Irish Cherry Tea Cake Recipe (2024)

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Irish Cherry Tea Cake is a moist and tender cake studded with cherries and perfect for serving with afternoon tea.

Cherry cake is an Irish tea time favorite. This recipe is one of my tried and true homemade cakes from Ireland. It's technically a cherry madeira cake.

Madeira cakes are similar to American pound cakes. Madeira is a type of fortified wine that was very popular in the British Isles during the 19th century.

Irish Cherry Tea Cake Recipe (1)

Table of Contents

  • Madeira Cake with Cherries
  • How To Prevent the Cherries From Falling in Madeira Cake
  • Ingredients for Irish Cherry Tea Cake
    • Ingredient Tips and Substitutions
  • Directions for Irish Cherry Tea Cake
  • Printable Recipe for Irish Cherry Cake

Madeira Cake with Cherries

Madeira cakes got their name because in years gone by they were served with a glass of Madeira wine. There's no wine in the cake at all. They simply are the perfect pairing for this Portuguese wine.

This version of Madeira cake is made with glacé cherries which give a little extra fruity goodness and flavor.

It's a pretty easy cake to make - you just have to stick to some basic baking rules to prevent the cherries from sinking in the batter.

Irish Cherry Tea Cake Recipe (2)

This is one of my all time favorite Irish cakes. It's a tea time treat, and when I was growing up would often be served with a cup of tea in the afternoon.

Do you love light and moist cakes with a little added fruit? If so, then this flavorful recipe belongs in your recipe collection.

Lemon and strawberry cakes are extremely popular in America, and cherries are often reserved for pies. I say, give cherries a go for a light and delicious fruit cake.

This is not a dense fruit cake. It's simply a tasty butter pound cake with added cherries. It's so nice, it may actually become one of your favorite go-to cakes.

How To Prevent the Cherries From Falling in Madeira Cake

The key to a good cherry cake is ensuring the cherries don't fall to the bottom of the batter while baking.

A layer of cherries right at the bottom of the cake is definitely not eye catching. It's best when their texture and flavor is evenly spread throughout the cake.

My tips for preventing this kitchen fiasco are as follows.

I like to use glacé or candied cherries. They are not as heavy as Maraschino cherries and contain far less liquid.

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Always halve the cherries that will be added to the batter. This makes each piece a little lighter.

And the most important tip of all - roll the cherries in flour prior to adding them to the batter.

Also, fold the cherries into the batter gently. Never over mix the batter at the end of preparation.

And so, let's take a look at how to make a Cherry Tea Cake using my Irish recipe.

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Ingredients for Irish Cherry Tea Cake

Here's a quick list of the ingredients you will need for this cherry tea cake. You'll find exact quantities in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  • unbleached cake flour (divided in two)
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • glacé cherries (Cut each cherry in half. Reserve 12 cherry halves for decorating the top of the cake.)
  • unsalted butter
  • white sugar
  • eggs
  • whole milk
  • pure vanilla extract
  • demerara sugar (for decorating the top of the cakesucanat or turbinado sugar can be substituted)

Ingredient Tips and Substitutions

Cake flour is only required for making this cake in America.

Regular all purpose American flour is made with a hard winter wheat, and this cake will not come out moist and tender if you use this flour.

If you're making this cake in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand, regular flour is just fine.

I add vanilla extract to this cake, but if you want to add a slightly nutty flavor substitute some almond extract.

Directions for Irish Cherry Tea Cake

Preheat the oven to 350° F so that it will be ready just when your batter is in the pan.

Never leave this batter sitting waiting on the oven to heat. It will start to fall if it does not hit the heat of the oven quickly.

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Prepare an 8-inch round baking pan with a removable bottom, by lining the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.

Use butter to keep the paper in place. Grease the sides of the cake pan and the top of the parchment paper.

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Sift half of the cake flour with the salt into a mixing bowl.

Add the cherry halves (except those reserved to decorate the top of the cake.) Toss the cherries to coat them in flour.

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Sift the remaining flour into another bowl with the baking powder.

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Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer.

Beat until soft and fluffy.

For Irish cakes this step takes longer than for American cakes. Adding extra air is extremely important – the butter and sugar should be a very pale shade when ready.

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Add one egg with about two tablespoons of the sifted flour and baking powder.

Mix well together. Repeat with the other two eggs.

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Add the remainder of the flour and baking powder, milk, and vanilla essence.

Mix on low speed. Take care not to over beat the batter at this stage.

The final cake will be tough and not moist and tender if the batter is overworked with the flour.

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Add the flour coated cherries and the remainder of the flour to the mixture.

Gently blend with a large spoon.

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Transfer the batter into the prepared baking tin.

Level the top and use the back of a spoon to place a small hollow in the center of the cake to prevent it from rising too high during baking.

You don't want your cake to have a large central dome after it bakes, so don't forget to make this central dip in the batter.

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Decorate the top of the cake with the un-floured cherry halves. Sprinkle with demerara sugar.

Demerara is a coarse brown sugar. It's used for creating the crisp topping on crème brûlée.

You can use another coarse brown sugar if you can't find this variety in your grocery store.

Bake the cake for about 90 minutes until a knife or toothpick comes out clean.

If the cake starts to brown too quickly, make an aluminum foil tent to cover the cake.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 20 minutes.

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Turn the cake out onto a baking rack and cool completely and reach room temperature. Remove the parchment paper from the base before serving.

Cut into triangular slices to serve.

Enjoy with a nice cup of tea.

Printable Recipe for Irish Cherry Cake

Here's the printable recipe for this lovely Irish cake.

Irish Cherry Tea Cake

A moist and tender cherry cake that's perfect for afternoon tea.

5 from 9 votes

Print Pin Rate

Course: Cake

Cuisine: Irish

Keyword: Cherry Cake, Irish Cake, Tea Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour hour 30 minutes minutes

Cooling Time: 30 minutes minutes

Total Time: 2 hours hours

Servings: 12

Calories: 284kcal

Ingredients

  • cups cake flour unbleached and divided in two
  • teaspoons baking powde
  • teaspoon salt just a pinch
  • 8 ounces glacé cherries cut each cherry in half and reserve 12 cherry halves for decorating
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter 1½ sticks
  • cups white sugar ¾ cups plus two tablespoons
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 4 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons demerara sugar sucanat or turbinado sugar can be substituted

US Customary - Metric

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Prepare an 8-inch round baking pan with a removable bottom, by lining thebottom with a circle of parchment paper. Use butter to keep the paper in place. Grease the sides of the pan and the top of the parchment paper.

  • Sift half of the cake flour with the salt and into a mixing bowl. Add the cherry halves (except those reserved to decorate the top of the cake.) Toss the cherries to coat them in flour.

  • Siftthe remaining flour into another bowl with the baking powder.

  • Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until soft and fluffy.

  • Add one egg with about two tablespoons of the sifted flour and baking powder to the creamed butter mixture, Combine well together. Repeat with the other two eggs.

  • Add the remainder of the flour and baking powder, milk, and vanilla essence. Mix on low speed.

  • Add the flour coated cherries and the remainder of the flour to the mixture. Gently blend with a large spoon.

  • Transfer the batter into the prepared baking tin. Level the top and use the back of a spoon to place a small hollow in the center of the cake to prevent it from rising too high during baking.

  • Decorate the top of the cake with the un-floured cherry halves. Sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake for about 90 minutes until a knife or toothpick comes out clean. If the cake starts to brown too quickly, make an aluminum foil tent to cover the cake.

  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 20 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a baking rack and cool completely. Remove the parchment paper from the base before serving. Cut into triangular slices to serve.

Nutrition Facts

Irish Cherry Tea Cake

Amount Per Serving

Calories 284Calories from Fat 117

% Daily Value*

Fat 13g20%

Saturated Fat 8g50%

Trans Fat 1g

Polyunsaturated Fat 1g

Monounsaturated Fat 3g

Cholesterol 72mg24%

Sodium 133mg6%

Potassium 50mg1%

Carbohydrates 37g12%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 19g21%

Protein 4g8%

Vitamin A 422IU8%

Calcium 68mg7%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutrition Information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients used.

Tried this recipe?Mention @IrishAmericanMomBlog or tag #irishamericanmom!

I hope you will like this Irish cherry cake recipe as much as I do.

If you do give it a try, do come back and let us know in the comment section below.

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I LOVE hearing from bakers like me, who enjoy creating a little taste of Ireland.

Every time I cut a slice of this cherry cake, I hold my breath, in anticipation of the position of my cherries. I say a little prayer that they've decided to stay speckled throughout the cake.

But if they do sink, don't worry. It still tastes lovely.

Happy baking to all.

Irish Cherry Tea Cake Recipe (27)

Slán agus beannacht,

(Goodbye and blessings)

Mairéad -Irish American Mom

Pronunciation - slawn ah-gus ban-ock-th

Mairéad - rhymes with parade

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