Sweet Cherry Vanilla Cake with Red, White, and Blue Swirl Frosting


Summer is finally here and I couldn’t be more thrilled! It truly is my favorite time of year. Not only are the skies bright and the weather warm, but the fruit is outstanding. So many delicious fruits are in season during summer, but hands-down my favorite has to be cherries. Cherries and summer always go together in my mind, and that’s why I think cherry desserts are so perfect for July 4th. This cherry vanilla cake will make a real splash at your cookout. Whether you’re hosting or just bringing dessert, everyone will love you for it.

The cake itself is a moist vanilla butter cake, spiked with dark-sweet cherries and accented with a little almond extract. For the frosting, you can use whatever you like best. My favorite is this Swiss meringue buttercream, because of the silky texture and lightly sweet taste. But really anything would work; it’s more about the cool swirl effect than anything else.

To add some fireworks to the cherry vanilla cake, make some red, white and blue swirl frosting.  Just divide your frosting into three separate bowls, one big and two smaller. Place the white frosting in the larger bowl, tint one of the smaller bowls of frosting red, and the other blue. (For a true-blue, similar to what’s on the American flag, use a combination of royal blue and violet gel food coloring.) Frost the whole top of the sheet cake with white, then drop a few dollops of the colored frosting on the cake and swirl around until you’re happy with the look. Finish with a sprinkling of edible star glitter for a festive look that’s just perfect for the holiday!

Sweet Cherry Vanilla Cake with Red, White, and Blue Swirl Frosting


  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups dark-sweet cherries, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but cool
  • Red gel paste food coloring
  • Royal blue gel paste food coloring
  • Violet gel paste food coloring
  • Edible star-shaped glitter

This cherry vanilla cake is a moist vanilla butter cake, spiked with dark-sweet cherries and accented with a little almond extract. 

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  • Yield
    10-12 servings
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For the sweet cherry vanilla cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, and mist a 9x13-inch baking pan generously with non-stick spray.
  2. Place the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the butter and stir on medium speed until the mixture resembles damp sand (3 to 5 minutes).
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula after each addition.
  5. Stir in the milk, sour cream, and extracts, then turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat for about a minute and a half, to aerate the batter and build the cake's structure.
  6. Fold in the cherries, transfer to the prepared pan, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the thickest part of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely before decorating.

For the Red, White, & Blue Swirled Frosting:

  1. Place the egg whites and sugar in a large mixing bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Cook, whisking occasionally, until thin, translucent, and no longer gritty when rubbed between the thumb and forefinger.
  2. Whip on high speed until the meringue holds stiff peaks (about 5 minutes). Cool the meringue until there is no hint of warmth when you place your hand on the side of the bowl (you can place the bowl in the refrigerator for 10 to 20 minutes, if needed).
  3. Whip in the butter on medium-high speed, one tablespoon at a time. (If the frosting starts to look curdled, keep whipping. If the frosting looks runny, place the bowl and whisk attachment in the refrigerator for 10 to 20 minutes, then re-whip.)
  4. Divide the frosting into three separate bowls, one large and two smaller.
  5. Tint one of the smaller bowls with red gel paste. Tint the other smaller bowl with royal blue and violet gel paste.
  6. Frost the cake with white frosting, then drop dollops of red and blue frosting on top and swirl together.
  7. Garnish with edible star glitter.

Nutritional Information

Per Serving

  • Calories: 978
  • Fat Content: 64.2g
  • Cholesterol Content: 341mg
  • Sodium Content: 839mg
  • Carbohydrate Content: 94g
  • Fiber Content: 1.4g
  • Sugar Content: 63.4g
  • Protein Content: 12.1g