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Sour cherry cake is a beautiful seasonal adaptation of my all-time favorite Norwegian Gold cake. The tart cherries really shine in this rich golden dessert perfumed with vanilla and almond.

a slice of sour cherry cake on a plate with the rest of the cake on a stand behind it
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Why we love this recipe

When I decided to make a sour cherry cake, I knew right away that I wanted it to be an adaptation of my favorite cake in the world. Norwegian Gold is substantial like pound cake, but also incredibly moist and tender. It’s rich and straightforward and totally memorable.

In this seasonal version:

  • Tart cherries pair perfectly with the vanilla and almond
  • The cherries’ brightness adds a welcome new new dimension
  • A simple dusting of powdered sugar lets the cake and fruit shine

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe. Take them out well in advance so the butter and eggs will be at room temperature before you start mixing.

ingredients in bowls
  • Sour cherries, also called tart cherries, are delicate, thin-skinned, and bright red. As the name suggests, they’re very sour, and they have a floral briskness that really shines when lightly sweetened. They come in several varieties, including Moreno and Montmorency (pictured). You can use them interchangeably.
  • Good old all-purpose flour gets sifted into the butter, creating a gorgeous crumb
  • This recipe uses five whole eggs, which makes it rich and golden-colored
  • A tiny bit of almond extract goes a long way — and pairs perfectly with the cherries
  • I’ve brightened up this version with a bit of lemon zest

How to make it

Here’s what you’ll to do make a beautiful sour cherry cake. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get the all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. The only tedious part of this easy recipe is prepping the cherries. You’ll need to pit and quarter them, then dry them as well as possible between layers and layers of paper towels. Toss them with a couple of tablespoons of the flour.
  2. Beat the butter and flour together for five minutes. This unusual mixing method produces a substantial yet tender cake. Then add the eggs one at a time, followed by the sugar, baking powder, salt, and extracts.
  3. Fold in the the cherries and lemon zest and scoop into a prepared bundt or tube pan.
  4. Bake in the center of a 325°F oven for 55 minutes. Once cooled completely, dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Expert tips and FAQs

Really? Cream the butter with the flour?

I know. But yes. The texture of this cake is exceptional, partly due to the creaming technique. I’ve tried swapping the order and creaming the sugar and butter instead, just for research purposes, and it doesn’t achieve the same special result. Just do it.

Why a bundt or tube pan?

These pan styles are brilliant because they allow the heat to circulate in the center of the cake. This cake has a gorgeous, brown crust and a tender center, and a bundt or tube pan really makes the most of that combination.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

Yes, you can make it up to 24 hours in advance. Dust with powdered sugar right before serving. Once completely cool, cover and keep at room temperature. Store leftovers the same way for up to three or four days.

More favorite sour cherry recipes

a slice of sour cherry cake on a plate with the rest of the cake on a stand behind it

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a slice of sour cherry cake on a plate with the rest of the cake on a stand behind it
4.36 from 17 votes

Sour Cherry Cake

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Sour cherry cake is a beautiful seasonal adaptation of my all-time favorite Norwegian Gold cake. The tart cherries really shine in this rich golden dessert perfumed with vanilla almond.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 10
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Ingredients 

For the cake

  • 2 cups (300 grams) sour cherries
  • 1 ⅔ cups (190 grams) sifted all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 cup 2 sticks (227 grams) unsalted butter
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups (300 grams) sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (7 grams) baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon

To finish

  • Powdered sugar, optional

Instructions 

For the cake

  • Have all ingredients at room temperature.
  • Preheat the oven to 325° F. with a rack in the center. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube or bundt pan.
  • Pit and stem the cherries and cut them into quarters. Dry as well as possible between layers of paper towels. Since they’re fresh, they will definitely retain some moisture — but do your best.
  • Stir the quartered cherries together with two tablespoons of the flour.
  • In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat butter and remaining sifted flour together for five minutes on medium speed. 
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition to incorporate.
  • Add sugar, baking powder, salt, and vanilla and almond extracts. Beat for two minutes more.
  • Fold lemon zest and cherries into batter.
  • Scoop batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake for about 55 minutes, until golden and beginning to pull away slightly from the sides of the pan.
  • Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a rack to cool completely before serving.

Before serving

  • If you like, dust with powdered sugar right before serving.

Notes

  1. Sour cherries, also called tart cherries, are delicate, thin-skinned, and bright red. As the name suggests, they’re very sour, and they have a floral briskness that really shines when lightly sweetened. They come in several varieties, including Moreno and Montmorency (pictured). You can use them interchangeably.
  2. Don’t be tempted to alter the unusual mixing method in this recipe. I’ve tried swapping the order and creaming the sugar and butter instead, just for research purposes, and it doesn’t achieve the same special result.
  3. Baking in a bundt or tube pan allows the heat to circulate in the center of the cake. This cake has a gorgeous, brown crust and a tender center, and a bundt or tube pan really makes the most of that combination.
  4. Because the cherries are fresh, they will sink to the bottom of the batter (which becomes the top of the cake when inverted) even though you have quartered them, dried them, and tossed them with flour. This can cause a little bit of sticking when you turn out the cake, so be sure to grease and flour the pan well before adding the batter. If you’re using a tube pan rather than a bundt, you can line the bottom with parchment to help the cake come out easily.
  5. You can make the cake up to 24 hours in advance. Dust with powdered sugar right before serving. Once completely cool, cover and keep at room temperature. Store leftovers the same way for up to three or four days.

Nutrition

Calories: 287kcal, Carbohydrates: 33.1g, Protein: 4.6g, Fat: 16.2g, Fiber: 1.3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Cakes
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.36 from 17 votes (17 ratings without comment)

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