Gluten Free Cherry Cake Recipe

by Carol Kicinski on June 18, 2011

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Gluten Free Cherry Cake

Gluten Free Cherry Cake Recipe

My father reminds me of a character in a Frank Capra movie, an ordinary man who does extraordinary things. Things like raising 3 daughters alone after our mother died, serving his country selflessly for 30 years, risking his life to save another when in the military and then never telling anyone. I suppose to all little girls their father is a hero but I would never have known mine was a real life hero if I hadn’t been looking through my grandmother’s bible and found a newspaper clipping.

One would think that being a career military man, a war veteran, a pilot in the Air Force and a commander of troops would make a person hard and stern. But not my father. He was always kind and patient with his daughters, something we girls took shameless advantage of. I remember once ditching school to protest against the very thing he had dedicated his life to but he wrote me a note to get back into class the following day anyway. It was enough for him to know I believed what I was doing was right, even if he did not agree.

When my Dad was four years old his appendix burst and he had emergency surgery. It was a dangerous procedure back then and his doctor told my grandmother he probably wouldn’t make it. My grandmother told the doctor in no uncertain terms that oh, yes he would make it! He pulled through the operation and then the doctor said my father would probably never walk again. Once again my grandmother refused to accept the doctor’s dire words, she kept my father at her side for months, encouraging, teaching and helping and not only did my father walk, he walked tall!

This year for Father’s Day, I am making a recipe from my grandmother’s recipe box (with a little conversion to make it gluten-free). I am celebrating not only my father but the woman who made him the man he is.

This is a charming, old fashioned bundt cake, rich with cream cheese and studded with cherries. It isn’t fancy, or complicated, there are no exotic ingredients – it is just plain good. It reminds me of both my father and my grandmother – something extraordinary that comes from the ordinary.

Gluten Free Cherry Cake

Gluten Free Cherry Cake Recipe


2 ¼ cups gluten-free flour, use divided*
½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1½ teaspoons vanilla
4 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup maraschino cherries, drained (juice reserved), chopped and dried
1½ cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons reserved maraschino cherry juice
1 -2 tablespoons milk

* to make your own gluten-free flour blend, combine 1¼ cup superfine white rice flour, ½ cup potato starch (not potato flour), ¼ cup tapioca starch, ¼ cup sweet rice flour and 1 teaspoon xanthan gum.


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 10 inch bundt pan well with gluten-free non-stick cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl whisk together 2 cups flour, the salt, and the baking powder until well combined.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the sugar, butter, cream cheese and vanilla together on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mix just until combined. Combine the cherries with the remaining ¼ cup flour and toss to coat. Add the cherries and flour to the batter and fold in with a spatula. Slowly put the batter in the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 1 hour 20 – 30 minutes or until the cake is lightly browned, springy to the touch and a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Combine the confectioner’s sugar with the maraschino cherry juice. Add the milk, a little at a time until it reaches a thick but pour-able consistency. Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake.


This Gluten Free Cherry Cake recipe makes 10 – 12 servings.

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owner’s. This blog accepts free manufacturers’ samples and forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. Affiliate links may be included in this post.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Donna June 18, 2011 at 9:33 pm

What a touching post Carol. Thanks for sharing. I hope your father has a great Father’s Day!


Carol Kicinski June 21, 2011 at 7:57 am

Thanks Donna!


InTolerantChef June 19, 2011 at 6:30 am

What a wonderful man! My father was very similar, a reluctant hero. The cake is such a lovely way to connect the generations and the love.


Carol Kicinski June 21, 2011 at 7:56 am

Thanks and I love that phrase, reluctant hero, such a perfect description! We are both lucky to have great dads.


Shirley @ gfe June 19, 2011 at 7:13 am

What a wonderful post, Carol! Happy Father’s Day to your dad! And that cherry cake looks sensational. So pretty and appealing. I know he’ll love it. You should also enter it into Go Ahead Honey this month for You Love Them, Spoil Them theme by Aubree of Living Free. :-) Just FYI, the doctor who was the medical advisor or the GIG group I belong to said that appendicitis is often the first sign of celiac disease. I’ve always known that organ issues can be related to celiac, but had never heard that specifically. I’ve known quite a few folks who’ve had appendicitis and none have ever been tested for celiac, so I don’t have any more confirmation that way, but I find it very intriguing.



Carol Kicinski June 21, 2011 at 7:55 am

Thanks Shirley. I suspect my Dad is gluten intolerant. At home he eats gluten free but he and my hubby will go out for hamburgers or fried fish every once in awhile. I find he does better when he is sticking to a gluten free diet but 87 year old men can be stubborn :)


Maggie June 19, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Carol this is such a great post. Sounds like you’re blessed with a wonderful Father :) This cake looks perfect.


Carol Kicinski June 21, 2011 at 7:53 am

Thanks Maggie, I could not agree more!


GFree_Miel June 19, 2011 at 10:01 pm

What a pretty cake! Your father sounds like a really amazing person (one who probably has some really awesome stories). I hope you and your family and a great father’s day.


Carol Kicinski June 21, 2011 at 7:53 am

Thank you and yes, my Dad is pretty amazing. We had a great Father’s Day!


Angie Halten June 20, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Great post! Cooking for the ones we love, always makes the food taste better. This cake would look even more beautiful, decorated with a few crystallized edible flowers.


Carol Kicinski June 21, 2011 at 7:49 am

I agree Angie, edible flowers would be beautiful!


Nancy Cherven June 21, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Carol, thank you for the lovely recipe and story.
Along with a note I wrote, I sent this post to my Dad.
His copied words: “THANK YOU NANCY
He can’t wait for me to visit him in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada to whip up this cake for us!
You help make our GF world memorable.
Love Ya!


Carol Kicinski June 25, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Oh Nancy! Thank you so much. What a lovely comment. I hope you have a wonderful time with your Dad when you get up there.


Debbie Smith June 23, 2011 at 7:56 pm

What a lovely post–I can’t wait to make this cake this weekend! It looks delicious. I really appreciate your including the flour blend ingredients. I’ve had trouble coming up with the right blend for baking.


Carol Kicinski June 25, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Thank you Debbie!


Elizabeth June 28, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Wonderfully written. I just found your site. I have an almost four year old who will be celebrating her first GF birthday party and I want to make something good enough for everyone to enjoy (and not resort to a “special” cake just for her or using a box mix). This looks like just the thing! Do you think it could transfer to cupcakes?


Carol Kicinski June 29, 2011 at 10:34 am

Hmm, I would think that the cupcakes would work just fine. I only hesitate because of the fact I made this in a tube pan which bakes the cakes on the inside as well as the outside. But I think cupcakes are small enough that it will work just fine. Thank you for your lovely words and welcome to my blog!


Nancy August 31, 2011 at 10:08 am

Carol, what food product can I use to make this dairy free and quanity?


Nancy August 31, 2011 at 10:11 am

I just baked this cake and changed the cherries to chocolate chipits! Smells awesome…to hot to cut to taste but I will let you know later. N


Debbie N December 27, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Yummy! Yummy! Yummy! I separated the batter into 6 small bundt molds and baked for an hour. I can freeze half for later. My husband and two boys loved this cake! Me too! Thank you for the recipe! I’m really enjoying your website and have recommended it to many friends.


Carol Kicinski December 31, 2012 at 8:47 am

Thanks Debbie – so happy you all enjoyed it!


Ellen Pulley February 12, 2018 at 11:12 am

The link to maraschino cherries has been hijacked.


Carol Kicinski February 12, 2018 at 3:57 pm

Oops! Sorry about that, Ellen. We’ve corrected the links.


Bev April 29, 2018 at 11:10 pm

Hi Carol. Such a touching story! I love to hear such things! My father passed away several years ago. He was afraid to go to the doctor, said he didn’t want to be given a ‘death sentence,’ thinking he had cancer. By the time we convinced him to go, we found out it was celiac disease. His body was already weakened by the condition and beginning to shut down by that time. (This was after several years living with the symptoms). I now am experiencing the same symptoms. The doctor said my antibodies against wheat were 149, whereas below 19 is normal. I still have to finish the testing to determine whether it is a wheat intolerance or full celiac disease. My appendix had to be removed a few years ago, so maybe there is something to that theory suggested above by Shirley. I am also a type 1 diabetic, so maybe some connection there as well…? Anyway, I love to bake! I came across a recipe for Shirley Temle cake, so I wanted to find a gluten free version. The original recipe uses a non-GF boxed cake mix, 7 up soda, no cream cheese, ,and is baked in a bundt pan; then poked with skewers when done, to make holes for drizzling the cherry juice over it. Your recipe looks amazing! My question is, can I make your recipe this way, using a pre-boxed GF baking mix, and in what amount? Or can I substitute a gluten free cake mix for the dry cake ingredients? And then would the texture hold up, made as the bundt/poke cake? Thanks so much for any suggestions!


Carol Kicinski May 1, 2018 at 9:55 am

Hi Bev,

I’m sorry to hear about your dad. It’s scary the effect that celiac can have on the body and that many people don’t realize how serious it can be. I’m glad you’re on the path to determining what is impacting your health. And yes, there is a connection between diabetes and celiac.

As far as the Shirley Temple Cake recipe, I’d suggest you combine parts of the recipe you found with parts of this recipe, if you’re willing to experiment a bit. I don’t know the full ingredients and directions of the original non-GF cake recipe you found, but it sounds to me like you could just swap the non-GF boxed cake mix with a GF cake mix of the same flavor (I’m assuming it calls for white cake mix?). Then, do the same thing with the cherry juice into the holes you poke in the cake, and you can make the glaze in my Cherry Cake recipe and top your cake with that. What do you think?

Hope this helps!



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