Old Fashioned Cherry Cake

My Old Fashioned Cherry Cake is a lovely, dense, rustic cake, full of deliciously tart sour cherries. Perfect for afternoon tea or to pack for a summer picnic.

This Old Fashioned Cherry Cake is exactly the sort of cake I often crave. Quickly made, with no fancy ingredients, I don’t even use a special cake tin to cook it in, just a battered old roasting tray that somehow seems to suit it perfectly. Even though it is simple, it’s rich and satisfying. The sort of cake you have a slice, or two, or three with a cup of tea and a good book, or bring to a friend’s house to share with a coffee and loads of gossip.

What’s so special about this cake?

It’s so simple, but so good! Old Fashioned Cherry Cake is a German classic, known here as ‘Versunkener Kirschkuchen’ and trust me, Germans know how to make good cakes. I often look around online and see the most beautiful, extravagant cakes. Seeing these towering works of art and engineering, with multi-layers and adventurous flavours I’m always amazed by how incredibly clever people can be.

As lovely as these cakes are to look at, I am much more likely to cook a simple cake like this at home. After all, there are only two of us and there is only so much cake we can eat!

There’s cherry blossoms on the trees, spring is coming!

The first cherry trees are filling up with beautiful blossom, meaning fresh cherries are still a few months away. This cake, however, can be made all year round using sour cherries from the jar. If you can’t get cherries, don’t worry. Any soft fruit will work here: apricots, peaches, raspberries or even grapes are equally good!

This cake gets better with age (don’t we all?)

Old Fashioned Cherry Cake is even better the day after baking as the fruit has time to flavour and moisten the cake. It also freezes beautifully, as ling as you wrap it up well, so you can stash it away in the freezer for a cake emergency. (Is it just me who has cake emergencies?)

Keep the Syrup From the jar

A last thought. Don’t throw away the lovely juice or syrup from the cherries, it’s is terrific mixed with a little gin and soda water for a summery spritzer. Take care of yourselves and each other out there and happy baking! x J

Old Fashioned Cherry Cake

Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram.


Can I make this cake with other fruit?

Any soft fruit will work here: apricots, peaches, raspberries or even grapes are equally good!

Can I make Old Fashioned Cherry cake gluten-free?

I’ve not tried it, but I suspect your choice of gluten-free flour will work in this cake. Let me know if you do and I’ll update the recipe!

Can I freeze Cherry cake?

Yes, you can! Wrap it well and freeze for up to 3 months.

Can I make Cherry cake in a round cake pan?

Sure! A 23cm/9in. diameter round pan would be fine.

Looking for more Cherry Cake Recipes?

How about a Black Magic Cherry Cake? Or a traditional Black Forest Cherry Cake? Yum!

How much does a Large egg weigh?

Aha! One of my favourite questions. Egg sizes are not eggzactly the same around the world (you see what I did there). I do most of my baking in my German kitchen, so I use a European size L egg ( average weight 63g). In the US / Canada you’ll want to use an Extra Large egg size (ca. 2.25 oz.).

Old Fashioned Cherry Cake
Old Fashioned Cherry Cake
Old Fashioned Cherry Cake
Old Fashioned Cherry Cake

Old Fashioned Cherry Cake

Yield: 6 Serves
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

My Old Fashioned Cherry Cake is a lovely, dense, rustic cake full of deliciously tart sour cherries. Perfect for afternoon tea or to pack for a summer picnic.


  • 125 g (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 125 g (½ heaped cup) white sugar
  • 3 large eggs (U.S size XL)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50 ml (3 Tbsp) neutral oil
  • 50 ml (3 Tbsp) milk
  • 200 g (1 + ¼ cups) plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 700 g (24 oz.) jar of sour cherries, well-drained, or 500g fresh cherries, pitted
  • powdered sugar, to serve


  1. PREPARE: Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4 and line a 20x30cm baking dish or tin with baking paper.
  2. CREAM BUTTER AND SUGAR: Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla extract, oil and milk until well combined.
  3. STIR THROUGH DRY INGREDIENTS: In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the liquid ingredients, stirring until just combined. Use a spatula to scrape the mixture into the prepared baking dish, smoothing the top so it is even.
  4. ADD THE CHERRIES: Scatter the cherries evenly across the top (with jarred cherries I always check very carefully to remove any cherry stones. Nobody wants to crack a tooth).
  5. BAKE: Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. As there is a lot of fruit in this cake, take care to check that the middle of the cake is cooked through. If the cake is browning too much on the top, it’s better to cover the cake loosely with tin foil than to reduce the cooking time.
  6. COOL AND SERVE: Allow the cake to cool in the tin. Just before serving, dust generously with powdered sugar, then slice into squares. Serve with whipped cream, yoghurt or crème fraîche.


By popular request I have included cup measurements here in this recipe, though for baking I highly recommend using a small electric scale like the one below. You will have the most accurate results using an electric scale which can also easily convert between the metric and imperial system.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 670Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 138mgSodium: 441mgCarbohydrates: 100gFiber: 5gSugar: 66gProtein: 9g

Nutrition information is calculated automatically and isn’t always accurate.

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Looking for more Easy baking recipes? Why not try:

Flaky Pastry Apricot Tart

Jay Wadams
Jay Wadams

Jay Wadams is a cookbook author and food photographer. Jay is the author of two cookbooks: 'Tasty' (2017) and 'Simply Summer' (2019). Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.

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