Ida’s Cherry Cake

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Ida's Cherry Cake

This old blog post is worth a second look, especially as we are coming into cherry season.

I love old-fashioned recipes, and this one, Ida’s Cherry Cake,  starts with, “Take butter the size of an egg”…and came to me from my friend, Jessie. We grew up together in Bethlehem, PA.

Many years ago, my childhood friend Jessie flew across the country for a visit with me here in San Diego.I was impressed with her skills in the kitchen, especially after she baked a delicious and simple cake with fresh cherries, a recipe she was given by her boyfriend’s grandmother. Jessie and Dave have been married for more than thirty years now, and Grandma Ida lived to celebrate her 100th birthday, baking well into her senior years.

I’ve made this cake, with few variations, every summer since Jessie’s visit. After a twenty-year hiatus, we recently “found” one another through the Internet and have happily renewed a friendship that goes back fifty years! We’re planning a reunion with  two other “little girl” pals next year in Allentown, PA. I can’t wait to make Ida’s grandsons and bake my dear friend Jessie their family’s cherished cherry cake.

Update: Our reunion was two years ago, and Jessie and I keep in good touch with one another. It was a wonderful renewal of childhood friendship for four “little girl” friends. In fact, Jessie phoned me the other day and I told her I would be republishing this old post, complete with an updated photo.

Ida's Cherry Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
An old-fashioned recipe for a simple cherry cake.
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1¾ cup unbleached white all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups pitted sweet dark cherries
  • powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using a mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet. Stir in milk, vanilla and almond extract.
  5. Butter a nine-inch square baking pan and line with the pitted cherries.
  6. Pour batter over the cherries and bake for 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  7. Dust with powdered sugar while cake is still warm.

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19 Responses to Ida’s Cherry Cake

  1. Elizabeth July 19, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Ohh, I love the update. Renewed friendships warm my heart. This is such a great recipe. I just got a lb. of cherries. Woo hoo.

    • Liz July 19, 2013 at 8:41 am #

      It was a wonderful reunion, Elizabeth – so great to rediscover old friends.

  2. Snehal July 19, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    Thanks for this wonderful recipe! I was wondering what to do with a big bag of cherries that seems to be refilling itself no matter how many we eat! I’ll be making this to pack for our road trip tomorrow.

    • Liz July 19, 2013 at 10:10 am #

      Hope you enjoy it – it should travel pretty well.

      • Snehal Katre July 19, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

        Liz, I made the cake already and it tastes fantastic! It was so easy to make too. Adding this recipe to my favorites.

        • Liz July 20, 2013 at 8:11 am #

          Thanks for making my day –

  3. Lynda - TasteFood July 19, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    What a wonderful reunion. And a cake to celebrate it.

    • Liz July 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

      Thanks, Lynda, I should have mentioned that the original recipe calls for unpitted cherries – Jessie swears it tastes better.

  4. Jayne July 19, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    I love this recipe! Good to hear the update, lovely that you’ve kept the re-kindled friendship going!

    • Liz July 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

      So am I, Jayne, and I just emailed the link to Jessie.

  5. Barbara | Creative Culinary July 19, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    Sounds wonderful Liz…I could eat a cherry dish every single day; sure wish I had this here, RIGHT NOW!!

    • Liz July 19, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

      Me too, Barb, I love cherries – wish we could find sour ones here in CA.

  6. TheWimpyVegetarian July 19, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    I totally want some of this right now. I love cherries, and have been making cherry cobblers lately. In fact I’m eating some cherries right now while I type this. Thanks for the update!

    • Liz July 19, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

      Do you believe my first photo ?!?

  7. Gisele aka LA2LAChef July 21, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    “Butter the size of an egg” – aren’t those old time recipes funny. We are so obsessed with precise measurements and directions now, but it doesn’t necessarily make us better cooks.

    And, Liz, sour cherries are coming! Heard it yesterday on Good Food.

    • Liz July 21, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

      Gisele, That’s great news about sour cherries – I will make my husband a pie…

  8. Dana @ Foodie Goes Healthy July 25, 2013 at 6:42 am #

    Hi Liz: this looks delectable. I love a simple yellow cake base with fresh summer fruit. I may try this with whatever summer fruit grabs my attention at the farmers market this weekend. Thanks for sharing. Best, Dana

    • Liz July 25, 2013 at 8:37 am #

      I’m certain you will put your special twist on my recipe – have fun.

  9. Oui, Chef August 6, 2013 at 5:12 am #

    Great story, and an even better cake!

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