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This cherry almond buckle combines a soft and buttery cake with plenty of fresh, sweet cherries. Hinted with almond and lightly topped with a brown sugar crumble, this dessert is just as simple as it is delicious. There’s truly very little effort for a big reward– and isn’t that what summer baking is all about?

cherry almond buckle in white pie dish

What Is a Buckle Dessert?

Fruit cobbler, crisps, and crumbles– though different, these specialties all fall under the same dessert umbrella. There’s also slump, pandowdy, boy bait, and more. A lot of these are cobbler-like desserts made with fruit, each tasty in their own right, and excellent alternatives to more time-consuming fruit pies and pie crust. Serious Eats breaks down each into detail if you’re interested in reading more!

A buckle cake is an old-fashioned coffee cake or crumb cake studded with lots of blueberries or other various fruits. You mix the fruit into the batter and as the buckle dessert bakes, it “buckles” or warps around the fruit which gives the surface an indented and textured appearance. Though it’s topped with crumbs like breakfast crumb cakes, buckles are usually enjoyed for dessert. (Though there’s every excuse to serve this first thing in the morning!)

So isn’t this just a fruity crumb cake that we eat for dessert? Yes. And it’s awesome.


Cherry Almond Buckle Details

  • Flavor: This is a dessert where cherries shine because there’s not much else in the way. (You’ll love cherry crisp for the same reason.) Of course there’s also the impossibly buttery cake with hints of almond extract, plus a lightly cinnamon-spiced brown sugar topping, but even still… those cherries take the cake. Literally!
  • Texture: You may recognize this recipe because it’s based off of a popular favorite. Many readers absolutely adore our raspberry almond crumb cake and with good reason– the cake is extra buttery and soft with a layer of juicy raspberries and crisp crumbs on top. Today’s cherry buckle has the same texture, but we’re using more fruit and mixing the cherries directly in the batter. (Which is what we do when making this blackberry cream cheese crumb cake, too.)
  • Ease: This falls under our beginner recipes category. The batter is made from very basic baking ingredients like butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. The crumb topping is optional, but you might as well throw it on top considering how easy it is. Mix flour, brown sugar, and a touch of cinnamon together, then gently mix in melted butter until crumbly. That’s it. Deciding if this is for breakfast or dessert will be your hardest job.
cherry buckle

Key Ingredients in This Cherry Buckle

Here’s everything you need to know about key ingredients used in this cherry buckle recipe. Give it a quick read before starting at home!

  • Flour: You’ll use all-purpose flour in both the cake batter and crumb topping. Some buckle recipes call for cake flour, but it proved much too light for the heavy cherries.
  • Baking Powder: The original crumb cake recipe uses both baking powder and baking soda. I skip the baking soda in this recipe because I didn’t want the cake to rise too tall. Really, the center of attention here is the cherries.
  • Sugar: Use white granulated sugar in the cake batter and brown sugar in the crumb topping. To simplify it, you could certainly use white granulated sugar in the topping but you’ll miss the brown sugar flavor. Do not use brown sugar in the batter because the baked buckle will taste too heavy.
  • Sour Cream: Cake recipes usually call for a liquid such as milk, but we’re using semi-liquid sour cream here. It keeps the crumb extra moist and tender– I wouldn’t swap for buttermilk because the dessert may end up tasting gooey. As a result of using sour cream, the cake batter is pretty thick. Do your best to fold in the cherries without over-mixing.
  • Cherries: I use and recommend fresh dark sweet cherries in this recipe. Pit them, then slice in half or quarters. You could easily use rainier or sour cherries with no changes to the recipe. You can use frozen cherries if needed, but make sure they are halved or quartered. Do not thaw. If using canned cherries, drain all liquid and chop in half before using. Do not use cherries canned in heavy syrup and do not use cherry pie filling because both are already sweetened.
  • Cinnamon & Almonds in Crumb Topping: These two add a little flair to the brown sugar crumb topping. I didn’t want anything to overpower the cherries, so I went light on both. We definitely enjoyed the crunch of the almonds on top and if you love a little texture, so will you.
halved pitted cherries in cake batter

step photos showing cherry cake batter, crumb topping, and the buckle before baking

slice of cherry almond buckle

*Special Baking Tools: I don’t use it often but when I need it, I am massively grateful that I have it… a cherry pitter. You will save so much prep time, effort, and mess. You’ll also need the correct size baking pan and I recommend an 8-inch square baking pan (here’s one I use and love), a deep dish pie dish, or a 9-inch springform pan for this cherry almond buckle. A 9-inch round cake pan is a little too small. A 9-inch square baking pan could work, but the buckle will be thin and thus require a shorter bake time.

(The pictured pie plate I’m using is from Target a few years ago and I can’t find it anymore!)

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cherry buckle

Cherry Almond Buckle

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: serves 8 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Follow this easy recipe to make a soft and buttery buckle cake that’s loaded with sweet cherries and topped with brown sugar crumbles.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 and 1/3 cups (166gall-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115gunsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150ggranulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract*
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (335g) halved or quartered fresh cherries*

Crumb Topping

  • 1/4 cup (31gall-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons (30gunsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup (22gsliced almonds*

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 9-inch deep dish pie dish, a 9-inch springform pan, or an 8-inch square baking pan.
  2. Make the batter: Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. The mixture may look curdled; that’s ok. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients until smooth. Do not overmix. The batter will be thick. Carefully fold in the cherries and do not overmix. The batter will likely have streaks of pink; that’s ok. Spoon and spread into prepared pan. Set aside.
  4. Make the crumb topping: With a fork, mix the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. Stir in the melted butter until crumbs form. Do not overmix because the mixture will turn into a paste. Keep it crumbly. Sprinkle the crumb mixture and sliced almonds evenly on top of batter.
  5. Bake for 38-45 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The buckle is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you find the top of the buckle is browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
  6. Remove from the oven and set it on a wire rack. Cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Those cherries are pretty hot.
  7. Cover leftover dessert tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Because of the fresh fruit, this dessert tastes best within the first couple days.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Freeze baked and cooled buckle for up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature before serving.
  2. Baking Pan: I recommend an 8-inch square baking pan (here’s one I use and love), a deep dish pie dish, or a 9-inch springform pan for this cherry almond buckle. A 9-inch round cake pan is a little too small. A 9-inch square baking pan could work, but the buckle will be thin and thus require a shorter bake time.
  3. Sour Cream: Full fat sour cream is a key ingredient in this batter. I don’t suggest subbing the sour cream with a liquid. Plain full-fat yogurt is the best replacement.
  4. Almond Extract & Almonds: Feel free to skip the almond extract and/or sliced almonds on top. If skipping the almond extract, I recommend adding about 1 teaspoon of lemon zest for some extra flavor. And if you’d like to top with another nut, chopped pecans or walnuts are excellent here.
  5. Cherries: I use and recommend fresh dark sweet cherries in this recipe. Pit them, then slice in half or quarters. You could easily use rainier or sour cherries with no changes to the recipe. You can use frozen cherries if needed, but make sure they are halved or quartered. Do not thaw. If using canned cherries, drain all liquid and chop in half before using. Do not use cherries canned in heavy syrup and do not use cherry pie filling because both are already sweetened. If you’d like to substitute the cherries, we’ve tested this with the same amount of blueberries (fresh or frozen– do not thaw) and they work wonderfully. For extra flavor, feel free to add 1 teaspoon lemon zest when you add the vanilla extract.

Keywords: cherry almond buckle

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. SO happy with the way this recipe turned out! If you haven’t yet made anything with your fresh summer cherries, give this recipe a try! The buckle is perfectly fluffy with that punch of cherry coming through. Delicious!

  2. I’ve made this recipe with cherries and also with blueberries and it was great both times! Would making it with raspberries work well do you think? Thank you for such an amazing recipe!

    1. Hi Emily, we’ve only tested this as written and again with blueberries (but here is a similar recipe with blackberries and we assume raspberries would work here as well).

  3. Perfect. Took a while longer to cook in my oven but worth the wait.

    1. One of my favorite recipes. I was wondering if anyone has done instant pot baking. I’m in a bit of a pickle as my oven broke and I desperately want to make this recipe but it seems the only method I have of baking at the moment is the instant pot which has a bake function. Any pointers would be appreciated

      1. Hi Wen, We are so glad that you enjoy this recipe! We have never tested this in an instant pot but let us know if you give it a try.

      2. I tried it in an instapot but had to use 2 6 inch cake pans. Came out perfect but still much easier on the oven.

  4. This was so delicious and buttery. A huge hit this weekend! We are it for dessert, breakfast an snacks 😉
    Will be making again!
    Only thing is mine took way longer to cook (about 15 minutes more), but turned out great and perfectly golden.

  5. We had way too many local cherries to eat before they went bad, so stumbled upon this recipe. I’m not a cherry lover, and assumed I wouldn’t care for this recipe. Wow, it was delicious! Super moist cake and the texture of the cherries was perfect…not too soggy or firm. I used half coconut sugar because our cherries were extremely sweet. I’ll make this every summer. Thank you Sally!

    1. We’re thrilled you enjoyed this one, Danica! Thanks so much for reporting back.

  6. Making this this weekend! Does the baking time differ depending on whether you use a glass dish or a metal one (like the springform pan)?

    1. Hi Dayna! Bake times will be very close, generally baking in a metal dish will take *slightly* less time than a glass dish, but we always recommend keeping an eye on it in the oven. Hope it’s a hit!

      1. It was!! Love this recipe, so easy. I used tart canned cherries and it was perfectly sweet topped with homemade coconut whipped cream.

  7. Made this in a heart-shaped springform pan for Valentine’s Day breakfast, using canned tart cherries. I drizzled it with a little almond-flavored icing to dress it up, since I didn’t use almonds. Delicious!

  8. This cake was absolutely delicious served warm with vanilla ice cream. I made it for a dinner party and our guests were super excited to take a big slab home with them!

  9. This was a hit! I am not a skilled baker.. I do struggle with it so. But as usual, the recipes from this website always come out very well.. very dependable and lovely recipes! I really value your added tips and comments.

    My digestive system does not tolerate white sugar well so I replaced it with Demerara sugar which I ground down a little bit, and I used Indian curd (yogurt) instead of sour cream because that’s what I had on hand. I think because the yogurt may be little more watery than sour cream it took a few minutes longer to bake but everything turned out perfect in the end.

    Cherries are not in season so I was forced to usefrozen cherries. I got a bag of frozen cherries that was half sweet dark cherries and half bright red tart cherries.. and that was a PERFECT combination for this recipe! (I think the brand name was Wyman’s).
    I will definitely be making this again for a family. Thank you!

    Ps…. If you have any tips on how to routinely substitute Demerara sugar for white sugar I’m all ears.. occasionally that substitution creates unfavorable results (

  10. I have made this recipe 3 times and it is always a a huge hit. However, I substitute the fresh cherries with 2 , 14.5 oz cans of red tart cherries, drained. Otherwise I follow the recipe as it is written. People always ask for seconds so I guess they like it.!

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