This homemade Vintage Cherry Chip Layer Cake made from scratch is bursting with sweet cherry flavor and tinted the perfect shade of pink from nothing other than the maraschino cherry juice from the jar! Chopped up maraschino cherries are folded into the batter to make sure the cherry flavor really comes through in this super fun, moist Vintage Cherry Chip Layer Cake that is perfect for almost any celebration!
Table of Contents
- Why we love this Vintage Cherry Cake
- What is Cherry Chip Cake?
- Maraschino Cherry Cake Ingredients
- Cherry Cake Recipe Substitutions and Variations
- How to Make a Cherry Cake
- How to Make Frosting for Cherry Chip Cake
- Serving a Maraschino Cherry Cake
- Cherry Chip Cake Recipe Tips
- Cherry Maraschino Cake Storage
- Cherry Cake Recipe FAQs
- More Cake Recipes You'll Love
- Cherry Chip Cake Recipe Recipe
This homemade Cherry Chip Layer Cake made from scratch and topped with bright, beautiful maraschino cherries! Is it retro-modern? Is it vintage? Idk, but it's definitely delicious.
I take my cake baking very seriously and work hard to give you recipes that deliver consistently delicious results. If you love making cake recipes from scratch, be sure not to miss my Best Red Velvet Cake, Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting, or Homemade German Chocolate Cake!
Why we love this Vintage Cherry Cake
There is just something about the pretty pink chiffon color and maraschino cherries that make me think of frothy 1950's prom dresses or something. It fills me with nostalgia for times I don't even remember.
And you just can't eat a slice of this perfectly pink cake with lovely, fun cherry flavor and bits of maraschino cherry throughout and feel anything other than happy.
It makes you feel like a kid again and like you don't have a care in the world because you are eating cherry chip cake, of all things!
It's seriously bliss on a plate and I'm in love.
What is Cherry Chip Cake?
I remember eating cherry chip cake from a Betty Crocker cake mix as a kid, although it seems like it was always overshadowed by the flashier Funfetti mix.
But I have to say that a boxed cherry chip cake has got nothing on this from scratch version. Each bite of this homemade vintage cherry chip layer cake bursts with sweet cherry flavor and is tinted the perfect shade of pink from the maraschino cherry juice from the jar.
Lots of chopped up maraschino cherries are folded into the batter to make sure the cherry flavor really comes through and I love the tiny bit of texture that they add to the super moist, perfect cake.
Maraschino Cherry Cake Ingredients
- Sugar - You'll use granulated sugar for the cake and powdered sugar for the cherry frosting.
- Salted butter
- Vanilla extract
- Sour cream
- Egg & egg whites
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Maraschino cherries - You'll also need the maraschino cherry juice from the jar of cherries, so don't pour it out.
- Shortening - I like using half butter and half shortening in the frosting because it lets the cherry flavor shine through better.
Cherry Cake Recipe Substitutions and Variations
- Add chocolate chips to the cake batter for a cherry chocolate chip cake!
- Try cream cheese frosting, chocolate frosting, or vanilla buttercream frosting in place of the cherry frosting.
- Halve this recipe and use it to make cupcakes.
How to Make a Cherry Cake
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper circles and spray with baking spray.
- Cream. Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes until fluffy and light. Add sour cream, vanilla, egg, and egg whites and beat well. Stop to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Add remaining ingredients. Alternate adding the flour and baking powder with the milk and reserved cherry juice, mixing on low speed just until everything comes together.
- Stir in maraschino cherries. Add the chopped cherries to the cake batter and stir them in by hand with a rubber spatula until evenly dispersed.
- Bake. Pour the cake batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 24-26 minutes or until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean with just a few crumbs clinging to it.
- Cool completely. Level off the tops of the cakes, if needed.
- Assemble. Place the bottom cake layer on a cake plate and frost with about 1 ½ cups of the frosting. Add the next two layers with frosting between them, then frost the outside of the cake, reserving some of the frosting for piping decorative swirls on top of the cake.
- Decorate. Transfer the remaining frosting to a piping bag fitted with a decorative tip. Pipe swirls or a border around the top of the cake and decorate with additional maraschino cherries.
How to Make Frosting for Cherry Chip Cake
Beat butter and shortening in a large stand mixer for 2-3 minutes until creamy. Add powdered sugar alternately with the maraschino cherry juice, beating well between each addition. Be sure to stop and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
Serving a Maraschino Cherry Cake
The gorgeous, bright maraschino cherries on top of the cake make up for a lot of my shortcoming when it comes to decorating anyway, I think.
Cherry Chip Cake Recipe Tips
Alternate Wet and Dry Ingredients
Lots of cake recipes (this one included) have you to add the wet ingredients like eggs and milk or water or buttermilk and oil (um, basically anything wet) and dry ingredients (typically just the flour and leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder and salt) to the creamed butter and sugar in alternating batches, usually ⅓ to ½ of each at a time. Then you mix well between each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.
And there's a good reason for this seemingly fussy extra task. Adding all the wet ingredients at once can make the batter to separate because it overwhelms the butter and sugar that you just creamed together.
And if you add all of the dry ingredients at once, your batter is likely going to be really thick and the chance that you will over mix the batter go way up, which ultimately results in a tougher cake without the moist, tender crumb that you want in a layer cake.
Instead of dumping all the wet and dry ingredients in at once, it's best to add them alternately, in two or three additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and stirring only until just combined each time.
Cherry Maraschino Cake Storage
Keep the cake covered with a cake dome or with plastic wrap until ready to serve. Store any leftover cake slices in an airtight container on the counter or in the fridge for up to 5 days. If stored in the fridge, let the cake come to room temperature before serving. Cold cake always tastes stale.
You can also freeze the cake layers, cake slices, or the full cake for up to 2 months. Just wrap well in plastic wrap before freezing. Let thaw completely on the counter before serving.
Cherry Cake Recipe FAQs
There are three common culprits behind dry cherry cake. The first is simply over baking the cake, which will dry it out every time. I prefer looking for crumbs on my cake tester rather than a totally clean result so I know the cake is still moist in the middle.
The second reason for dry cake is usually too much flour. If this is a common occurrence, I recommend fluffing the flour first, then spooning it into your measuring cup before leveling it off with a knife to avoid adding too much flour to the cake batter.
A third cause of dry cake is over beating the cake batter, which tends to result in a more dense, drier cake.
The best way is to chop the cherries so the pieces aren't too large. You can also toss them with a tablespoon or two of your flour to help suspend them in the cake batter, but I don't typically find this to be necessary.
You could certainly bake a cake with fresh cherries or tart frozen cherries, but it wouldn't be the same as this maraschino cherry cake. I don't recommend using other cherry options as a substitute for this particular recipe.
The secret to a moist cake is the proper ratio of fat to flour to sugar. Too little sugar and a cake will be dry. Too little butter or oil and you won't have nice moist cake layers.
I also recommend using room temperature ingredients to get the best results so the cake layers bake up even and moist.
More Cake Recipes You'll Love
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Cherry Chip Cake Recipe
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar (300g)
- ¾ cup salted butter (170g)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup sour cream (180g)
- 1 egg
- 4 egg whites
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (313g)
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ cup milk
- ½ cup maraschino cherry juice
- ¾ cup chopped maraschino cherries
- 1 ½ cups salted butter, softened
- 1 ½ cups shortening
- 12 cups powdered sugar
- 5-6 Tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
- Additional maraschino cherries with stems for decorating
- Heat oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch round cake pans by lining the bottoms with circles of parchment paper and spraying the sides with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add the vanilla and sour cream and mix well to combine.
- Add the egg and egg whites in two batches, scraping the sides of the bowl and mixing well between each addition.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the maraschino cherry juice and milk, starting with ⅓ of the dry ingredients, then adding half of the juice and milk, then repeating with another ⅓ of the dry ingredients, followed by the remaining juice and milk, and ending with the final ⅓ of the dry ingredients. Be sure to scrape the bowl between additions, and only mix just until everything is combined without overmixing.
- Stir in the chopped maraschino cherries.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans, then bake for 24 to 26 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out with only a few crumbs.
- Cool completely on a wire rack.
- In a large bowl, combine the butter and shortening and beat on medium speed until smooth.
- Add 4 cups of the powdered sugar and beat well until smooth. Add 3 tablespoons of the maraschino cherry juice and beat again to completely incorporate.
- Repeat with another 4 cups of the powdered sugar, followed by 2 tablespoons of maraschino cherry juice, mixing well between additions.
- Add remaining 4 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth, adding an additional tablespoon of cherry juice, if necessary, to make a thick frosting that is just slightly sticky to the touch.
- Level each cooled cake round by slicing off any domed tops.
- Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake plate and carefully spread 1 ½ cups of the frosting over it in an even layer. Repeat with the second layer of cake and another 1 ½ cups of frosting.
- Top with the remaining cake layer and frost the top and sides of the cake with most of the remaining frosting, reserving about 1 cup for piping onto the top of the cake. Decorate with extra maraschino cherries with stems, then slice and serve!