This homemade maraschino cherry cake has a buttery-soft texture, beautiful pink color and delicious cherry flavor. The cake uses both chopped maraschino cherries and maraschino jerry juice, along with maraschino cherry juice in the frosting. The recipe can easily be adapted to make a layer cake – but I love the simplicity of making it in a 9×13 inch pan. The beautiful color, moist cake crumb, and delicious cherry flavor – this maraschino cherry cake is definitely a favorite!
I love baking with maraschino cherries because they give desserts the most beautiful pink color. This maraschino cherry cake perfect for Valentine’s Day, or whenever you want a truly stunning dessert, and the sweet cherry flavor tastes incredible with the tender, buttery cake crumb. It’s not too sweet, and just a hint of almond extract helps to balance out the cherry flavor.
Maraschino Cherry Cake from Scratch
Whenever I see the box of cherry chip cake mix in the grocery store I always think that I should make my own recipe from scratch. This recipe takes a few more steps than the box mix – but the flavor and texture make it soooo worth it. This cherry cake is based off of my favorite white cake recipe – meaning that we’re using just egg whites as opposed to the egg yolks as well (like yellow cake).
To get started, you’ll sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and give them a whisk. We’re using cake flour in this recipe because it gives a softer, more delicate cake crumb. Sifting together the ingredients gets rid of any lumps in the flour – which is super important when using cake flour. Then whisking together the dry ingredients ensures that the baking powder and baking soda get evenly mixed throughout the cake batter.
Then in a separate bowl – you’ll beat together the softened butter and sugar. This process of creaming together the butter and sugar aerates the batter, which gives the cake lift. You want the butter to be softened in order for the properly cream together the butter and sugar. Then you’ll beat in the egg whites, almond extract and vanilla extract. Using just egg whites makes the cake lighter in texture. And I absolutely love how the almond extract and vanilla add so much flavor to the cake. Then you’ll mix in the maraschino cherry juice to give the cake it’s beautiful color and sweet, cherry flavor.
Sour cream makes the cake moist. I love using sour cream in cakes and cupcakes because I find it makes the cake perfectly moist and tender, and helps the cake stay moist longer. When mixing in the sour cream, you’ll alternate between additions of the sour cream and dry ingredients into the butter mixture. This process of mixing in a little of the sour cream, then a little of the dry ingredients helps the batter mix together evenly. I typically do about ⅓ at a time.
Then you’ll carefully stir in the chopped maraschino cherries, and the batter is ready to bake.
The cherry buttercream is a simple frosting that’s tinted and flavored with the juice from your jar of maraschino cherries. It’s sweet, fluffy, creamy and has such a beautiful pink color. You can also add in a couple drops of red food coloring if you want the color more vibrant – but I was able to achieve the color pictured with just cherry juice.
Baking Tips & Tricks
- Make sure your butter, eggs and sour cream are room temperature before getting started. This ensures everything mixes together evenly, without over mixing.
- I purchased two 12 oz (340 gram) jars of maraschino cherries to make this cake. Including cherries to decorate the top of each slice, I had leftover cherries. If you choose not to top each slice of cake with cherries – you could get away with buying just one 12-16 oz jar.
- If you don’t have cake flour (although I highly recommend using cake flour in this recipe) measure out 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour. Then remove ⅓ cup all-purpose flour, and add in ⅓ cup corn starch. Sift together 3 times.
- Make a cherry chip cake instead by substituting the 20 chopped maraschino cherries with 1 cup of mini chocolate chips. Regular-sized chocolate chips can end up sinking to the bottom of the cake.
- After the cake is baked and fully cooled, it can be wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, then bring to room temperature and frost.
To turn this recipe into a cherry layer cake:
- Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans (or line the bottom with parchment paper and grease and flour the sides).
- Pour the batter into the two 8-inch round cake pans.
- Bake in the oven preheated to 350F degrees on the middle rack for 25-30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean and the cake feels firm to a gentle touch.
- Cool the cakes in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert and continue cooling.
- Double the frosting recipe to have enough to frost the middle, sides and top of the cherry layer cake.
More Cake Recipes to Love
- Chocolate Sheet Cake
- Perfect White Cake Recipe
- Easy Red Velvet Cake
- Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Maraschino Cherry Cake
- 2 ½ cups cake flour* not self-rising
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 4 large egg whites discard the yolks
- ½ cup maraschino cherry juice
- ⅔ cup sour cream
- 20 maraschino cherries finely chopped
Maraschino Cherry Frosting
- ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
Maraschino Cherry Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and position the oven rack in the middle.
- Lightly grease a 9x13 inch metal cake pan, then dust with flour.
- In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Then whisk together.
- In a separate large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Add in the vanilla extract and almond extract, then mix in the egg whites 1 at a time.
- Mix in the maraschino cherry juice.
- With the mixer on low speed, beat in about ⅓ of the sour cream followed by about ⅓ of the flour mixture. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Repeat the process until all the sour cream and dry ingredients are incorporated.
- Gently fold in the chopped cherries using a large rubber spatula.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean and the cake feels slightly firm to a gentle touch.
- Let the cake cool fully before frosting.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter until soft and fluffy.
- Add in the salt.
- Beat in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with 1 tablespoon of maraschino cherry juice until the desired thickness and sweetness is reached.
- Frost the cooled cake, slice into pieces and optionally top each piece with a maraschino cherry.
Love the cake recipe. The frosting recipe is ok, but I prefer a frosting with less sugar.
Thanks so much for the feedback! I’m glad you enjoyed the cake
Can this be made in 8 inch or 9 inch pas? If so what would be the temp and baking time?
You would need to half the recipe for a 9×9 or 8×8 inch pan. The temperature would be the same, but I think the bake time would be about 3-5 minutes shorter for an 8×8 or 5-10 minutes shorter for a 9×9. You’ll just need to watch carefully.