This Cherry Sponge Cake is a simple but elegant dessert that will melt in your mouth. This German recipe is perfect with a hot cup of coffee and makes for a delicious afternoon treat.
The original recipe is a traditional German dessert from my grandmother's "treasure chest".
Whenever the family got together, Oma miraculously whipped up another cake for our afternoon coffee hour. A German tradition also known as "Kaffee und Kuchen". And her Cherry Almond Cake ("Rührkuchen") was among our favorites.
Rührkuchen ("whisk cakes") are really easy because essentially you're all you do is whisk a number of ingredients into a smooth batter.
Add some of your favorite fillings, bake, and decorate with sugar or a glaze. And with just a little bit of prep, you've yourself a delicious afternoon treat.
Once she taught me how to make the basic recipe, I understood why she'd make it so often.
It's really easy to make, hard to mess up, and you can easily customize it to suit what you have in your fridge and pantry.
And like all bundt cakes, it makes for a dramatic presentation when you bring it to the table. Serve this cake with a dollop (or two) of whipped cream and you'll feel like you're in a German bakery.
Why This German Sponge Cake Works
LIGHT AND MOIST - The batter is light, moist, and incredibly delicious.
CUSTOMIZABLE - Cherries and Almonds are a great combination. But you can easily customize this and add other fresh or even canned fruits.
BEGINNER FRIENDLY - It's a forgiving cake recipe. Simply combine all of the ingredients and beat them with a hand mixer. Add in cherries and almonds and your cake is ready to go into the oven.
EASY INGREDIENTS - For this German Sponge Cake we'll use simple pantry and fridge staples! My favorite kind of cake recipe!
BUTTER - You've heard me say this before. But make sure to use unsalted butter. For this recipe, you'll want to make sure to use softened, room-temperature butter.
EGGS - I generally use large eggs for this recipe, but have had good results with ultra-large eggs as well. Unlike other recipes, you don't have to separate egg yolks.
FLOUR - This is where I didn't exactly follow Oma's recipe. Instead of using all-purpose flour with a raising agent, I typically prefer self-rising flour. It's just easier.
VANILLA EXTRACT - If I were to make this recipe in Germany, I'd recommend using 1 package of vanilla sugar. And you can make this substitution if your grocery store carries vanilla sugar (mine actually does). But for simplicity's sake, I'm using vanilla extract for this recipe adaptation.
SUGAR - We'll use two types of sugar for this recipe. For the batter, we'll use granulated sugar. To finish and garnish the sponge cake we'll use a couple of tablespoons of confectioner's (powdered) sugar. (Psst, it's also great to cover any imperfections.)
FILLINGS - Cherries, sliced almonds, and a bit of fresh lemon juice. If you want to boost the lemon flavor you can also add a bit of lemon zest. I don't always do, so it's not part of the recipe.
How To Make This German Cake
For step-by-step instructions please print the recipe card below.
For this recipe, I'm using cherries from a jar (I get mine at Trader Joe's). Be sure to drain the cherries and remove as much moisture as possible. And give the cherries a light dusting of flour before adding them to the batter. This will help to make sure the cherries don't clump together.
Making the batter
- Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl until well combined.
- Add eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extra and continue to beat with an electric mixer until well combined. Slowly add flour to the batter and continue to beat until the batter is smooth.
- Use a spatula to carefully fold in the flour-dusted cherries and sliced almonds.
Finishing The Cake
- Pour the batter into a pre-greased cake pan can and bake at 350º Fahrenheit for 50-55 minutes.
- Allow the cake to cool for 15-20 minutes, invert the cake onto a wire rack.
- Wait until the cake has cooled completely, transfer onto a cake plate, and dust with powdered sugar.
Recipe Success Tips
If you're using cherries from a jar, make sure to carefully pat them dry to remove the excess moisture.
This recipe belongs to the category of German fruit cakes. While I use cherries from a jar, I highly recommend using fresh cherries when they are in season.
PRODUCT UPDATE 11/21: When I originally shared this recipe, I typically bought Morello Cherries in a glass jar from Trader Joe's. Sadly, this product has been discontinued. I've updated the recipe and am now using defrosted, pitted frozen cherries that are available year-round.
If you can't find cherries in a jar (I usually find mine at Trader Joe's), you can also use frozen cherries. If you choose frozen cherries, make sure to use a paper towel to remove as much excess moisture as possible. Just do it carefully, because you don't want to squish the cherries.
Once you've made this recipe a few times, I encourage you to experiment with other fresh berries. Try using fresh raspberries, or strawberries.
I always use sliced strawberries, but if your strawberries are small, you can also try fresh whole strawberries. I'd love to hear about your experiments in the comments.
If you don't have a bundt cake pan, you can also use a 9-inch springform pan instead.
How To Store And Keep This Cake
Keep this cake covered in an airtight container in a cool and dry place and it will easily store for 2-3 days.
If You Like Recipe, Try These...
- Bienenstich - German Bee Sting Cake
- German Cheesecake - Käsekuchen
- Streuselkuchen - German Crumb Cake
- Blueberry Coffee Cake - a simple but elegant sponge cake with fresh blueberries and a delicious coconut topping
- Sandkuchen - Classic German Bundt Cake
Cherry Pound Cake
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Grease a 9½-inch bundt cake pan.
- Defrost the cherries. Use a paper towel and pat dry to remove the excess moisture. Give the cherries a light dusting of flour. Set aside.
Making The Batter
- In a large bowl beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla extract, sour cream, and lemon juice and continue to beat until well combined.
- Slowly add self-rising flour and continue to beat until the batter is smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure the batter is well combined.
- Fold the flour-dusted cherries and sliced almonds into the batter. Be sure not to overwork the batter at this point. The goal is just to evenly distribute the cherries and almonds.
- Pour the batter into the greased bundt cake pan and bake for 50-55 minutes at 350° Fahrenheit.
Adding The Finishing Touches
- Use a wooden toothpick to check for doneness. Once done remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 20 minutes.
- Invert the cake pan onto a wire cooling rack. Allow the cake to cool completely. Dust the cake with powdered sugar.
- Make sure the butter is at room temperature.
- Allow the cherries to drain properly and remove as much excess moisture as possible.
- To keep the cherries from clumping together, sprinkle them with flour before adding to the batter.
- UPDATE 11/21: When I originally shared this recipe I used Morello cherries in light syrup. This product has been difficult to get (Trader Joe's has discontinued them) and I am now recommending frozen pitted cherries (fresh if in season).