Last week I was walking my dog and noticed that my neighbor had a glorious sour cherry tree and it was chock full of red fruit! Now this isn’t a neighbor that I know, we just wave at each other and know that we live on the same block, but that’s the extent of it. Several days later I was walking my dog again and this time my neighbor was out in his yard. We waved and I said “Is that a cherry tree?” “Yes,” he answered. “Oh, I’m so envious! Must be great having fresh cherries!”
[UPDATE] Just inserting an update here, it’s a year later and I’ve picked the tree clean again. Only this year I learned how to can some homemade cherry pie filling! Hope you’ll check it out. :) [END UPDATE]
At that point he informed me that I was welcome to pick as many cherries as my little heart desired because he and his wife don’t use them and they would just go to waste otherwise. GO TO WASTE?? Not with me living down the road! So I took him up on his offer and walked down and picked about 4 pounds. There are still tons on the tree, and I plan to go back and get more soon.
Meanwhile, I didn’t know these were sour cherries until I took a bite of one. Wow! Now those are tart. So immediately I began to worry about what I was going to do with these. Can you tell I’ve never made anything from or baked with sour cherries? Turns out, once baked, these little beauties lose a lot of their tartness and they mesh beautifully with other ingredients.
Now to be fair, I must give credit where credit is due. While searching for recipes using sour cherries, I came across this old post on Chowhound. The original recipe they refer to was called Laurie’s Pear Tart, where a small cake is made in an 8″ springform pan, a lot of the moisture coming from the ripe pears. I’m not sure why it was called a tart, it’s not a tart. It’s a cake. I read in some of the posts that people had successfully used sour cherries, pretty much keeping the recipe the same with the addition of some almond extract and a little bit more sugar.
And so now I give you this amazingly wonderful cake, which really requires no icing or glaze, bursting with moisture and flavor. I’ve renamed it and adjusted ingredients to fit my needs. The edges of the cake have a slight chewy yet crunchy texture and the almond flavor really compliments the cherries. Fabulous! This is great for a nice dessert or even with coffee in the morning. I loved this.
Oh two things:
1) You’ll notice in the recipe it says the poke some of the cherries into the cake and leave some on top. I didn’t do that, I poked them all down into the cake, that’s why most of my cherries are at the bottom of the cake. I will be making this again and will try it as my instructions state below as I saw a lovely picture of a cherry cake someone made with cherries poking through the top.
2) Here’s a funny tidbit for you. I forgot to pit my cherries! LOL So I took the first bite of cake and had to spit out a cherry pit. It was like eating watermelon and spitting out the seeds! hahaha
adapted from Laurie’s Pear Tart
Fresh Sour Cherries & Cherry Almond Cake
IMPORTANT - There are often Frequently Asked Questions within the blog post that you may find helpful. Simply scroll back up to read them!Print It Rate It
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 stick 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp almond extract
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups of pitted sour cherries rinsed but don’t pat dry
- Spray an 8? springform pan with non-stick cooking spray and preheat oven to 350 F. Place prepared pan on a baking sheet and set aside.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Cream together butter, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture until completely combined.
- Spread batter into prepared pan.
- Add cherries to the top of the batter. Leave some of the cherries on top and press some down into the batter. The ones you leave on top will be covered partially by the batter as it bakes. This makes for a pretty appearance.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Do not overbake.
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Excited to find this smaller quantity cake, now that I live alone. I had some hazelnut flour that I had never tried, so I subbed just a 1/4 c. for regular flour. Sour cherries are such a fleeting treat…I happily froze 2.cup portions so I can make this all fall/winter. Thank you!
Amanda Formaro says
Thanks so much Gretchen!
Can I use a 9″ springform pan? Also, can I use sweet cherries instead of sour & do I need to change any of other ingredients because of using the sweet? Thank you!
Amanda Formaro says
I think it would be ok to substitute the cherries without any alterations to the recipe. As for the pan, I’m afraid if you use a 9-inch springform the cake would be too thin. If you have an 8-inch pie plate or round cake pan that would be a better substitute, or maybe even 8-inch square.
linda cum says
did you forget the flour in recipe above? im guessing about 2 cups of four?
Amanda Formaro says
Hi, Linda. Thanks so much for pointing that out. The “1 cup flour” was left out of the recipe when my site switched over. It was hidden in the text of the post :) I have updated the recipe, you will need 1 cup flour. Thanks!
Susan W. says
Thanks so much for posting this recipe. I made it tonight with the last of the sour cherries from my tree and it was absolutely delicious. Can’t wait to make it again next year!
Amanda Formaro says
That’s great to hear Susan! So glad you enjoyed it too :)
Marsha Eichner says
I got a cherry pitter at a local hardware store. Has a plunger deal, however, basically does the same thing the little one does. I picked the cherries off my tree and ended up with 8 1/2 gallon bags full for the freezer. Hope I didn’t make a mistake by not putting “fruit fresh” in on them…..but I quickly threw them in the freezer for later use. The cake recipe looks yummy. Don’t have a spring foam pan….but may try it anyway. Since I found a link to sour cherry pies with almond extract….it made the difference totally. A lot of recipes use nutmeg. It’s disgusting in the pies. BTW…a lot of people are too lazy to pick and pit the cherries. So….just ask a neighbor. They probably are letting their cherries for the birds and the birds will appreciate them!
You’re so right marsha, most people either don’t have time or don’t want to be bothered with picking them. Neighbors are a great resource!
It’s a shame that people in North America don’t appreciate sour cherries. They are very big in Eastern Europe, and I miss them a lot here in Canada. They are so much superior in flavour than tasteless sweet cherries.
Sour cherries make delicious jams and home-made liquors, they are highly praised as fillings in dumplings (called “vareniki)and various pies.
YUMMY. You should have named this recipe a sour cherry macaroon cake :) It’s such a good combination and balances out the sourness well! Thanks!!!
So glad that you liked it as much as we did Leyla!
I have sour cherries in the freezer and was wondering if you ever adjusted the recipe to use them.
I never tried it with frozen but would imagine they would work just fine. Don’t thaw them out, just add them frozen. :)
Thanks so much both of you, I am so glad everyone enjoys it so much!
Hi!! I just finished making this recipe and it is so delicious. I made a double batch because I had so many cherries. Instead of one 8 inc, I made 3 6 inch cakes.
I'm having a difficult time NOT eating all of it by myself!
Thanks for posting!!