This cherry chip cake, smothered in a fluffy whipped vanilla buttercream, is a homemade version of a boxed cake mix favorite. It’s also the perfect birthday cake for yours truly!

Cherry Chip Cake with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream from

Growing up my mom let us choose what flavor of birthday cake we wanted. The bakery aisle at the grocery store had an endless selection of scrumptious looking cake mixes, and while many of my siblings chose the ever popular rainbow chip, I was always drawn to its less flashier shelf-mate, cherry chip.

Cherry Chip Cake with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream from

I probably haven’t had a slice of cherry chip cake in twenty years, and that first bite of this homemade version took me back. It’s like I was turning 10 again, and not 32.

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of eating cherry chip cake, it is a white cake filled with (and tinted pink by) bits of candied or maraschino cherries. It’s tender and light, with a subtle cherry flavor. Covered in whipped buttercream, it is the stuff of this birthday girl’s dreams.

I have to give a quick shout out to the versions of cherry chip cake that Taste and Tell and Sweetapolita have on their blogs, as both were helpful to me as I developed my own.

Cherry Chip Cake with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream from
Cherry Chip Cake with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream from

Alternating Wet and Dry Ingredients

In many cake recipes (including this one) there are instructions to alternate adding the wet and dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar. Believe it or not, this is for a good reason.

Adding the liquid all at once will saturate the creamed butter mixture and cause the batter to separate. Adding all of the dry ingredients will cause the batter to be thick and likely result in over mixing, which will yield a tougher cake. Instead, add them in two or three additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir ingredients after each addition, but only until just combined.

Cherry Chip Cake with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream from

Cherry Chip Cake with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream

Yield: One 8-inch layer cake

Cherry Chip Cake with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream

A homemade version of a favorite cake box classic - light and fluffy cherry chip cake frosted with whipped vanilla buttercream.


    For the cake:
  • 1 10 ounce (283 grams) jar maraschino cherries
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups (226 grams) cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cup (315 ml) buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
  • For the buttercream frosting:
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups (900 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract


    To make the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. Drain the maraschino cherries, reserving the juice. In a food processor or with a sharp knife, finely chop the cherries. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat the butter and sugar at high speed until light and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg whites one at a time, mixing after each. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a smaller bowl, combine the buttermilk and maraschino cherry juice. Add the flour mixture to the mixer in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk mixture. Mix after each addition and scrape down the bowl as necessary. Stir in the chopped maraschino cherries.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool in the pans 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. To make the frosting and assemble the cake:
  7. Place the butter, sifted powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract and almond extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (alternately you can use a hand-held mixer). Mix on low speed until moistened, then increase speed to high and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
  8. Place one cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Cover with 1/2 cup of the buttercream frosting. Place second cake layer on top and cover tops and sides with remaining buttercream. Let firm up for at least 30 minutes in the fridge before serving.
  9. Store cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

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29 Responses to Cherry Chip Cake with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream

  1. Oh my gosh, now I can’t wait for my birthday to be here so that I’ll have a good excuse to bake this super delicious-looking cake! I’m a huge cherry-lover and this cake looks like heaven to me…so girly, fluffy, decadent and full of fresh cherry flavor…Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe with us :)

    xo, Elisa

  2. Ross Workman says:

    Happy birthday Annalise!

  3. Sinead says:

    I love how gorgeously girly this cake is! It looks absolutely delicious too.

  4. Oh man, that whip looks so crazy good!!

  5. Joanne says:

    Hi Annalise- Would this cake turn out well using a 13×9 pan? It looks so pretty!

    • Annalise says:

      I’ve not done it, but it’s possible! I wouldn’t fill the pan more than 2/3 full (you don’t want it overflowing), so if you have batter left over maybe make a few cupcakes? And I’m not sure about baking time, so I’d start checking it after 30 minutes. Good luck!

  6. Happy Birthday! This is definitely a great cake to have on your birthday!

  7. Happy Birthday girl! I hope your little man takes a long ole nap (you too!), you get your fair share of that cake, a huge piece of chocolate, dinner out (or at least your dishes done..), and a hot bath. Make it good!

    • Annalise says:

      Thanks Melissa! I did get a nap yesterday, but not the hot bath. Hmmmm, maybe I’ll have to do that tonight. Sounds fabulous! :)

  8. kate says:

    I can’t wait to try this. Cherry Chip was always my sister’s favorite, I think I’ll make it for her birthday next month. Happy Birthday to you!

  9. Happy, happy birthday girlie! Now why didn’t I deliver a cake to YOUR doorstep today? For shame…Have a fantastic one! 32 never looked better.

    • Annalise says:

      Oh I’m so glad you didn’t, I’m on cake overload right now. And I never thought that could be possible. :) Thanks for the birthday wishes, Heidi!

  10. Love this story!! Hope you had a fabulous birthday!

  11. OOh, this is great. It’s hard to find cherry chip cake mix in my area. My mother-in-law LOVES cherry chip and her birthday is coming up, so I think I’m totally going to make this for her!!

    • Annalise says:

      It’s been years since I’ve seen the cake mix in stores, maybe they don’t make it anymore? Either way, now you can make it without the box! :)

  12. Erin R. says:

    What the what! I had no idea you could make this with maraschino cherries. I always just thought of it as a boxed mix with little red…things. Kind of like dust pans and sporks and stuff. Where do they come from? No one knows. They just appear, fully formed, on the grocery store shelf. Now I know I am within one jar of maraschino cherries of this cake, you’d better believe it’s going on my try pile. Thanks!

    • Annalise says:

      Haha! Your comment makes me laugh. I had the exact same reaction when I first saw a homemade cherry chip recipe. :)

  13. amber says:

    I made this for my sister’s birthday except for the frosting. I love this cake and so did my sister. It reminds me of the type of cake my grandma would make, not too sweet but sweet enough. At least for me the cake was very heavy but looking around, I see it’s my fault for it.

  14. kim howe says:

    you mention cake flour do you mean self raising or plain flour in recipe ?

    • Annalise says:

      No, cake flour is a flour make with softer wheat and lower protein content, and therefore produces a softer product. Look for it in the bakery aisle of any well-stocked grocery store. If you can’t find it, you can sub in all-purpose flour without any adverse effects. Hope this helps!

  15. Kayla says:

    How long would you cook this in cupcake form?

    • Annalise says:

      I haven’t tried this specific recipe, but I usually bake cupcakes for 15-20 minutes. Hope this helps!

  16. Jan says:

    Hi Annalise,

    My autistic brother’s favorite cake is cherry chip, and when I couldn’t find a mix at the store to make for his birthday, I checked online and found your recipe. It looked so good that I couldn’t wait to make it! I actually made two since there was a number of people at the party. I followed the recipe exactly and the cakes were gorgeous and delicious! Everyone loved them. I put a little red food coloring in the icing for one one them because my brother wanted a light pink icing. I left the other one white because I thought it was so pretty. Adding the whipping cream and mixing the icing for 5 minutes made it so much fluffier than any I had ever made before. Maybe sifting the powdered sugar helped too?Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipe and for such great instructions. I will make this cake for him every year! P.S. I loves your story and hope you had a great birthday too.

    • Annalise says:

      Hi Jan! Thank you so much for the comment! I’m happy to hear that your brother and family enjoyed this cake as much as I did. :)

  17. Carol says:

    i have to make a cake for my husband’s birthday this week. Was gong to make a confetti cake and then came across this recipe which I think he’ll like even more. I am preparing to make it now! Hope mine turns out so lovely as this picture!

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