Home Recipes Rainier Cherries Crown This Cake

Rainier Cherries Crown This Cake

Rainier Cherries Crown This Cake

Rainier Cherries almond cake batter

In far-off Minnesota, my favorite blogging baker and bon vivant, Eileen of Passions to Pastry, posted a recipe that called to me: rustic rhubarb – almond cake. (Full disclosure: all of Eileen’s recipes call to me.) But a trip to my over-harvested, under-watered rhubarb patch showed me that a substitution was in order. Dry, stringy, tough rhubarb has little appeal in any recipe or for any palate.

rainier cherry almond cake recipe

As luck would have it, my friends Beth and Pam had just returned from eastern Washington, where cherry orchards abound and fruit stands are aplenty. When they handed me a 20-pound corrugated treasure chest of organic Rainier cherries, I do believe I teared up. (They say “whimpered.”)

Rainier cherries almond cake

With a fridge full of Rainier cherries at my disposal, a little recipe modification was in order. Rather than rhubarb, Rainier cherries would be the crown jewels in this cake recipe. (Thanks Mom and sis for the fine pitting job!)

cherry almond cake closeup

Rainier Cherry Almond Cake


  • 1 cup butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1lb Rainier Cherries
  • 1 1/4 cup All-Purpose flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 eggs (large and room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


Tom Conway adapted recipe from Eileen Troxel's adapted recipe from Alison Roman | Bon Appétit, April 2015


Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, butter one ten-inch springform pan, dust with flour, tap out extra.
Step 2
Pit one pound of Rainier cherries. (Other cherries work fine, too.) Set aside.
Step 3
Whisk flours, baking powder, and salt until mixed. Empty into bowl.
Step 4
Mix 1 cup butter and 3/4 cup sugar until smooth, add extracts, mix on medium until incorporated, smooth, light and fluffy, about 2 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to blend first egg before adding second. Beat until mixture is pale and fluffy, about 2 minute.
Step 5
Gradually add dry ingredients, followed by yogurt. Continue mixing, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed, just to combine (batter will be thick). Fold in half of the pitted cherries and scrape batter into prepared pan. Smooth batter and arrange remaining cherries over top. Sprinkle with three tablespoons sugar.
Step 6
Place springform pan on a large rimmed baking sheet (to catch any rogue juices) and bake, rotating once, until cake is golden brown and cherries are soft, 60 - 70 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cake cool before removing from pan.

slice of cherry almond cake

Try this recipe with any seasonal fruit; I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Oh, and thank you Eileen; bake on, bake on!


  1. That looks SO delicious, Tom. The recipe for the batter sounds really good too. Lucky you that you have help with the pitting!

    A few years ago I went cherry picking with several women in Tehachapi, CA because a friend had many trees with ripe cherries, so and before the birds ate them all, we were invited to pick them for free. The birds know when they’re ripe, trick is to time it perfectly. Here we were about 6 women with our step stools and ladders filling buckets of cherries at 6 AM on a beautiful day — it was a lot of fun. The downside for me is that I mentioned that I would be making jam, and that’s when I was given extra buckets of surplus cherries the women picked so I could make some jam for them. Keep in mind, I’ve made every jam under the sun, but not cherry jam. I didn’t even own a cherry-pitter, so with just a paring knife I spent hours and hours pitting cherries to make jam. All I could say was, what was I thinking? Boring, tedious and not fun at all.

    The jam turned out great but my hands were stained completely black. Funny, because the same group of women went out for brunch two days later and my hands were still black, and they said you can’t go out with black hands, so we had to soak my hands in bleach for about half an hour before going out. Making cherry jam for *other people* is on my top ten list of things I will never do again. 🙂

    • Funny story Cindy, and I hear you. Most folks don’t know how much time is involved in making a good jam. I hope you were spoiled with some reciprocal goodies or at least lunch out for your labors. Plus cherries don’t have much pectin so it’s hard to get a good set with them.

  2. What a great looking rustic cake. Can’t wait to attempt one with fresh cherries -perhaps even sour cherries if I can find any at the farmer’s Market.

  3. [quote]Thanks for visiting Tall Clover Farm, hopefully my search for beauty, truth, wisdom and good pies will enrich your day or appetite as the case may be. Here’s to the wonder of summer, the gift of sunshine, and the time and good sense to enjoy it all.[/quote]

    Hi Tom,
    your website is a perfect frame for a lovely summerday like this (here in Austria at least)!

    And yes!, your recipies and humor are clearly enriching ones day and appetite… 😉

    smiles and sun,

    • Thank you Mica. How fun to hear a voice from such a beautiful corner of the world. I, too, am enjoying this sunny day, putting up poultry netting and fencing, watering orchard trees, and sneaking in a siesta in after lunch. Thank you for the kind words and visit!

  4. i have a lot of rainier cherries i would like to make some cherry jam but cain’t fine a recipe using rainier cherry juice can you help me .thank you

    • Hi Elaine, sure, this is the one I use, but I add raspberries for dark pink jam color:

      • 2 pounds pitted chopped rainier cherries
      • 2 cups of raspberries
      • 4 Cups of sugar
      • juice of two limes
      • 2 peeled and finely grated granny smith apples

      Place everything in a non-reactive bowl, and let it sit overnight, covered with parchment paper.
      Next day simmer contents in thick bottomed stock pot or deep saute’ pan.
      Simmer lightly, and stir regularly to precent scorching on pan’s bottom.
      After 30 minutes, remove from heat and let cool.
      Later return to heat and simmer once again, until jam thickens.
      Jar up when as thick as you like.

      I’ll do a blog post in the coming months and show everyone this recipe, step by step.
      Good luck,


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