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.

Old fashioned Cherry cake with fresh cherry blossoms.

A Classic German cake

This cake is so simple, but so good! My 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!

Cherry cake all year round

The first cherry trees will soon 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. Perfect for a burst of freshness in the winter months.


To make this rustic cherry cake, you’ll need the following main ingredients:

  • Butter: I always use unsalted butter in my baking as that way I can control the amount of salt in the final product.
  • Sugar: Plain white sugar allows the flavour of the cherries to shine.
  • Eggs: I use European size L eggs (that’s an XL in the US!)
  • Vanilla Extract: For that freshly baked aroma. A few drops of almond extract will make the cherry flavour really pop!
  • Flour and baking powder: Plain or all purpose flour is suitable in this recipe.
  • Cherries: This cake can be made with fresh, pitted cherries but it is usually made with sour cherries from the jar. You might see them in shops sold as Morello cherries. TIP: Give each cherry a squeeze before you put it in the cake, sometimes there are stones accidentally left in!

The recipe card at the bottom of the page contains the complete ingredient list and method.


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?)

This 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?)

Old Fashioned Cherry Cake
Old Fashioned Cherry Cake
Look how beautifully moist the cake is. SO GOOD!


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 European size L eggs ( 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 with fresh cherry blossoms.
Old fashioned Cherry cake with fresh cherry blossoms.

Old Fashioned Cherry Cake

Jay Wadams
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.
4.66 from 40 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Serves 6 Serves


  • 125 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 125 g white sugar
  • 3 large eggs, U.S size XL
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50 ml vegetable oil
  • 50 ml whole milk
  • 200 g plain or all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 700 g jar of sour cherries, well-drained, or 500g fresh cherries, pitted
  • powdered sugar, to serve


  • PREPARE: Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4 and line a 20x30cm baking dish or tin with baking paper.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.

Recommended Equipment

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Serving: 1slice | Calories: 504kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 263mg | Potassium: 142mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 1078IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 158mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Leave a review or a star rating and let me know how it was! Use the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram so I can see your delicious creations.
Course | Baking
Cuisine | European
Jay Wadams
Jay Wadams

Jay Wadams is a cookbook author, food photographer and Le Cordon Bleu Gastronomy and Nutrition graduate. Based in Italy 🇮🇹 Germany 🇩🇪 and Australia 🇦🇺.

Articles: 333

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