Easy and Delicious German Sour Cherry Cake Recipe

This German Sour Cherry Cake is one of the first cakes I learned to bake in my Oma’s kitchen. It’s a fairly simple cake to bake, no special tricks or techniques, no frosting, and no decoration other than a dusting of powdered sugar.  This particular recipe called Apfel oder Kirschkuchen, sehr fein “(Apple or Cherry Cake, very Fine) comes from my beat up copy of  Das Beste Dr Oetker Backbuch. To me, it’s a cake that can be baked for everyday, BUT, it, since it’s “sehr fein”, it will also fit in quite well if you are hosting a Kaffee Klatsch.


As I said, this is not a complex cake. The batter is sweet, but not TOO sweet… and the cherries give a nice sour/sweet bite. I used to use the jar of Morello cherries from Trader Joes, but lately, they don’t carry them anymore. Still, any pitted, sour cherries will work.  DO NOT substitute Maraschino cherries… they aren’t the same at ALL. (BONUS- you get to drink the juice from the cherries… a tart treat my cousins and I always fought over).

If Cherries are too difficult to source, go ahead and use apples instead. Just lay them on top of the batter instead of stirring them in. Bake as usual, and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Honestly, you can’t go wrong if you have another Apple Cake recipe.

german cherry cake


Because the recipe originally comes from a German cookbook, it has metric measurements. American kitchens tend to be set up with measuring cups instead of scales, so I included both. (Of course, you can always use a German Cone Shaped Messbecher, for the best of both worlds!)

All photos by Karen Lodder

german sour cherry cake


German Sour Cherry Cake

cherry cake

German Sour Cherry Cake

A German Sour Cherry Cake is a straightforward and delicious cake that tastes good enough for company, but is easy enough for every day. 
Decorate with a dusting of powdered sugar, and serve with whipped cream.
Cuisine German
Servings 10 -12


  • 125 gr. 1 1/4 stick Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
  • 125 gr. 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Lemon Zest the German Recipe calls for 4 drops Backoel Zitrone; http://amzn.to/2wVqBpy
  • 3 Eggs room Temperature
  • Pinch Salt
  • 200 gr. 1 1/2 cups All purpose Flour
  • 1 Tbl Baking Powder
  • 4 Tbl. Milk
  • 750 gr jar or 350 gr DRAINED Sour Cherries (the Trader Joes jar comes out to right amount after draining)
  • Powdered Sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit
  • Spray or grease the inside of an 11'' (28 cm) Springform Pan
  • Beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest with a mixer until light and fluffy (around 5 minutes). Scrape down the sides and under the beaters occasionally.
  • Slow the mixer down, and add the eggs one at a time until they are incorporated.
  • Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in the measuring cup, and slowly add it to the Sugar/butter/eggs.
  • Alternate with a bit of milk if it looks too dry.
  • The batter should be a bit stiff, but not too stiff... add more milk if it feels too stiff.
  • Stir the cherries into the batter, then..
  • Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 40 minutes.
  • Put a toothpick in the center... if it comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, bake another 5 minutes. It shouldn't take longer than 50 minutes.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for a while.
  • Cut around the edge to loosen the pan, then take the edge of the pan off to finish cooling.
  • Before serving, put the powdered sugar into a sieve or sifter... and sprinkle it generously and evenly across the cake.


If Cherries are too difficult to source, go ahead and use apples instead. Just lay them on top of the batter instead of stirring them in.

Easy German Cookbook

Like this recipe? Why not add my Easy German Cookbook to your recipe collection?
It’s loaded with 80 Classic German Recipes made Simple for the American kitchen.

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Click to Order a SIGNED COPY of the Easy German Cookbook HERE

German Baking Essentials

I find that baking German recipes is much easier if you have the right tools. Springform pans, a scale and a Messbecher make baking a lot more true to the original. And with a springform you have less worry about the cake “sticking”.

Kaiser Springform Pan with 2 Bases, Stainless Steel Black, 28 cmKaiser Springform Pan with 2 Bases, Stainless Steel Black, 28 cmKaiser Springform Pan with 2 Bases, Stainless Steel Black, 28 cmPohl Schmitt Digital Food Kitchen Scale, Multifunctional Weight Measuring for Cooking and Baking in Grams/Ounces, Auto Shut-Off, Stainless Steel (Batteries Included) (Silver)Pohl Schmitt Digital Food Kitchen Scale, Multifunctional Weight Measuring for Cooking and Baking in Grams/Ounces, Auto Shut-Off, Stainless Steel (Batteries Included) (Silver)Pohl Schmitt Digital Food Kitchen Scale, Multifunctional Weight Measuring for Cooking and Baking in Grams/Ounces, Auto Shut-Off, Stainless Steel (Batteries Included) (Silver)

Looking for more German Cake Recipes?

Take a look at this page—> Kaffe and Kuchen Traditional German Cake Recipes

german cherry cake

And more CHERRY Cake Recipes?

Cherry Streusel Cake (with CHOCOLATE) – Kirsch Streusel Kuchen mit Schokolade!

german cherry streusel cake recipe

Sour Cherry, Chocolate, and Cognac Gugelhupf

german sour cherry cake

Blitz Torte with Cherries
Blitz torte recipe

Cherry Streusel Muffins!
(less traditional, but oh SOOO delicious)
cherry streusel muffins


Baking the Cherry Cake

Bake 40 minutes, then check by testing with a toothpick in the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes up with batter, bake another 5 minutes.
Cake should be a nice golden brown.

german sour cherry cake


Release sides, and let cool completely. Then transfer from cake pan to a serving plate.
german sour cherry cake

Sprinkle the top with a generous amount of powdered sugar, and serve.
german cherry cake recipe

 Cake is best the same day, or the next day…. but it will keep for a few more days in the refrigerator.




german cherry cake recipe


55 thoughts on “Easy and Delicious German Sour Cherry Cake Recipe

  1. In your directions you say to add in the “baking soda”…don’t you mean the baking powder…Baking powder is what is listed in the main ingredient list.. Also in the recipe, Do you mean 2 tsp (teaspoons) baking powder or 2 tablespoons ? 2 Tablespoons seems likes a lot of baking powder. I did not catch this until after I had mine in the oven..hope it comes out okay.

    1. Sorry about that.. yes, it is Baking Powder… and oddly enough, it is Tablespoons….

  2. This cake was delicious. I will make this again. I am German, first generation. I had the morello cherries in my cabinet for quite some time and decided to search and find a quick, easy, and yummy recipe to make with the cherries. Thank you!

    1. Wonderful! I”m glad you liked it! It’s a family favorite here.

  3. I don’t have an 11 in spring form pan will a 9 in work?

    1. It should… from what I understand, you might want to watch how full the pan gets, so you don’t have an overflow. It might need to bake a bit longer because it’s thicker, but the temperature is the same

  4. Are you using 2 Tablespoons of American baking powder? The standard for baking powder is 1 t. per 1 cup flour. I would love to try this recipe because it looks delicious, but I am worried about the amount of baking powder listed here.

    1. Oh No! I’m sorry… typo
      Should be 1 TBL
      I will fix it immediately

  5. The cherries remained on during and after baking. I made batter per recipe it looked like the picture. any idea why that would occur?

    1. Hmmm… no. I’ve made this cake often, and they sink in….

  6. My cherries didn’t sink in either. We haven’t eaten yet but looking forward to trying it

    1. My cherries didn’t sink in either…but the cake was delicious!! Great recipe

  7. Hey, I like your Blog Post. I recently published an post on preserving meat. I love to make my own beef for Fall!. We will be making a fun dessert to go with it. The children will be on holiday and I am positive they are going to enjoy it.

  8. Why can’t you push the cherries in? Lots of other recipes for “sunken” sour cherry cakes…have you tried it and something bad happens? Thanks!

  9. Cherries do not sink in. As a result, I would recommend adding the milk, because the dough is too stiff to let the cherries do any sinking at all. My 9-inch cake form worked fine, but the cherries on top result is a disaster.

  10. Well, I can say that something is amiss. I did this twice, and the second time i added all the milk and still the cherries did not sink one bit. As several others have experienced the same problem, I have to conclude either your batter is thinner or you live in an anomaly where gravity is stronger. Do me a favor and weigh yourself and then when you are at least 150 miles away, weigh yourself again. Are you 5-7 pounds lighter? That would explain why your cherries sink. Seriously, there is something about your procedure or ingredients resulting in this poor outcome. Are your cherries juicier and therefore sink? I’m making this in Germany with all German ingredients and those cherries are insisting on staying on top.

    1. Hi Bob… I’ve changed the recipe to account for gravity. (Actually, I have no idea why it doesn’t work there… but go ahead and add more milk to the batter, then stir the cherries in)

  11. Delicious cherry cake! My family loved it and I’m making it again. I used gluten-free flour as I’m coeliac and it worked fine.

    1. what kind of flour did you use, and how much? I can make a note in the recipe for other people..

  12. Can frozen cherries be used? I have a bunch in my freezer…

    1. YES! My mom does it all the time (and she doesn’t always pit them first!)

      1. My mom never took the pits out of the fresh cherries when she made the cake,, I never though to ask her why,, but that is how she always made it,,

        1. Pitting cherries is messy work… my Oma’s kitchen always looked like a war zone when she was done. It’s easier to let people spit out the pits.

  13. I make this sour cherry cake all the time and my family loves. Today, I went to Trader Joe’s to pick up a couple of jars of sour cherries. The shelf was bare and they have discontinued this item. I have complained to Trader Joe’s. Any other place for these?

    1. WHAT! how can they just discontinue Morello Cherries?
      I’m on the hunt.
      I saw that Walmart advertises them online, but they are out of stock.
      Amazon has them as Oregon Cherries–> https://amzn.to/2A6IO84

      1. Aldi store has them as does Amazon. Same size jar as recommended.

        1. Thanks… sadly, not everyone is close to an Aldi

      1. My mom lives near an Aldi, and she just bought me 5 jars!

      2. My mom lives near an Aldi, and just bought me 5 jars!

  14. Use of pitted fresh sour cherries is sublime and is much better than in jars (what to do with the liquid left over). The cake batter is good but I mixed the fresh cherries in the dough before baking. Turned out delicious.

  15. I made this cake today and it turned out beautiful and light and delicious. No problem at all with the cherries here in Australia 😀

  16. I wonder if using a box cake mix would be ok. If it’s chocolate, chocolate covered cherry cake, vanilla or white cherry cloud, yellow???? Mellow Yellow Cherry, I’m going to try with one of them.

    1. it’s been my experience that American cake mixes are “fluffier” than German cake. That said… why not try it?
      Use my cake mix trick- Since cake mix settles when it’s on a store shelf, run it through a sieve to get any solid bits out. Then add 2 tablespoons of flour to the mix. Follow the rest of the directions as written on the box.

      If the batter is still fairly light, coat the cherries in a tablespoon of flour before adding to the cake. It will hopefully keep them from sinking.

  17. I made this three times and it has been perfect every try! Easy and delicious!

  18. I was an au pair in a German family one summer long ago, and the family called this Spuckkuchen because unpitted cherries were used.

    1. Hahahaha… my mother and Oma always put out little dishes to catch the pits

  19. I don’t mean to gloat but I have a farmer who supplies me with 10 kilos of fresh sour cherries from his trees every year. This keeps me going all year until the next season. .. real handy. And your cake does just the trick. I also add all the juice from the cherries to the cake. Turns out great every time. Thanks for sharing

    1. super jealous! I remember helping my Oma pit kilos and kilos of cherries… the kitchen looked like a disaster after, but it was so worth it.

  20. I was so happy to find Morello Cherries at Aldi last week and tried this recipe today I will definitely make it again.

    When I was young, my mom had a sour cherry tree, we froze so many cherries and would eat them straight from the tub.

    1. Lucky you! We never had a cherry tree… but we had peaches and apricots. Isn’t it wonderful to have fruit trees? Like having delicious riches!

  21. I have dried tart cherries from Trader Joe’s. Can I rehydrate them and use 350g of drained cherries in the recipe.

    1. I’ve never tried that. It should work, I think.

  22. I waited and waited and waited for our sour cherry trees to produce and now I’m overrun with them. I’m definitely not complaining but, I needed every recipe I could get my hands on to use them up. Well this recipe is as they say “A Keeper”. It’s easy to make and delicious. I love that it isn’t too sweet. Thank you for posting this!

  23. If you have an Aldi nearby, they have the sour cherries. That’s why I came here- to find a recipe I can use them in.

    1. My Aldi is a bit further away… fortunately, there are 2 near my mama, and she stocks up for me

  24. Hi all – made this last night using 390g frozen tart cherries (we have a local orchard). It came to about 2 cups. The cake only rose to about 1” high. Is that normal? The cherries all sunk down, and the taste is great.

    Has anyone tried increasing the cherry content? Or adding almond extract?

    1. It really doesn’t rise that high.
      One method of keeping the cherries high is to just put them on top of the batter before baking… or you can toss them in a tablespoon of flour before adding.

  25. I made this today. It was perfect and as described. Plain but tasty. I used frozen berries as I couldn’t find jars. I usually use the Hungarian ones which are the best (Andxwe also love the juice!)

    1. THose jars are getting harder to find. I’m glad the frozen worked well for you.

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