Sour Cherry & Almond Upside-Down Cake From The Artful Baker

October 13th, 2017  | Category: Cakes, Cookbook

In celebration of my book’s upcoming release (out on Tuesday!), I’d like to share the video I’ve created for my favorite recipe in the book: Sour Cherry & Almond Upside-Down Cake.

Considering that there is a chocolate cake using over a pound of chocolate (page 144), passion fruit caramels that make me weak in the knees (page 274), and several ice creams that I can’t live without, “my favorite recipe in the book” is a big statement. I’m not sure whether it’s the sticky-sweet sour cherries against that buttery, almond-y crumb, or the fact that the fruit layer gets sweeter and stickier each time I apply the sour cherry glaze to refresh it, but this cake is what I crave most.

Here’s what the queen of baking, Rose Levy Beranbaum, said about the cake in her review: “The almond cake is a high achievement in perfection of texture–surprising for a layer cake so low in wheat flour.”

I hope you have a stash of sour cherries in your freezer!

It is one of the easiest recipes in the book. For the cake, you put the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor one after another and press a button. For the fruit layer, you’ll cook the cherries before arranging them on the bottom, enabling you to fit in more and preventing the bubbling juices from leeching into the cake. Since the fruit won’t shrink further in the oven, there will be no gaps between cherries when you invert the cake onto a serving plate.

Sour Cherry and Almond Upside-Down Cake

The cake is so flavorful it doesn’t really need the fruit layer, but if sour cherries aren’t in season or are hard to find where you live and you still want that sticky-sweet layer, try using another tart fruit with a low moisture content—one that will retain its shape after an hour in the oven. Without a doubt, Raspberry Jewel pluots would be my second choice. Or try this pineapple and coconut version!

Not that you need yet another reason to run immediately into the kitchen, but the cake gets better with time, too.


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Recipe from The Artful Baker, reprinted by permission of Abrams Books.

Serves 8


Fruit layer and glaze

  • 5 1/4 cups (1.62 pounds; 735 grams) pitted fresh sour cherries (from about 1.9 pounds; 860 grams sour cherries with pits and stems)
  • 2/3 cup (133 grams) granulated sugar


  • 10 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons (5.3 ounces; 150 grams) unsalted butter, cut into large pieces and softened, plus more for pan
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (150 grams) blanched almond flour
  • 3/4 cup (105 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) fine sea salt


  1. To make the fruit layer and glaze, in a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat, cook the cherries and sugar until the juices released from the cherries begin to simmer and the sugar dissolves, about 10 minutes, stirring gently so as not to break up the cherries. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook until the juices thicken but are still fluid, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Scrape the cherries with their juices into a mesh strainer set over a medium heatproof bowl and let drain completely, shaking the strainer gently to help drain the juices. Reserve the juices for glazing the cake.
  2. Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
  3. Butter the bottom of an 8-inch (20.5-cm) round cake pan, line the bottom with a parchment round, and wrap a dampened cake strip around the pan. (I highly recommend using a cake strip to prevent a domed top, which can cause the fruit layer to crack after the cake is inverted onto the serving plate.)
  4. To make the cake, in a small bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla with a fork until blended.
  5. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process the almond flour, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the dough gathers around the blade, about 1 minute. Add the egg mixture and process until blended, about 20 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. The batter will be very thick.
  6. Arrange the drained sour cherries in a tightly packed single layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Scrape the batter over the cherries and spread it evenly with a small offset spatula.
  7. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool completely. Pressing firmly against the pan, run a small knife around the edge to loosen the cake, invert onto a serving plate, and remove the parchment round.
  8. Skim off the foamy layer on the sour cherry glaze with a spoon and discard. Use a pastry brush to apply a generous amount of glaze to the cherries, and serve.
  9. Transfer the remaining glaze into a small bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator.

Storage: The cake will keep, wrapped airtight, at room temperature for up to 4 days. Before serving, refresh the fruit layer with leftover glaze warmed in a small saucepan over low heat. You can substitute leftover glaze for the raspberry syrup in Raspberry Lemonade (page TK) to make sour cherry lemonade.

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  1. 1 - Didem Orbay on October 15th, 2017

    Absolutely amazing!

  2. 2 - SLJ on April 6th, 2018

    I bought your beautiful book based on this recipe. It was so delicious! I couldn’t get a hold of sour cherries so I used dark sweet cherries and added about 1/4 cup of pomegranate molasses to the reduced syrup after it cooled. I think it made a great addition and added that tartness that worked well with the almond base. I might up the almond flavour of the base next time with a little extract. Excellent recipe and so easy!

  3. 3 - Cenk on April 12th, 2018

    SLJ – I’m so happy to hear you liked my book. Thank you! Adding pomegranate molasses is genius!

  4. 4 - Nancy in NJ on June 30th, 2018

    I bought your book months ago and immediately made a note on my calendar to bake this cake when cherry season rolled around. That happened this week and now, in 24 hours, I’ve made this recipe twice. I suspect after tonight’s dinner party, I’ll be making it again! Thank you so much for sharing an amazing recipe for one of that tastiest cakes I’ve ever baked. Not only did I bake the cake, but I picked enough cherries to make Esin Giz’s Sour Cherry Liqueur. You will surely be hearing from me again in October when they’re ready. Hats off to you, Cenk!

  5. 5 - Cenk on January 10th, 2019

    Nancy in NJ – So happy to hear you liked it. Enjoy!

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