Off the bat, I’ll say this: It’s a “cheater cake”. Read: I added cherries to a box of Duncan Hines yellow cake mix.

We all have our Sandra Lee semi-homemade moments.

While I do love making cakes from scratch – namely, my baked cake donuts! – the simplicity of having a cake mix or two in the pantry when I have a craving is invaluable to me. I’m not the Food Police here: make your cake from scratch, buy a cake mix with 50 ingredients in it, buy an organic GF / DF cake mix, you do you! But being able to have a sweet summer treat mixed in baked in roughly 40 minutes is all I want sometimes. I don’t always want to measure things out, sift flour, and drive myself crazy in general.

Plus, when I’ve got to pit a bunch of cherries, I want to take some shortcuts elsewhere.

Cherry Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

The buttercream, though? That I’ll make from scratch. I’ve used the same proportions for YEARS, which yields a simple batch of vanilla buttercream, roughly 2 & 1/2 cups or so: 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, 2 sticks of butter, 2 tablespoons milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. BOOM.

Take some shortcuts for a wonderful summer dessert! Cherry season doesn’t last for too long, and we’ve got to take advantage of it!

Cherry Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

Cherry Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

(Makes two 9″ round cakes)


  • 1 & 1/2 cups cherries, pitted and chopped; this amount was yielded from 1 pint of fresh cherries.
  • 1 box yellow or white cake mix of choice
    • Add eggs, water, oil, et al, in accordance to directions listed on the mix’s box.

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 2 sticks butter, unsalted and softened for at least 30 minutes prior to use.
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1.) Preheat oven in accordance to the directions on the cake mix box, depending on the type of cake pans being used. Oil and flour cake pans; set a round of parchment paper at the bottom of each cake pan, if possible. (There is a great tutorial here!)

2.) Prepare cherries for cake mix by pitting and chopping; the chop should be fairly uniform, but it’s okay if there are a few larger pieces of cherries. Set aside.

3. ) Combine cake mix in accordance to the directions on the box. Fold in cherries until combined.

4.) Bake cakes in accordance to the directions on the box. (Should be 25 – 30 minutes.) Test doneness by inserting a toothpick into the middle of one of the cakes; if it comes out clean, the cakes are baked. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack for 10 minutes before removing from cake pans; continue to cool cakes on rack until room temperature.

5.) For the vanilla buttercream frosting, cream butter in a large bowl on medium-low speed for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Adding in 1/2 cup at a time, add sifted confectioners’ sugar to the butter and continue to blend. After adding in a total of 3 cups of the confectioners’ sugar, add in 1 tablespoon of milk and the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat and add in the remaining sugar. If the mix is a little dry, add in the additional 1 tablespoon of milk.

6.) Once cake has cooled, brush off any crumbs from top and sides, and cut down the top bottom layer if you have a “cake dome”. (See tutorial here.) apply an even layer of buttercream to the top of one cake, roughly 3/4 of a cup in total. Place the second cake securely on top, and use the remaining frosting for the top and sides, spreading evenly.

7.) Enjoy this cake!

2 Comments on “Cherry Cake with Vanilla Buttercream”

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