Home German Foods and Recipes Easy and Delicious German Sour Cherry Cake Recipe
Easy and Delicious German Sour Cherry Cake Recipe

Easy and Delicious German Sour Cherry Cake Recipe




german sour cherry cake

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.

german cherry cake recipeAs 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 tend to use the jar of Morello cherries from Trader Joes, but any pitted, sour cherries will work.  DO NOT substitute Maraschino cherries… they aren’t the same at ALL. You don’t even have to mix the cherries into the batter…. just spread the drained cherries across the cake, and let gravity do its job. (BONUS- you get to drink the juice from the cherries… a tart treat my cousins and I always fought over).

As the title implies, you can substitute apple slices for cherries… just lay them out in a pretty pattern. Like the cherries, they will sink down into the batter a bit (they just won’t disappear).

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

German Sour Cherry Cake

Yield: 10-12

german sour cherry cake


  • 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
  • 1- 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... And it shouldn't be liquid. I find that 2 TBL of milk is usually enough, on the average day. You may need more or less depending on the humidity.
  • Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Now scatter the drained cherries across the batter... don't push them down into the batter, and try to keep them off the edge. (The ones on the edge get really dark)
  • 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.

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”.

TrueCraftware 5 Piece - 5 Piece Nesting Non-stick Carbon Steel Springform Cake Pan Set with Quick Release Clips and Removable Waffle Texture BottomsTrueCraftware 5 Piece – 5 Piece Nesting Non-stick Carbon Steel Springform Cake Pan Set with Quick Release Clips and Removable Waffle Texture BottomsSoehnle 65105, Style Digital Kitchen Scale, SilverSoehnle 65105, Style Digital Kitchen Scale, SilverKaiser 769080 Measuring Cup 16.9 Oz, SilverKaiser 769080 Measuring Cup 16.9 Oz, Silver


Step By Step Images for Baking a German Sour Cherry Cake

Spread the Batter into a Prepared Springform Pan
german sour cherry cake

Spread the DRAINED sour cherries across the batter. Don’t push them in.
german sour 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 sour cherry cake

Looking for more German Cake Recipes?

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

Or one of these recipe books….

Classic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernüsse to StreuselkuchenClassic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernüsse to StreuselkuchenGerman Baking TodayGerman Baking TodayDR. OETKER BACKBUCHDR. OETKER BACKBUCH

german 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.

  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. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!


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