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!

Vintage Cherry Chip Layer Cake topped with long stem cherries and a slice is slightly removed

Table of Contents
  1. Why we love this Vintage Cherry Cake
  2. What is Cherry Chip Cake?
  3. Maraschino Cherry Cake Ingredients
  4. Cherry Cake Recipe Substitutions and Variations
  5. How to Make a Cherry Cake
  6. How to Make Frosting for Cherry Chip Cake
  7. Serving a Maraschino Cherry Cake
  8. Cherry Chip Cake Recipe Tips
  9. Cherry Maraschino Cake Storage
  10. Cherry Cake Recipe FAQs
  11. More Cake Recipes You'll Love
  12. 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 CakeYellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting, or Homemade German Chocolate Cake!

a closer view of the slice removed from the cherry chip 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.

cherry chip cake with cherries on top
a partially eaten slice of cherry chip cake on a white plate below a cake stand holding the remaining cake

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.

a removed slice of cherry cake on a white cake stand

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
  • Milk
  • 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.
cherry chip cake on a white cake stand with pink frosting and cherries
a pink frosted cake with cherries

How to Make a Cherry Cake

  1. Prep. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper circles and spray with baking spray.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Cool completely. Level off the tops of the cakes, if needed.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

a slice peeking out from this vintage cherry chip cake

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.

a vintage cherry chip cake on a white cake stand with a slice removed
a cherry chip cake on a cake stand with a slice removed and laid on a white plate in front

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.

a cherry chip cake slice on stacked white plates with a bite removed

Cherry Cake Recipe FAQs

Why is my cherry cake dry?

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.

How do you keep cherries from sinking in cherry 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.

Which cherry is used in cakes?

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.

What is the secret to a moist cake?

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.

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Cherry Chip Cake Recipe

4.82 from 206 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 24 minutes
Total Time 39 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 servings
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!



  • 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!


Adapted from Life, Love, and Sugar.


Calories: 949kcal | Carbohydrates: 131g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 337mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 113g | Vitamin A: 891IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. Jan says:

    5 stars
    My son requested a maraschino cake and icing for his 24th birthday. I had made the cream cheese icing before, but opted for your buttercream. It was so YUMMY together. I did swap out a some of the shortening with butter and used a blue gel food coloring to make more masculine. 😉

    1. Amy says:

      Oh fun! I'm glad it turned out! He picked a good cake for his birthday!

  2. Bev says:

    5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious! I loved it!

    1. Amy says:

      Thank you!

  3. Sandra Collins says:

    5 stars
    My family loved this!!!

  4. Kris says:

    5 stars
    This is one of the best cakes that I have ever made. I had some issues and went into a little bit of a panic because it was so crumbly, especially on the sides. I added a little extra cherry juice to the frosting, applied what I could and used parchment paper and pressed the frosting on. I put it in the fridge and then went back and added the remaining frosting and piping plus cherries. It looked just like the photo! It was a bit of a challenge but it was worth the effort. Delicious!

  5. noel says:

    5 stars
    I made the Cherry Chip Layered Cake and it was delish!
    I would like to suggest using 2, 10oz bottles of cherries instead of measuring the amount mentioned. It also makes for an easier purchase.
    Rather than baking in 3, 8 inch pans it's much easier to make it in a 9 or 10 inch pan and use a cake cutter for the 3 layers.

  6. Norm says:

    Can a 9 x 13 pan be used?

    1. Amy says:

      Yes you can. It should work just fine. If there is too much cake batter for the 9X13 pan just make a couple cupcakes with the extra cake batter. I would bake for the same amount of time 24-26 minutes.

  7. Collette says:

    I'm wondering - is it really 949 calories per slice? With 16 servings makes 15,184 for the whole cake? 949 calories for one slice seems outrageous, no? My sister asked for a cherry chip cake for her birthday and this one was going to be the one - but the 949 calories per slice is making me think twice.......

    1. Amy says:

      Yes, that's correct. I will say that this makes a very large cake and you can probably get even more slices out of the cake or leave off some of the frosting.

  8. kathleen says:

    Haven't made it yet, but by the looks of it.... thank you SO MUCH for the recipe ❣️

    1. Amy says:

      It's a good one! You're going to love it!

  9. Aimee says:

    What would I change if I wanted to make 12 cupcakes instead? Would you 1/2 the recipe? What would the time baked be? So excited to make these for my daughters graduation!

    1. Amy says:

      Yes, I would halve the recipe and probably bake for around 18 to 20 minutes.

  10. Boo Scruff says:

    5 stars
    Ya had me at Cherry chip Cake, was absolutely delicious The Cherry Cake I've been looking for. I'll be making this from now on, it's a KEEPER !
    Thank you for sharing.

  11. Brenda Young says:

    Can I freeze the layers and ice later on?

    1. Amy says:

      Yes, absolutely.

  12. Sharon Rose says:

    My mother used to make this for my Ground Hog’s Day birthday every year. I loved it. I make it for myself now and freeze the extra after we have a little birthday party. Your recipe is the best. P.S. I was born in 1955 and yes, this is retro. The only difference is my mom added chopped pecans to the cake.

  13. Sarah says:

    How long would you bake for cupcakes ?

    1. Amy says:

      18 to 20 minutes.

  14. Shirlee says:

    3 stars
    I made this for a Barbie themed party. It looks FANTASTIC and everyone said they loved it, but imho it was way too sweet, especially with the frosting. I added some lemon essence and salt to the frosting, but it was still way too sweet for me.

  15. Susie C says:

    4 stars
    Do you think I could sub 2 to 3 tablespoons of Kirsch for some of the cherry juice & add a drop of food coloring?

    1. Amy says:

      I don't see why not!

  16. Beckie says:

    My grandson has requested a cherry cake for his birthday. I was wondering why you used shortening in the icing instead of all butter? Would it work to use all butter? Also why do you use low fat cream cheese? Thank you.

    1. Amy says:

      Both are just personal preference. It's a vintage recipe and often shortening was used in place of butter, but you could switch them and use all butter. Using shortening lets the cherry flavor come through a bit better since it's not competing with the butter flavor. There's no cream cheese in this recipe though!

  17. Steph M says:

    HI! My cakes are in the oven and I'm hoping they turn out OK. I think there's an issue with Step 4. Should the juice and milk have been added to the other wet ingredients? Because if you follow Step 4 as it is written, you end up with pink dry lumps in 1 bowl and all the rest of the wet ingredients are still in the mixing bowl. If all else fails, I'll have some yummy frosting! 🙂

    1. Steph M says:

      Good news...I think it came out just fine! I'll have my first slice tonight, but it doesn't appear to have flour lumps like I feared. Still curious if I'm the only one who didn't see a step to combine all wet ingredients.

      1. VP says:

        The directions are telling you to mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and to mix the juice and milk in another bowl and then alternate adding those to the butter/sugar/egg mixture. I hope this helps!