When I was a kid, I loved those boxed cherry chip cake mixes. They were artificial and had weird non-cherry chips in ’em, but they were tasty. Sweet, candy cherry flavor all wrapped up in a pile of sweet icing.
My tastes have changed, I don’t go in for the sweet thick icing anymore, but I kept thinking about that cherry chip cake. I finally rolled up my sleeves and got to work making one that tasted similar without all the sugar and flour.
This vintage cherry chip cake is low carb, keto-friendly, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free. If you want a dairy-free option, I have a few suggestions below.
A keto chipped cherry cake is possible; you have to get creative.
Why I got the urge to bake a cherry chip cake in the middle of January is beyond me. I won’t see fresh cherries kicking about our grocery store until late June. If you can get your hands on fresh cherries, I would say to use them. But if you can’t, frozen cherries work in a pinch.
Don’t be tempted to use maraschino cherries – too much sugar!
So how do we get that big burst of cherry flavor without upping the net carb count?
The single cup of cherries in this recipe doesn’t quite add enough cherry flavor. To bring out that cherry smell and sweet candy flavor, I use cherry emulsion. You can also add cherry flavoring (make sure it has no added sugar), but I find the emulsions offer a better all-around flavor profile, especially the cherry.
I have a whole collection of Lorann’s bakery emulsions, natural flavorings, and extracts. They never disappoint. They have no sugar, and they even have a range of natural extracts if that’s more your thing.
One piece of caution, however – these emulsions are strong. On my first attempt at this cherry chip cake, I used a full teaspoon in the cake and the icing. Oh, wow, that was something. A bit too much flavor! A light hand is better with these emulsions vs. opening up the bottle and getting crazy (like I do with vanilla).
On a completely different note, having flavors on hand in your low carb pantry make all kinds of recipes possible. You can get dozens of really great flavors, like banana, hazelnut, cookie butter (you read that right, and it’s AMAZING!). I highly recommend them. They also last a long, long time, a little drop will do you.
If you drink low carb protein shakes, emulsions and flavorings are a must-have.
Are cherries considered keto-friendly and low carb?
Cherries are somewhat low carb. One-half cup of sweet frozen cherries has 8.2 net carbs. I mean who can only eat half a cup of fresh cherries.
So not so keto-friendly but they may fit into your low carb plan.
But spread a cup of cherries over an entire recipe it’s not so bad. For this recipe, a few cherries won’t throw the carb count out the window.
With all that said, if you want to save the 16.3 net carbs from the cherries in this recipe, you can leave them out. They essentially add the “chip” to this recipe, but if you want to save those carbs to make the recipe a bit more keto-friendly, by all means, leave the cherries out and flavor your cake with the cherry emulsion. It STILL tastes like those boxed cherry chip cakes!
Can I make this cherry chip cake Recipe dairy-free?
You can replace the butter with coconut oil and the sour cream with additional almond milk.
For the icing, I would recommend a whipped coconut cream with a few drops of additional cherry emulsion and your sweetener of choice.
What Sweeteners work best in this recipe?
Best and tested sweeteners
I tested this cake with allulose, So Nourished Monk Fruit Blend Powdered Sweetener (my favorite), and Lankanto granular monk fruit sweetener. All three performed very well.
The cakes made with allulose over browned, so that’s something to consider if you use allulose. It didn’t change the taste of the cake, but I did not like the dark brown edges on my cake. To prevent over-browning, you can wrap the outside of the cake pans with tin foil, and 10 minutes into baking, add a sheet of tin foil loosely over the top of your cakes.
Additional sweeteners that would also work in this recipe just fine.
Swerve would work here as well, or any of your favorite granular blends like xylitol or erythritol.
Sweeteners not recommended for this recipe.
Liquid sweeteners like stevia will throw off the dry – wet ingredient ratio, and I don’t recommend them for this recipe unless you want to do some testing on your own.
The make or break Tips for low carb cake Baking
A few tips to make sure your cherry chip cake turns out perfect:
- The cake batter for this recipe is going to feel thick. It won’t pour into your cake pans. You will need to spoon it in and level it all out.
- You will also want to prep your pans with parchment paper.
- To prevent over-browning of the sides and bottom of your cherry cakes, be sure to wrap your pans with tin foil. Coconut flour and some sweeteners tend to brown quickly. You can easily avoid this by using tin foil. I’ve been using the same pieces of tinfoil now for about six months. I flatten the sheets of tinfoil after they are cooled down, fold them, and put them away for next time.
- Don’t skip the xanthan gum. Xanthan gum adds structure and holds the recipe together.
- Whip lots of air into your eggs before adding other ingredients. Whipping lightens the cake batter considerably.
- Don’t skip the apple cider vinegar. You can substitute lemon juice, but the extra acid is required to help those dense flours lift and rise in the oven.
- Be sure to sift all your dry ingredients. Sifting removes the irritating lumps from the flours and adds more air to the final batter.
- Ten minutes into baking cover the cakes with a piece of parchment paper or tin foil to prevent the tops from over-browning.
Follow these tips, and your cakes will come out perfectly every single time. It’s a lot of extra work, but it shows in the final results.
A WHIPPED CREAM CHEESE FROSTING FOR THE TOP
I call this frosting, but it is more like a stabilized whipped cream. It tastes like a cream cheese frosting, but without the heavy, cloyingly sweet taste of icing sugar. You can sweeten it to any level you like really, with whatever sweetener you like best. My version is semi-sweet, and I feel that the level of sweetness works perfectly with this cake.
Here are some tips to make sure your whipped cream frosting comes out perfect every time.
- In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, whip cold cream cheese until it becomes spreadable.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all cream cheese bits are well blended.
- Add the heavy cream, flavoring, and sweetener to the bowl and mix on low until whip cream starts to blend with cream cheese. Add vanilla and emulsions and food coloring.
- Turn the mixer up and whip the mixture until soft and fluffy.
- If the icing begins to soften too much for spreading or piping, add it to the fridge for a few minutes to harden up a bit.
Can I make this recipe into muffins, bundt cake, or square?
I used 6-inch pans for this recipe. I prefer three-layer cakes this way, so I always seem to go for the three 6-inch rounds instead of two 9-inch rounds. But you can use any size or shape cake pan you want, adjust the cooking time.
For muffins, use muffin liners and fill them 3/4 of the way to the top. You want a little more batter than you usually would with a standard cake batter. Reduce the time to 12-15 minutes. Keep an eye out that tops do not over brown.
Any other cake pan? Yup! If you’re making one large bundt, I highly suggest you wrap your pan on the outside with tin foil, or the sides will over brown before the center is done.
Storage and serving suggestions
You can store the baked, cooled cakes in the freezer for up to a month. Be sure to wrap them well, so they do not absorb any flavors from your freezer.
Once this cake is iced, it’s best to keep it stored in the fridge for up to four days. It is best on the first and second days, more than adequate on the third and fourth, but starts to go downhill after that.
I like these made as muffins because you can freeze them and only keep a few out at a time! They are rather tasty, and having a whole cake out on the counter is bad news, even if it is low carb. 😉
Cherry Cake Batter
- 1 cup erythritol (powdered)
- 3/4 cup butter
- 6 large eggs
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 3 cups almond flour
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1 cup chopped cherries
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp Xanthan gum powder
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp cherry baking emulsion
- 1/2 tsp salt
Cherry Flavoured Icing
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1/4 cup erythritol (powdered)
- 1 cup (8 ounces) full-fat cream cheese
- 1/2 tsp cherry emulsion (or cherry flavoring)
- 2 drops pink food colouring
- (this is enough icing to fill and ice a standard cake. If you want to add ruffles, or roses or anything fancy to prettify your cake, I recommend making an extra batch of icing)
- Preheat oven to 350F and prepare cake pans by well greasing and adding parchment. To prevent the cakes from over-browning add tin foil to the outside of the pans.
- Add eggs to a mixing bowl and whip on high for 2 minutes.
- Melt the butter in the microwave, but do not overheat. We want the butter soft, but not too hot.
- Add vanilla, almond milk, melted butter, apple cider vinegar, sour cream, and cherry emulsion to egg mixture and blend until well incorporated.
- Sift coconut flour, almond flour, baking powder, Xanthan gum, salt, and powdered erythritol in a large bowl. Once the dry ingredients are well-blended add in the chopped cherries and stir to coat.
- Gently fold the egg mixture to the dry ingredient mixture. Do not over mix.
- Divide batter between two 9 inch cake rounds (or three 6 inch cake rounds).
- Bake in a 350F oven for 30-35 minutes. At the 10 minute mark, add a piece of tin foil or parchment and loosely cover the tops of the cake pans. The cakes are finished baking when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool on a cooling rack for about an hour before adding frosting.
Whipped Cream Frosting
- Cube one cup of cold full-fat cream cheese and add it to the bowl of a stand mixer and blend for 1 minute, until the cream cheese has no lumps. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary.
- Add vanilla, food colouring, and powdered erythritol.
- Add 1/2 cup of full-fat whipping cream to the bowl and mix on low for 30 seconds, until blended with cream cheese. Turn up to medium and then high until the whipped cream and cream cheese fluff up and resemble buttercream frosting.
- Do not overbeat. Over beating will cause the mixture to liquefy.
A few tips to make sure your cherry chip cake turns out perfect:
- The cake batter for this recipe is going to feel thick. It won’t pour into your cake pans, you will need to spoon it in and level it all out.
- You will also want to prep your pans with parchment paper.
- To prevent over-browning of the sides and bottom of your cherry cakes, be sure to wrap your pans with tin foil. Coconut flour and some sweeteners have the tendency to brown quickly, you can easily avoid this by using tin foil. I've been using the same pieces of tinfoil now for about 6 months. I flatten the sheets of tinfoil after they are cooled down, fold them and put them away for next time.
- Don't skip the xanthan gum, it adds structure and holds the recipe together, without it the cakes will be crumbly.
- Whip lots of air into your eggs before adding other ingredients, this lightens the cake batter considerably.
- Don't skip the apple cider vinegar. You can substitute lemon juice, but the extra acid is required to help those heavy flours lift and rise in the oven.
- Be sure to sift all your dry ingredients. This removes the irritating lumps from the flours and adds more air to the final batter.
- 10 minutes into baking cover the cakes with a piece of parchment paper or tin foil to prevent the tops from over-browning.
You can make this cake even more keto-friendly by completely omitting the cherries and simply adding the emulsion. This will reduce the total carb count by 16.3 net carbs or 1.16 net carbs per slice.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 14 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 359 Total Fat: 30g Saturated Fat: 11g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 17g Cholesterol: 120mg Sodium: 86.9mg Carbohydrates: 10.6g Net Carbohydrates: 5.8g Fiber: 4.8g Sugar: 3.2g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 10.2g