Wholesome Cook

French Cinnamon Tea Cake with Fresh Cherries

The classic French Cinnamon Tea Cake made a little more posh with vanilla bean paste and fresh cherries. A quick and tasty low fat, low sugar dessert.

French Tea Cake is one of Mr Chipconnoisseur’s favourite desserts. It’s quick to make, fragrant with warm notes of cinnamon and vanilla. And, as any good French dish would have it, just the right amount of butter. The idea to add fresh cherries to this otherwise plain tea cake came from my Dad.

Back in his home liqueur making days, he used to make a kirsch like no other. His was infused with vanilla beans and a hint of cinnamon for good measure. The flavour was rich, complex and very much suited for winter. While local cherries are only available in Australia around Christmas, I have used fresh US cherries which are currently available in stores. But I am pretty sure that when out of season, pitted Morello cherries (in jar) would also be great.

Dousing the tea cake with brandy or port is completely optional but it adds to the cake’s appeal in my opinion. And since I’ve reduced the amount of sugar from the original, if you like your cake a little sweeter, you could also drizzle a tablespoon of runny icing all over the top if you prefer. Or serve it with vanilla ice cream like I have. Yum!

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4.8 from 5 votes

French Cinnamon Tea Cake with Fresh Cherries

The classic French cinnamon tea cake made a little more posh with vanilla bean paste and fresh cherries.
Servings: 8


For the French Tea Cake:

  • 65 g butter softened
  • 1/4 cup unrefined sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour sifted
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup milk at room temperature

For the Cherry Topping:

  • 250 g cherries cut in half and pitted
  • 2 tbsp port or brandy
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

To serve:

  • Vanilla ice cream


To make the Cake:

  • Using electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste until pale and creamy.
  • Add egg. Beat well.
  • Sift flour and cinnamon into a bowl.
  • Using a large metal spoon, fold cinnamon flour and milk alternately into butter mixture until just combined.
  • Spread mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth surface.

To add Cherry Topping:

  • Distribute pitted cheery halves around the top of the cake, pitted side up.
  • Drizzle with port or brandy.
  • Sprinkle with brown sugar.

To bake:

  • Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Stand cake in pan for 10 minutes.
  • Turn onto a wire rack.

To serve:

  • Serve warm or cold with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Recipe at Wholesome Cook adapted from Taste.com.au
Tried this recipe?Mention @wholesomecook or tag #wholesomecook


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Timothy R July 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Your photos of this cake are stunning! So much better than the one in the original recipe ;-)

Anne S July 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I really like how you’ve pitted the cherries it’s very nifty of you. Drooling all over my keyboard.

Kocinera July 23, 2012 at 5:44 pm

How beautiful! I love the rich color that the cherries give the cake. This would be such a perfect afternoon snack.

Raymund July 23, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Wow, my jaw dropped when I saw this.

Kerry Anne July 23, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Just saw this on FoodGawker and I have been staring at the screen for the past 5 minutes. Fantastic shots. So moody and deep. Love it – nice blog.

Priya Sreeram July 23, 2012 at 7:34 pm

lovely; will try this out sometime :)

Amy July 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Hi Martyna, I’ve just discovered your delicious blog. Gorgeous recipes and photos! Thanks for sharing.

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook July 23, 2012 at 8:32 pm

You are welcome Amy. Check out the Gluten Free section for more delicous recipes and come back next week for my allergy-friendly free e-cookbook launch. :-)

Lizzy (Good Things) July 23, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Lovely Marty, very similar to a cherry cake that I make at Christmas time

Jennifer @ Delicieux July 24, 2012 at 8:10 am

Stunning photos!!! I’d love a slice of this with my cup of tea right now.

Sissi July 24, 2012 at 5:46 pm

What a beautiful cake! Strangely I rarely bake with cherries, but I should because they look so lovely.

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook July 25, 2012 at 10:12 am

Thank you Sissi. It’s the first time I baked with cherries actually. I liked that they held their shape pretty well and remained quite juicy and “meaty” :-)

Jen @ Savory Simple July 25, 2012 at 12:06 am

Beautiful photos! What a lovely tea cake.

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook July 25, 2012 at 10:13 am

Thank you Jen :-)

Nami | Just One Cookbook July 25, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Wow lovely!!! I love cherries and this cake is absolutely gorgeous!

anna July 26, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Wow, great cake. And beautiful photos – I just wanted to dive into my computer screen and eat some!!

Courtney July 27, 2012 at 8:39 am

Since Hubs is not a cherry fan, I’m wondering how it would taste with raspberries instead…

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook July 27, 2012 at 10:35 am

I think it would be ok, although the raspberries might not hold their shape as well… Could try peaches or nectarines too?

Lucy Hill July 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm

So cherryfic! I love it!

Ryan Rose August 7, 2012 at 12:28 pm

This French cinnamon tea cake looks and sounds delicious!

Jared August 16, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Um didnt anyone else notice you left out the cinnamon in the actual recipe steps?! I forgot too, Ive dusted it on top before cooking… wont be the same but hopefully will add something at least! Havent tried it yet so cant rate but Im sure it will be yum :-)

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook August 16, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Thanks for bringing that to my attention, will fix! 

Jared August 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Cool :-) Still worked out quite nicely, very light and fluffy!

Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice August 30, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Gorgeous, Martyna! My mother makes a cake so similar to this one – seeing it here really tugged my heartstrings in the nicest way :) Yours looks stunning.


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