Giant Cherry Shortcake

published Jul 9, 2023
summer
Cherry Shortcake Recipe

This giant cherry shortcake is a fun take on the classic strawberry shortcake and couldn’t be easier to assemble.

Serves8

Prep20 minutes

Cook45 minutes to 50 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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a shortbread cake topped with whipped cream and syrupy cherries with a slice taken out
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

Cherries are very high up on my list of favorite fruits, and now that cherry season is finally here, I wanted to develop a recipe that would celebrate this summer staple. Last year, I put cherries to good use in my stone fruit and burrata panzanella salad, but this year I went with something sweet. 

Strawberry shortcake is a dessert that screams summertime, and I wondered why I’d never thought to do a version using cherries instead! Thankfully, that has now been remedied with this cheerful (and giant) cherry shortcake recipe. I present to you, your new favorite summertime dessert.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

How to Make Cherry Shortcake

In lieu of individual shortcakes, I went with one big shortcake to really make a statement — and to reduce the amount of time spent on assembling before serving. The shortcake itself is buttery, just sweet enough, and somewhere smack dab in the middle of a cake and a biscuit texturally. A sprinkling turbinado sugar on top also adds a delightful textural element. 

For the whipped cream, I opted not to use sugar. The cake and the cherry topping deliver on sweetness, and I didn’t want to take away from the focal point of the recipe — the cherries — by overpowering them with a super-sweet whipped cream. Instead, I use just a bit of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste for a perfectly balanced dessert.  

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Nicole Rufus

The Best Types of Cherries to Use for Cherry Shortcake

While this recipe is a celebration of the fact that fresh cherries are back in season, this cherry shortcake can be made year-round — just use frozen cherries!

So you can use fresh cherries or frozen ones, sweet or sour — just be sure to use a cherry pitter to pit any fresh ones. If you ask me, it’s hard to go wrong when it comes to cherries.

Cherry Shortcake Recipe

This giant cherry shortcake is a fun take on the classic strawberry shortcake and couldn’t be easier to assemble.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 45 minutes to 50 minutes

Serves 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the cherry topping:

  • 2 cups

    fresh or thawed frozen sour or sweet cherries

  • 1/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

For the shortcake:

  • Cooking spray

  • 2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) cold unsalted butter

  • 1 cup

    cold heavy cream

  • 2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

  • 1 tablespoon

    turbinado sugar

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 cup

    cold heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

Make the cherry topping:

  1. Pit 2 cups fresh cherries or thaw 2 cups frozen cherries.

  2. Place 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Add the cherries, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss to combine.

  3. Cook over medium-high heat until the cherries begin to break down and the mixture begins to simmer and thicken slightly, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the shortcake and whipped cream.

Make the shortcake:

  1. Place 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Grate 1 stick cold unsalted butter on the large holes of a box grater into the flour mixture. Use your fingers to toss the butter into the flour and break up any clumps of grated butter.

  2. Pour in 1 cup cold heavy cream and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Stir with a flexible spatula or wooden spoon until the dough comes together and there is no loose flour.

  3. Transfer the dough to the cake pan. Press it down into an even layer that reaches the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar.

  4. Bake until the shortcake is golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Flip the shortcake out of the pan onto the rack and discard the parchment. Let cool completely, about 1 hour.

Make the whipped cream:

  1. Place 1 cup cold heavy cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer). Beat with the whisk attachment on medium speed until firm peaks form, 6 to 7 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to assemble the cake.

Assemble the cake:

  1. When ready to serve, place the shortcake on a serving or cake plate. Transfer the whipped cream onto the center of the cake and spread into an even layer without going over the edges of the cake. Spoon the cherry topping on top of the whipped cream.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The cherry topping, shortcake, and whipped cream can be made up to 1 day in advance. Once cooled, tightly wrap the shortcake in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. Refrigerate the cherry topping and whipped cream in separate airtight containers. Let the cherry topping come to room temperature and assemble right before serving.

Storage: Once assembled, this cake is best eaten immediately, but can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.