{recipe} Cherry Almond Upside Down Cake

I think the planets must be mis-aligned or something, because I’m kind of a cherry hater and yet this is my second cherry-focused recipe in a row. True, the last one involved ground lamb where this one involves sweet, sweet, caramel, so clearly they are pretty different in all aspects.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of the gooey, sticky, butter-and-sugar-based fruit upside down cake (I refer you to the Pear Ginger Upside Down Cake, Caramel-y Banana Upside Down Cake and Apple Upside Down Cake of yore.) Here’s the reason: an upside down cake is a pretty quick and easy dessert that self-sauces, tastes delicious, and generally impresses guests.

With cherries I had to go with a sprinkling of almonds and some almond extract, plus a smattering of freshly grated ginger. I’ve read that freezing the whole cherries before baking a cake like this will help them stay, well, more upside down, for a prettier finished product- but since I went straight from the farmer’s market to the table in less than an hour, I didn’t have time for such shenanigans. I assure you no one complained about that.

Cherry Almond Upside Down Cake

serves 8-10


  • 1/3 cup slivered or sliced almonds
  • about 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted (I used a mix of yellow Rainier cherries and red Bing cherries)
  • 7 Tbslp butter, divided
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated finely
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • salt


  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Melt 5 Tblsp of the butter with the brown sugar and a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture is well combined and not separated. Whisk in fresh ginger. Pour into a large cast-iron skillet or glass pie pan. (If you are using the skillet, you can just melt the butter and sugar directly in the skillet.)
  • Sprinkle almonds over the mixture. Top with cherries to fill the pan in one layer.
  • Using a mixer, beat eggs, sugar, and almond extract for a few minutes, until frothy and pale yellow.
  • Melt remaining 2 Tblsp butter. Add melted butter and milk to the egg and sugar mixture and beat to combine.
  • Sift flour, baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt into butter/egg mixture. Beat just until combined.
  • Carefully pour or spoon batter over cherries and caramel. Bake for about 40-50 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and invert immediately onto a platter (it can help to have an extra person support your arms for this.)
  • Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

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2 Responses

  1. Dana says:

    The cherry lover in me wants this cake pretty badly. Out of pure curiosity, why do you cherry hate?

    • Karen says:

      @Dana, I don’t *hate* cherries, but I don’t love them. Maybe a textural thing, in part. Plus unless a cherry is really good, it’s just so blah. Although, this cake was really good, so maybe I am changing my tastes… : )