Old-fashioned flavor and simple preparation make this golden sweet cherry cake one of my go-to summer desserts. It is a favorite of friends and family alike. Top with ice cream, whipped cream or serve alone. You can’t go wrong. Tips for reducing sugar and making it dairy-free if needed are included.
Sweet Cherry Cake
For simplicity sake I’m calling this a cake. The original recipe called it a torte. I think it’s really a French Clafouti which is a country-French dessert made with fresh fruit (traditionally cherries) and a thick batter. Some are more cake-like, some more pudding-like. This one is on the cake-y side but still nice and moist.
Thanks to cookbook author and teacher, Tori Ritchie, I first came across this recipe while taking classes at Tante Marie Cooking School in San Francisco more than a decade ago. It’s one of the most requested recipes from the NY Times archives.
The original recipe calls for plums but I use cherries. Instead of wheat flour I use gluten-free flour. I’ve tested it with Bob’s Red Mill and Jovial Foods Whole Grain GF Pastry Flour. Almond extract replaces the vanilla. For dairy-free, see below.
Tools and Dietary Options
- You need either an an 8″ or 9″ springform pan to bake this cake. Buy them online or at a kitchen supply store.
- Parchment paper is used to line the pan bottom to prevent sticking and over baking. Buy them in rounds or sheets then cut them into rounds.
- Disposable kitchen gloves protect hands from the high stain juice of cherries
- A cherry pitter makes faster work of pitting cherries
- To make this cake dairy-free use plant-based butter such as Miyokos or Earth Balance
How to Serve Sweet Cherry Cake
To serve, all this cake needs is the simple embellishment such as a small scoop of ice cream, whipped cream, or a little sweetened plain Greek yogurt work great. Or just eat it plain. It’s that good. Serve it for dessert but sneak a piece for breakfast. The cake can be made a day ahead, cooled, wrapped well and refrigerated. Bring back to room temperature before serving.
Sweet Cherry Cake
- 8" or 9" springform pan
- Parchment paper
- Kitchen gloves (optional)
- Cherry pitter tool
- Non-stick spray or oil
- 24 large fresh sweet cherries
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or gluten-free flour blend 5 ounces
- 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
- pinch of table salt
- 1 stick stick unsalted dairy or dairy-free butter softened, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup organic cane sugar 5 1/2 ounces
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur optional
- 1 extra tablespoon of sugar 1/2 ounce
- Position oven rack in the center and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your pan. Spray or oil the bottom of a 8" springform pan and line the bottom.
- Wash, stem and pit the cherries. You can use a cherry pitter tool or a paring knife. Cut the cherries in half.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat vigorously with a whisk by hand, or with a hand-held electric mixer. Add the eggs and beat until incorporated and the batter is smooth. Add in the almond extract. Add in the flour blend and stir to incorporate until smooth. Batter will be thick.
- Scrape batter into the pan and smooth to the edges with a flexible spatula. Starting at the ouotter edges, place the cherries cut side down on top of the batter completely covering the top. Sprinkle the top with two teaspoons of extra sugar (optional) and drizzle with the Amaretto if using. Bake cake until golden on top, about 50-60 minutes or until a cake tester, toothpick or paring knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove cake from the oven and allow to cool 10 minutes. Run a thin paring knife around the inside of the pan edge to free the cake. Pop the spring and remove the sides of the pan. If serving warm, slice into eight pieces.