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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 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

How should it look?

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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)

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

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

  13. 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.


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