Breakfast/ Recipes

cherry vanilla breakfast cake

Good morning!

I’m in a particularly wonderful mood for a few reasons this morning, a few of them being that it’s Saturday and sunny…but mainly because I just ate cake for breakfast.

You heard me! Cake for breakfast! It truly doesn’t get better than that. Especially on a Saturday.

This cherry vanilla breakfast cake is super easy to throw together and not overly sweet, which makes it great for breakfast (or snack, or dessert or…dinner).

Actually, it’s more like a giant vanilla bean muffin studded with ripe cherries, if I do say so myself. Perfect with some French press coffee or a foamy tea latte.

This was actually my first attempt at baking with fresh cherries. I’ve always been deterred from it in the past because I never wanted to spend an extra five minutes to remove cherry pits.

But guess what? This cake is totally worth the extra five minutes. In fact, I think baking this spurred a deep love for fresh cherries and I can foresee a lot more cherry baked goods coming in the future.

Well, as long as sweet cherries keep going on sale at Trader Joe’s, that is.

I also love how rustic this cake is. It reminds me of something I would get at a small French bakery. I sprinkled vanilla sugar over the top before baking and it totally took the whole thing over the top. I loved the sweet crunch!

This cake also reminds me of Jergen’s cherry vanilla body lotion….in a very good way. I need to pick up some more of that stuff next time I’m at Target!

This is best baked while in your pajamas… go for it!

Cherry Vanilla Breakfast Cake

yields 16 small slices

Print this recipe!

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 T baking powder

1 cup sweet cherries, pitted (you could also try blackberries or blueberries here)

1 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

4 T melted butter

1 vanilla bean, scraped of seeds (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)

vanilla sugar to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter and flour a nine inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Whisk together well then set aside.

Beat the eggs until foamy, add the vanilla bean seeds (or extract), buttermilk and melted butter. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until combined. Batter will be thick; be careful not to over-mix.

Spread batter into baking pan and sprinkle cherries over top, pressing in gently. Sprinkle an additional tablespoon of sugar over the cake and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden and the sides begin to pull away from the pan.

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  • Stephanie
    January 22, 2011 at 4:06 am

    If I am not mistaking…you are in California…I woke up at 7 in NYC to work. Why are you up at 4?

    • Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy
      January 22, 2011 at 5:26 am

      I had the same reaction! I appreciate baking at any time of day, and that cake looks delicious, but since it’s 8:30 my time it must be 5:30 your time. Are you always up this early on a Saturday??

    • M
      January 22, 2011 at 6:11 am

      Also, how is it sunny at 4:00 am?

      • Baking 'n' Books
        January 22, 2011 at 7:43 am

        I would assume that Jenna writes these posts AHEAD of time and not just before she publishes them. Given the volume she has to write in a day and writing her book and her own life (!), she needs to prepare in advance (correct me if I’m wrong Jenna).

        Plus, lots of times I can’t sleep in the middle of the night – read, then go back to bed ;)….now with that said, it is 11:00 a.m here and I just woke up. I used to feel reallllllly guilty about that, but now I realize I only felt guilty because everyone else seems to get up early. I’m up early the rest of the week and I see no reason to be so hard on myself anymore πŸ™‚ Guess I’m must lazy! Hah!

    • J.
      January 22, 2011 at 6:31 am

      That’s what I was thinking. I totally sleep in…setting me up for lazy days. I can’t wait for spring and sun to arrive also. I take one short walk outside and a bit of sun would be so brightening I think!

    • nickee
      January 22, 2011 at 7:43 am

      LOL! I just figured she set it to postearly this morning for us on the other coast :))

  • Lauren at KeepItSweet
    January 22, 2011 at 4:32 am

    Cake for breakfast seems like a wonderful way to start a Saturday!

  • megan @ blackberries for jam
    January 22, 2011 at 4:33 am

    I don’t care if you’re up at 4 am, this is a message that must be spread. I only wish I wasn’t already eating breakfast. Toast . . . lame.

  • mom
    January 22, 2011 at 4:42 am

    Yum! This sounds delicious! I will be making this for your father very soon!

  • Carlee
    January 22, 2011 at 4:47 am

    Cake for breakfast? Yes please. This looks great – can’t wait to try it.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet
    January 22, 2011 at 4:50 am

    Mmmmm I LOVE cherry vanilla!!

  • elizabeth
    January 22, 2011 at 4:51 am

    This looks great Jenna. I will make it tomorrow for my kids! I am sure they will be thanking you!!

    I have been trying to find recipes for really really healthy muffins that I can make ahead and freeze, so I can grab them when I do not have time for a true breakfast (which happens often!) I make your whole wheat blue berry muffins a lot, but was wondering if you have any other healthy muffin recipes you would share.


    • jenna
      January 22, 2011 at 10:49 am

      I hope to do more muffins in the future, but as of now all I have are those blueberry ones, the cinnamon toast muffins and the blackberry orange. I’d like to experiment with a bran one soon..maybe next week!

  • Lisa
    January 22, 2011 at 4:56 am

    At 4:30 am your time, it cannot possibly be sunny yet! The recipe does look delicious, though.

  • sirenjess
    January 22, 2011 at 5:00 am

    I agree with Stephanie why are you awake? I know why I woke up early to run 8 miles then go cheer my friends at a race. I made the peanut butter no bake cookies and they rock!!!!! Now I’m going to have to buy cherries and bake this as well.

    • Becky
      January 22, 2011 at 5:10 am

      My guess is she is NOT awake at 4am on a Saturday! She probably wrote this post in advance and set it to be posted this morning (HOPEFULLY!)

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)
    January 22, 2011 at 5:09 am

    Yes, I admit it. I’ve always been too lazy to pit a bunch of fresh cherries for any recipe. But this sounds absolutely fabulous and totally worth the pitting process. Can’t wait to try it! πŸ˜€

    • jillian bean
      January 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm

      After hearing my coworkers rave about a cherry pitter from bed, bath and beyond….yes, I bought one. I love it! Is actually really fun and works well.

  • Marie-Journey to Body Zen
    January 22, 2011 at 5:15 am

    This looks really delish and I’m thinking it would be great for Valentines Day or even a work potluck dessert dish!

  • Amanda
    January 22, 2011 at 5:29 am

    Hey, Jenna. Hope I’m not bothering you with my questions, but I was wondering if you think I could use some type of non-dairy milk to make these? And would flax eggs work?


    • jenna
      January 22, 2011 at 10:48 am

      You’re not bothering me at all! This recipe really relies on the buttermilk…if it called for regular milk, I would say you could swap out, but since it’s buttermilk, I wouldn’t. This might be a hard one to veganize. You could try though! It might be awesome..let me know!

      • Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama}
        January 22, 2011 at 11:29 am

        You can add 1 Tbs. lemon to non-dairy milk to create “buttermilk”. Just stir it in and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

  • Lisa@ Dishes of Mrs. Fish
    January 22, 2011 at 5:43 am

    Cake for breakfast? Yes please!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    January 22, 2011 at 5:43 am

    Good Lord! What time did you wake up on this Saturday morning. You ARE in Cali, right?

    • jenna
      January 22, 2011 at 7:56 am

      Haha!! I wake up early, but not thaaaaat early. I wrote this pos late last night and set it on a timer to go up when all thought all of you east-coasteners would wake up and grab breakfast. I was hoping you would look at my blog before you ate and then make this instead! πŸ™‚ well, those were my hopes anyway.

      Currently in Cali it’s sunny and I’m eating cake for breakfast RiGHT NOW! πŸ˜‰

  • Evan Thomas
    January 22, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Oh God. Yes please. Just, yes please.

  • Kristen @ That Hoosier Girl
    January 22, 2011 at 5:53 am

    Yum! Combining two of my favorite loves – cherries and vanilla bean…although I’m still afraid of the actual vanilla beans for some reason. Maybe it’s the scary price tag and my habit of ruining things the first time I try to make them πŸ™‚ Regardless…I’ll have to give this a shot at some point!

  • Brenna [fabuleuxdestin]
    January 22, 2011 at 5:55 am

    Looks like another winner – another excuse to eat cake!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    January 22, 2011 at 5:59 am

    this reminds me of a fabulous treat my Papa used to make for us…he was such an incredible cook! cake for breakfast is always in style πŸ™‚

  • Camille
    January 22, 2011 at 6:10 am

    Ahhh, so this is what you were alluding to on FB by saying that cherry and vanilla was your new favorite flavor combo!
    Well, I like this recipe as much as I like cherry and vanilla together! So a lot!

  • Allie
    January 22, 2011 at 6:11 am

    cake for breakfast? amen!

  • Katherine: Unemployed
    January 22, 2011 at 6:14 am

    breakfast and cake? I’m okay with that

  • Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef
    January 22, 2011 at 6:21 am

    deeeelish! i’ve never baked with fresh cherries either but there’s a first time for everything, right? πŸ™‚

  • The Blue-Eyed Bakers
    January 22, 2011 at 6:27 am

    Cake for breakfast is the best! And we’re so jealous of those gorgeous fresh cherries!

  • Amy
    January 22, 2011 at 6:31 am

    Cake for breakfast? Yes please! And I love those plates. Too cute.

  • Kath
    January 22, 2011 at 6:35 am

    I would like to know how at 7:16AM EST you knew at 4:00AM west coast time that it was sunny!!!


    • M
      January 22, 2011 at 3:39 pm

      Who cares? It’s a cute post!

      • Dynamics
        January 22, 2011 at 4:10 pm

        The weatherman?!

  • Justeen @ Blissful Baking
    January 22, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Mmm that breakfast cake looks delightful! What a wonderful way to start a Saturday morning. I hate pitting cherries too, but for a cake that looks as delicious as this one, it is totally worth it!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    January 22, 2011 at 6:45 am

    I don’t usually like cheeries in stuff, but this actually looks really good!! And cake for breakfast?! I’m sold πŸ˜€

  • Gabby (Quest for Delicious)
    January 22, 2011 at 6:49 am

    I love that jergens lotion! Ahh this looks amazing. (:

  • Blog is the New Black
    January 22, 2011 at 6:53 am

    Perfect for me, vanilla beans just arrived in the mail!

  • Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen
    January 22, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Ohh! Amazing – I’ve been seeing cherries a lot…could this mean that it’s getting closer and closer to actual cherry seeeeeeeason! *eeee*! Jealous of your CA produce though. This sounds absolutely fantastic and seems like such a perfect breakfast for when you have house guests…no slaving over a griddle flipping pancakes or french toast!

  • Jessica
    January 22, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Wow…I haven’t thought of Jergen’s Cherry Vanilla lotion in forever…good stuff!

  • Kati
    January 22, 2011 at 7:15 am

    You keep outdoing yourself! I want to make everything you post πŸ™‚ I’m in a great mood too! !

  • Maria @ The Fitted Apron
    January 22, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Looks amazing! Love cake for breakfast especially pan (cakes).

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat)
    January 22, 2011 at 7:28 am

    If only I’d read this a little earlier, I’d have made breakfast cake for my birthday breakfast today. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow… πŸ™‚

  • Baking 'n' Books
    January 22, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Would this work with cranberries?

    And how many “servings” are you cakes typically….with no portion control, it would probably only turn into like…oh 3 or 4 for me πŸ˜‰

    • jenna
      January 22, 2011 at 10:46 am

      I wouldn’t make this with cranberries because cranberries aren’t all that sweet…they’re more tart. I would use either cherries, blackberries or blueberries. And regarding serving size, you can cut this into 16 small squares…would be great alongside scrambled eggs!

      • Baking 'n' Books
        January 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm

        Yeah, I feel the same way about cranberries and prefer dried because of that. Hmm…may I request a recipe for frozen cranberries in the future though? I still have half a bag in my freezer and not sure how to “make it work” (I’m watching Project Runway right now on repeat and it’s fitting…) πŸ˜‰

        • kristin
          January 24, 2011 at 4:11 am

          I have an amaaaaaaazing recipe for (though not very healthy) cranberry oatmeal bars that I make every year in the fall/winter and they are to die for. If you want me to send you the recipe, let me know!

          • jenna
            January 24, 2011 at 8:22 am

            Sounds great! I’d love the recipe!

          • kristin
            January 24, 2011 at 9:06 am

            Baking N Books, honestly I’m not that tech-saavy to know how to send it to you on here, but if you email me I’d be happy to email you the recipe right back! It’s Jenna, I’ll send it to you via your email link. Get excited, they are SO good!

  • Brittany
    January 22, 2011 at 7:37 am

    This looks delicious Jenna. I love fresh cherries!

  • Teri @BeePie Runs
    January 22, 2011 at 7:38 am

    I can totally count on you to make me hungry! This looks soooo good. Now I’ve gotta go to the store in my pjs to get some cherries… which won’t be so bad b/c where I live going to the store in pajamas is de rigueur πŸ™‚

  • Karen
    January 22, 2011 at 7:41 am

    You are the best food photographer ever, Jenna! Every dish you create looks simply delectable!

  • stacey-healthylife
    January 22, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Oh my that looks amazing, perfect for brunch also.

  • Krystina (Basil & Wine)
    January 22, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Man, cherry and vanilla is awesome together no matter what.

  • Sally - My Custard Pie
    January 22, 2011 at 8:44 am

    I can’t wait for cherry season here. This is right up my street – I’m a secret pudding-for-breakfast eater if we’ve had people over for supper. It helps provide a boost of energy to face the washing up. This would be worth making especially and maybe to bribe the teens to help me clear up the kitchen,

  • Michelle
    January 22, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Fresh cherries – yum! I always look forward to summer when they’re at peak!

  • Christena
    January 22, 2011 at 9:07 am

    I am actually thinking about baking this and taking it into work on Monday morning – we’ve got a stressful day and I think it would lighten the mood. Do you think it would do okay as cupcakes or a loaf? I’m envisioning mini-cupcakes with one cherry pushed into the top. Would you recommend any modifications if I try to do that? Maybe this is a dumb question, but I’m always afraid to deviate from recipes especially with regards to baking.

    • jenna
      January 22, 2011 at 10:44 am

      I think that sounds like a great idea! I would probably opt for a loaf instead of cupcakes because they really aren’t “cupcake-like” (not all that sweet…more like a muffin or bread). If you go for the loaf idea, make sure you butter and flour your loaf pan and then bake for 35-45 minutes, checking to see when the edges start to pull away. It’ll take longer in a loaf pan but that sounds like a good idea!

  • Amber K
    January 22, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Yum, this blog felt like a scratch and sniff since I’m currently wearing Jergens cherry vanilla lotion! And I didn’t even have to scratch anything! πŸ™‚

  • Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day
    January 22, 2011 at 9:14 am

    aagggghhhh!!! You’re killing me! I NEED those cherries.

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    January 22, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Cake + breakfast in the same sentence? Where do I sign up for your fan club?

  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking)
    January 22, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I’ve never baked with cherries before, but this looks like a good place to start πŸ™‚

  • Mauimandy@The Grains of Paradise
    January 22, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Those cherries look beautiful!! I remember picking cherries growing up in Nor Cal many years ago. So fun!

    • Imwaytoobusy
      January 22, 2011 at 11:11 am

      Breakfast cake!? Pure brilliance!

  • Maria
    January 22, 2011 at 11:08 am

    I could get used to this cake for breakfast.

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    January 22, 2011 at 11:41 am

    The cake looks..amazing!

    Cherries are such a beloved food but I never cook w/ them b/c I hate de-pitting them and i have de-pitter from Williams Sonoma…and it’s a very overpriced and under-performing gadget in my drawer. I need to get old school w/ a knife like you do.


  • Eliz@The Sweet Life
    January 22, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    What a beautiful, fresh, happy looking food! Great idea.

  • Dee
    January 22, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    This looks delicious!

    ps. I think I have the same fork! I love it. πŸ˜‰

  • Errign
    January 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    This cake looks amazing. I am currently starving, so I guess I’m headed to the hotel coffee shop in hopes that they’ve got something that looks like this! πŸ™‚ Happy Saturday, Jenna!

  • Maggie smilewritenow
    January 22, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Wow, these look fabulous! I love using cherries when I bake. I had waffles for breakfast (with jam – it’s better than syrup) but I would have liked this for a change of pace.

    Making and eating breakfast in pajamas is the best. I swear it makes the meal taste better!

  • mom
    January 22, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Just made my vanilla sugar and came home with all the ingredients!

  • Moni'sMeals
    January 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    looks sweet!

  • Dynamics
    January 22, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Jenna, my mom fed my daughter CAKE

  • Dynamics
    January 22, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Jenna, my mom fed my daughter CAKE for breakfast. She stated it had eggs and milk so I should stop whining. Pancakes, cake or muffins. it is all good.

    Sorry for posting twice, my fingers like to wander without permission.

  • Nancy in Naples
    January 22, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Cake for breakfast . . . my kind of meal! Looks beautiful – we will definitely have to try this one!

  • Lisa
    January 22, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    That looks so good! I love cherries and love them even more in desserts!!! πŸ˜€

  • Aleyta
    January 22, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Oh my word. Cherry and vanilla are my FAVORITE. YUM!
    I just had bananas and whipped cream. Another of my favorites πŸ™‚

  • Rachel @ The Avid Appetite
    January 22, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Wow, this looks seriously divine! I definitely want to try this! Wishing I had it for a snack right now…

  • Runeatrepeat
    January 22, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    I don’t think I would be able to keep myself from eating all the cherries before they got in the batter! LOVE.

  • Kim
    January 22, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    This looks delicious! I love how you’re able to make all these great baked goods with so simple ingredients. It gives me courage to try them myself πŸ™‚

  • Amanda @ Cakes and Ale
    January 23, 2011 at 6:51 am

    I have this amazing OXO cherry / olive pitter that makes the pitting job a snap (and even kinda fun)… necessary? no… awesome? yes!

  • lori Lieberman, RD, CDE, MPH, LDN
    January 23, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Why stop at breakfast? Seems like a great snack, too.
    And 1 Tbsp. white vinegar per cup skim milk also works well as a buttermilk replacement.
    Anyone ever try a cherry pitter? I’ve seen them but never experienced them.

  • Tracy @ Commit To Fit
    January 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Cake for breakfast is probably the best idea I have ever heard. I am totally making this πŸ™‚

  • Rebecca
    January 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I always thought your photos should be foodgawker, and I just saw this cake on there! πŸ™‚

    • jenna
      January 23, 2011 at 4:48 pm

      hehehe thank you!

  • Cathy
    January 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Looks SO good! I’m going to try a heart-healthier version with whole wheat pastry flour, organic canola oil instead of butter and maybe one less egg yolk.

  • Beth @ DiningAndDishing
    January 23, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    I’m with you – pitting cherries always put me off wanting to do anything with them except eating them whole! This cake might be worth it though :).

    • jenna
      January 23, 2011 at 4:48 pm

      it is! And cherries are just so pretty…

  • Christine (The Raw Project)
    January 23, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    This cake looks like a wonderful breakfast. I’ve never baked with cherries, but this has inspired me to use my cherry pitter!

  • sirenjess
    January 23, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Hi Jenna,
    Okay, hate to bother you with this but your boyfriend is from Texas and does he know anyone in Houston who can recommend some places to eat. I’m going this coming weekend for the Houston marathon and I need some suggestions for places to eat the night before. I would really appreciate it.

    • jenna
      January 23, 2011 at 6:01 pm

      I really don’t know!! I don’t think he’s all that familiar with Houston…more-so Austin!

      • sirenjess
        January 23, 2011 at 6:10 pm

        Thanks. I know I am way more familiar with Austin than Houston. I didn’t think I was going to run the race because I was convinced that my friends and I wouldn’t get into the lottery. And then we did. Thanks and for the great recipes. I made the no bake cookies Friday and they were so good.

    • Abby
      January 23, 2011 at 7:36 pm

      I don’t know if I’m too late with this reply, but I was in Houston this weekend for work and had the same concern. I went to YAO Restaurant twice because you can get a huge plate of steamed rice, veggies, protein, etc. any way you like it for a very affordable price. They have sushi and dozens of traditional offerings, but I stuck with the healthier options (when you travel, you look for a nice little oasis of veggies and great taste.)

      The service was also top-notch. The menu and info is online at their website. Good luck!

  • Alyssa
    January 23, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Hi Jenna! As always the recipe looks amazing! Also, your photography has progressed even further! What are you doing differently to make your photos so amazing?

    • jenna
      January 23, 2011 at 6:00 pm

      thank you!! I’ve started using a photographer’s light (lowel-pro lights available on Amazon). Other than that, nothing..just practice! I really don’t know what I’m doing though!

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie
    January 23, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    I prefer cake for breakfast than cake any other time. I don’t know why but I Think because it gets a little bit more compact after sitting over night. Nothing like coffee and cake!

  • laura
    January 23, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    This looks terrific. Cherries&vanilla = perfect combo!

  • Lauren@LittleYellowKitchen
    January 23, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Gotta love breakfast cakes! Talk about food coma…I would definitely crawl back into bed after this one.

  • Monique
    January 23, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    I would eat cake for breakfast. Or any meal, really πŸ™‚

  • May Cookie Co.
    January 24, 2011 at 9:01 am

    What a nice change from all the blueberry and raspberry recipes out there! A very nice weekend treat that I will have to try soon.

  • Jenny
    January 26, 2011 at 8:01 am

    oi, this looks scrumptious

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    July 2, 2011 at 9:39 am

    I followed your recipe exactly. The batter was not thick that it would have to be
    spread into the pan, but very thin and watery, so I added more flour to have the
    right consistency.It did not come out well at all.I think you should re-check the recipe or ingredients.

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