach Cobbler Tart
- Bluebarb Ice Cream Pie Parfaits
*Update* May 2022
This cake has received glowing five star reviews here and on social, but also, several makers reported the cake soggy or under done. I’ve remade the recipe, baking it right at 38 minutes (adjusted up by a two minutes from the the original recipe). Results were as expected. Here are a few additional tips to help ensure success.
- Use firm, fresh cherries. Older fruit tends to be softer and juicier.
- Employ an oven thermometer. New and old ovens alike vary in calibration. An oven thermometer will allow you to know the exact internal temperature of your oven, and you can adjust if necessary. It’s essential in every baker’s kitchen.
- Use a kitchen scale if you can to weigh your ingredients. It’s more accurate than volume measurements, reason professional bakers weigh their ingredients.
- Use the toothpick test to see if your cake is done. When a toothpick is inserted in the cake, it should come out with very few crumbs, if any on it. You may have to poke around to avoid poking into a cherry.
- Keep the oven door closed until the last minutes of baking to do the toothpick test.
- Allow your cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Once out of the pan, allow the cake to cool completely at room temperature before removing the bottom part of the spring form pan and/or cutting into into the cake. Cooling is an important part of crumb development in baked goods (it even has a name, carryover).
- Use room temperature ingredients.
Sweet Cherry Almond Cake Recipe
- 2 Cups (300 grams) Sweet Cherries I use Bing
- 1/2 Cup (113 grams) Unsalted Butter room temperature or 1/2 Cup unrefined melted coconut oil + more for greasing the pan
- 3/4 Cup (165 grams) Cane Sugar + 1.5 tablespoons for sprinkling on top
- Lemon Zest from one lemon
- 2 teaspoons Lemon Juice about 1/2 a lemon
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/4 teaspoon Almond Extract optional
- 2 Whole Eggs large, at room temperature
- 3/4 Cup (110 grams) All Purpose Flour unbleached
- 1/4 Cup (30 grams) Almond Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/8 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
- Using unsalted butter or coconut oil, grease an 8 inch (20 centimeter) non stick spring form or cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment. grease the parchment. Set aside.
Pit and Slice the Cherries:
- Pit the cherries. Cut about a hand full in halves about 1/4 cup), set aside. Cut the remaining in quarters. The halves will be used to dot the top of the cake with so keep those separate. The quarters will be folded into the cake. Set aside.
Make the Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit (180 Celsius). Arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven.
- If Using Butter: In the bowl of a stand mixer add the room temperature butter and sugar. Set a timer for 5 minutes and using the paddle attachment (or handheld beaters), beat on medium (speed 4 if using a KitchenAid) for five minutes. The mixture will be light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl. If Using Coconut Oil: In a large mixing bowl, add the melted coconut oil (it should be warm to touch) and sugar. Using a whisk, beat the mixture until the sugar is smooth and the ingredients come together, about 1-2 minutes. (You can use a stand mixer or handheld beaters here if you like). Scrape down the bowl.
- To the sugar/fat mixture, add the lemon zest and juice, and extracts. Add eggs, one at a time, and whisk for about 10-15 seconds each or until each egg is broken up. The mixture will look broken at this point. Scrape down the bowl, all the way to the bottom. Into the mixing bowl, sift in the flours, baking powder and salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until combined and no more dry flour is visible. The batter will be thick. Fold the quartered cherries into the batter.
- Scrape the batter into the pan, pressing it in and evenly smooth the top. Arrange the halved cherries on top of the cake, cut side facing up or down (no need to press them in - just set them on top - the cake will bake up and around them). Sprinkle the top of the cake with 1 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.
- Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes OR until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, and the top is golden and springs back when gentle pressure is applied. Cool for 20 minutes. Use a pairing knife to ease the cake away from the pan around the circumference of the pan, then remove the cake from the pan. Cool completely on a cooling rack.
- Share simply or top with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream or ice cream. Store at room temperature, covered for up to three days. Reheat in a 325 Fahrenheit oven for about 10 minutes.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.