Frozen or fresh cherries can be used in this delicious cherry cake filling. It's thick, flavorful, and perfect for filling cake layers, cupcakes, black forest ice cream, cheesecakes, and pies.
This cherry cake filling is made from sweet dark cherries. You can use fresh or frozen cherries, which makes it super easy.
The delicious cherry flavor is enhanced with lemon juice and almond extract. It's lightly sweetened, but not too much, so the taste of the tangy cherries still comes through. Try it on black forest cake (or white forest cake) or cherry turnovers, or use a cherry sauce on vanilla ice cream. I've used it in this black forest ice cream too.
It's similar to a cherry compote, but this recipe adds a thickener, while compotes don't. This ensures the result is nice and thick to hold as cake fillings without seeping through the layers.
The simple ingredients amounts are written in the full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here is a rundown of what you will need.
- Dark sweet cherries - They can be fresh or frozen cherries. Frozen cherries are usually frozen at their peak ripeness and sweetness so they will be extra sweet and flavorful. They can be found at the grocery store all year round. You can also mix sweet and sour cherries, though the sugar may need to be increased in the recipe. You can leave them whole, or use chopped cherries.
- Sugar (or another sweetener) - Granulated sugar is used in this recipe, but you can substitute it for another sweetener if you prefer.
- Fresh lemon juice - Lemon juice enhances the flavor of the cherries.
- Vanilla extract
- Almond extract - this really brings out the cherry flavor.
- Salt - Just a pinch to balance the sweetness.
- Cornstarch or arrowroot - To thicken the cherry cake filling.
- Water - A little water is used to mix up the cornstarch.
In a medium saucepan, combine cold water and cornstarch. Mix it into a slurry.
Add cherries, granulated sugar, salt, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract.
Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and stir regularly as the mixture begins to warm up.
As the mixture boils, it will thicken, become jelly-like, and lose its cloudy appearance. Lower the heat and let it boil for around 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
Take it off the heat and let it cool.
Once cooled to room temperature, store in the fridge in an airtight container until needed.
Freezing cherry cake filling
Fillings made with cornstarch can become spongy or split when defrosted. You can rectify this by reheating the cake filling once it has been defrosted and whisking until it thickens again. If it's not thickening, add ½ tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with ¾ tablespoon of water. Bring to a boil and whisk til thick and glossy.
This is not an issue if using this as a cherry pie filling, as it will get reheated in the oven.
You can also substitute the cornstarch in the recipe for arrowroot. This freezes a little better. The exact amount of arrowroot powder can be used in place of cornstarch.
Uses for cherry cake filling
This cake filling is perfect for:
- Sandwiching in between layers of chocolate cake or vanilla cake, frosted with buttercream frosting or chocolate ganache.
- Dollop over pound cake.
- Cherry cupcake filling - Use it as the center of vanilla cupcakes to make filled cupcakes! Use a cupcake corer or small knife to scoop the center of each cupcake and then fill the middle with cherry filling. Then top with your favorite frosting. They would make sweet valentine's day cupcakes.
- Rolled up in sweet dough to make cherry cinnamon rolls.
- Use it as a filling for turnovers or pies. Double the recipe to make enough homemade cherry pie filling to fill a 9-inch pie.
- 460g (1 lb) fresh or frozen pitted cherries
- 65g (⅓ cup) granulated sugar (or more if the cherries are tart)
- 2 ½ Tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon almond extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Mix 2 ½ tablespoons of cold water with the cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Mix it into a slurry.
- Add cherries, granulated sugar, salt, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract.
- Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and stir regularly as the mixture begins to warm up and the cherries release their juices.
- Turn the heat up to medium and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring regularly. As the mixture boils, it will thicken, become jelly-like, and lose its cloudy appearance.
- Once boiling, lower the heat and let it boil for around 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Take it off the heat and let it cool. Once cooled to room temperature, store in the fridge in an airtight container until needed.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 87Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 71mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 15gProtein: 1g
This is an informational estimate only. I am not a certified Dietitian or Nutritionist