Cherry Almond Pudding Cake

There are certain times when the world around you just seems to stop. Those times especially seem to come when you least expect it. Three weeks ago, I was in the middle of a very large project at work when I got the call that my grandma was not likely to make it much longer. That next morning she passed away. It was hard to hear, but I am very much at peace that she is now relieved of her pain and is celebrating with God right now in a much better place.

In Grandma Chris’ honor, I want to share photos, memories and a recipe of hers for Cherry Pudding Cake, which I’ve adapted a bit.

It’s taken me a little time to compose and write this post, thankfully Kesha has been busy baking and posting in my place. It’s hard to know what to write in a few paragraphs about a woman who was deserving of so much more than these sentences can provide.

It’s interesting how death can bring such clarity as all the things you think previously important fade into the background and other things come to light. One blessing of this experience is that my grandma had been in assisted living for about 12 years, so my memories of her more active life had faded for me. Looking through photos and awards with my family clearly reminded me of just how wonderful she was.

My grandma was a bit of a sassy rebel. She liked to be independent and kept her hair short and would only be called Chris. People would remark that they would see a tiny little woman with short white hair walking all over town. She had completed a remarkable amount of volunteer hours in her local community. A World War Two nurse veteran, she was a loving caretaker, and opened her home and arms to so many in our family.

There’s only one area of her life where I can talk a little more humbly. From what I hear and remember, she was not a great cook, but she did know how to make a few signature items very, very well. One of those recipes is for her cherry pudding cake. This is one of those humble and comforting winter desserts. The warm cherries, cake, pudding and whipped cream are a little bit of heaven. My friends who I shared this with told me that it was the perfect thing they wanted to eat on the cold and snow-filled evening we were having.


    Cherry Almond Pudding Cake

    adapted from my Grandma Chris
    makes 9″x12″ pan, about 12-16 slices

  • Ingredients

    pudding cake
  • 3 cups cherries*
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated pure cane sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • cherry sauce
  • juice from frozen cherries
  • 1 cup frozen cherries*
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup granulated pure cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • whipped cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated pure cane sugar
  • *if buying for this recipe, you will need 4 total cups of frozen cherries (3 cups for cake and 1 cup for sauce)

  • Directions

  • make the pudding cake

    Unthaw 4 cups of cherries and drain them into a bowl, reserving their juice for later. Save 1 cup of cherries for later as well. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    In a mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, until well mixed. Add almond extract. Add half the amount of milk. Then add half of the flour mixture. Repeat until all are mixed together. Fold in cherries and toasted almonds.

    Pour batter in pan. Sprinkle brown sugar over top of batter. Then, pour boiling water over top of batter. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Due to the boiling water, the cake will have a pudding-like consistency which makes it a little more difficult to discern when the cake is finished. As long as a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, it should be fully baked.

    make the cherry sauce

    In a small sauce pan, mix together the reserved cherry juice, 1 cup cherries, lemon juice, sugar, water and cornstarch. Bring to a boil and stir until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add almond extract, if desired. If cherry sauce is too thick, place back on stovetop and add a little water to thin out.

    make the whipped cream

    Pour cold whipped cream into a cold mixing bowl. If you have a stand mixer, use the wire whip attachment. Start beating slowly and speed up until you see soft peaks. Add sugar and continue beating until cream forms stiff peaks.

    Serve the pudding cake warm and pour warm cherry sauce over cake. Top with fresh whipped cream and serve.

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  1. Posted February 7, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to hear about your Grandma. It sounds like she was a wonderful woman who could cook some wonderful desserts. This cake looks like a little bit of “heaven”, and I’m sure she’d be glad you were experiencing this with her and sharing her signature with others.

  2. Posted February 8, 2010 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    so sorry for your loss, mara! i’m glad you have so many wonderful memories.
    on a brighter note, this cake looks amazing and at least 27 kinds of delicious. the texture must be just incredible–thanks for the recipe!

  3. michelle
    Posted February 8, 2010 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Great post mara, and thanks for sharing the pics. Your grandma was a great lady.

    Oh yeah, and this pudding cake is fantastic!

  4. Kristy Inman
    Posted February 8, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    What a delicious looking recipe, which I will soon try. Just wanted to especially thank you for sharing this meaningful recipe from your grandma. It is a big deal to offer something so dear to complete strangers; I will cherish every bite, say a prayer for your family and thank God for the awesome life your grandmother lived. It was lovely to read, how neat that you honored her in this way.


  5. Posted February 8, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful tribute for your grandma. The first line of your post rung a certain chord with me, dealing with my own loss this past week. Thank you for sharing your story.

  6. Posted February 8, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I can’t wait to try this one out! I’ve been craving a good dessert with fruit . . . but I never seem to make time between all the chocolate and peanut butter I consume!

    <3 Ashley M.

  7. Posted February 9, 2010 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    By reading this lovely post (and hommage) to your Grandmother I can tell you *are* very proud of her. And you should.

    Sad she is not with you and your family anymore, but as you said she is very much at peace now.

    I find that sharing this recipe in this moment is a very touching experience for all of us.

    thank you for sharing it

  8. Posted February 10, 2010 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    Great post Mara. And I’m so happy I got to be among the friends who ate it.
    It was reeeally good.
    Thank you for who you are, all you share, and bring to the table (in more ways than one). :)

  9. Posted February 10, 2010 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    So sorry for your loss. I miss my grands so much too… Hope you keep her memories as fresh as the time made it possible…
    Oh, you have such lovely pictures!

  10. Stephanie
    Posted February 10, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to hear about your grandma, but you put together a beautiful post about her. Hope you and Mike are doing well!

  11. Posted February 14, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    oh looks delish your Grandma sure was a special lady lovely post Rebecca

  12. Posted February 18, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely post-such fond memories we get from loved ones and food. These sounds and looks delicious-I will definitely be giving this a try soon, thanks for sharing!

  13. Posted March 8, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    What a magnificent tribute to someone who sounds more magnificent, still. On a selfish note, I’m delighted by this family cake, as I’ve five pounds of cherries in my deep freeze, just waiting for the right home. Thank you.

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