Ida's Cherry Cake

June 24, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

I love old-fashioned recipes, and this one begins with "Butter the size of an egg". Many years ago, my childhood friend Jessie flew across the country to visit me. She baked a simple yet delicious cake with fresh cherries, a recipe she had been given by her boyfriend's grandmother. Jessie and Dave have been married for about thirty years now, and Grandma Ida lived to celebrate her 100th birthday, baking well into her later years. I've made this cake, a few variations, every summer since Jessie's visit! —Lizthechef

What You'll Need
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup organic cane or white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups AP unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups pitted dark sweet cherries
  • Powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet. Stir in milk, vanilla and almond extract.
  3. Butter a 9 inch square baking dish and line with pitted cherries. Pour batter over cherries and bake 30 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean. Dust with sifted powdered sugar while cake is cooling.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jessica Branham
    Jessica Branham
  • Evelyn
  • Adriana Giannini
    Adriana Giannini
  • slulibby
  • Sunchowder

21 Reviews

Jessica B. August 22, 2021
I tried this on a rainy Sunday afternoon. I used my Kitchenaid stand mixer with the paddle... and on the first try, when I added the flour, I looked away to grab the milk and the batter was too dense and overmixed. So I started again. This time, I was careful, but I think where the recipe states to "Add dry mixture", it should more clearly state to stir in the flour. I use King Arther All-purpose flour, which does have more gluten than others. And it was clear this cake had some gluten build since I added it until just wet using the stand mixer. Should've stirred in the flour, as well as the milk. It's baking now, but it definitely didn't pour into the pan. I had to "slap" it on the cherries and really smear it to cover them all. I may have sweet cherry bread coming out of the oven. Anyway, baker beware.
Evelyn August 8, 2020
I was kind of hesitant making this because there weren't too many reviews but wow it was delicious! I had some cherries that weren't very sweet but I didn't want them to go to waste so I used them in this recipe. The cake turned out perfect, and wasn't overly sweet. I made a youtube video ( featuring this recipe - the only thing I would change is to add the powdered sugar after the cake cools down, not while it's cooling.
Dorka September 9, 2018
Hello! My daughter (Ida) requested cherry cake for her birthday. Can I make these with frozen cherries? Thank You!
Andrea D. September 9, 2017
I want to try this recipe-- it looks delicious-- but I'm wondering shy the cherries are used to line the pan, then the batter is poured over them? Doesn't this result in a cherry upside down cake effect? Why not fold them gently into the batter? Is it because they'll sink to the bottom anyway? Or stain the batter pink (that could be kind of pretty, couldn't it)? So many questions! :)
Andrea D. September 9, 2017
"why", not "shy"! Posted before I proofread...
Adriana G. June 27, 2017
This turned out to be one of the best cakes I've ever made. Thanks for the recipe!
beejay45 May 18, 2015
Well, for goodness sake! Someone in my childhood used to make this, and we all loved it. Unfortunately, no one has the recipe now. I've been faking it with self-rising flour, black cherry vanilla ice cream and some melted butter. LOL! Although that comes out pretty good, it's not the same. Now I have the real recipe! YAY! Thank you, Lizthechef!
Lizthechef May 18, 2015
I'm so happy to share it - by the way, my friend Jessie, who will visit me here this summer, insists the cake tastes better if you leave the pits in the cherries and spit them out as you enjoy the cake!
Amber November 17, 2013
Made it tonight. It was really delish! The cake was really dense almost like a cornbread texture. I added a little more almond extract just because I'm addicted to all things with that in it. Loved the recipe. Thanks for sharing!
Lizthechef November 17, 2013
I'm so glad it was a hit for you - I love dense, moist cake.
slulibby July 1, 2010
oh man--cherrys+powdered sugar=happy mouth. It reminds me of a dish that I saw a lot living in saint louis, the gooie butter cake. Soft cake is the best. great plate too!
Lizthechef July 1, 2010
Thanks - the plate belonged to my great-grandmother and is antique Limoges. It lives in the china closet, mostly...Dig those cherry blossoms!
Sunchowder July 1, 2010
This looks so good Liz! I am printing this off to make with my leftover cherries :)
Sagegreen June 26, 2010
Simple recipes are often the best! Yes, I was very busy last week pitting, too, as you noticed.
Lizthechef June 26, 2010
I was so impressed by all you turned out that I wondered if you took time to sleep;)
TheWimpyVegetarian June 26, 2010
This sounds really great, Liz! Definitely going to make it.
MyCommunalTable June 26, 2010
I love this recipe. Could you switch what fruit you use? Like the history as well
Lizthechef June 26, 2010
This is such a ritual for me that it's hard to think about a substitute - blueberries, maybe?
Jaynerly June 25, 2010
I love the sound of Ida's cake! Sounds so easy I will have to make it!
Lizthechef June 25, 2010
It is a simple recipe - the hardest part is pitting the cherries - buy a pitter and hand it to your husband as I did ;)
Lizthechef June 24, 2010
ps. The 4 T. butter is my best guess re "...the size of an egg". Works OK.