French Cinnamon Tea Cake with Fresh Cherries

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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!

4.8 from 5 reviews
French Cinnamon Tea Cake with Fresh Cherries
Recipe type: French, tea cake, cinnamon, cherry, dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
The classic French cinnamon tea cake made a little more posh with vanilla bean paste and fresh cherries.
For the French Tea Cake:
  • 65g butter, softened
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups self-raising flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ cup milk, at room temperature
For the Cherry Topping:
  • 250g (1/2lb) cherries, cut in half and pitted
  • 2 tbsp port or brandy
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
To serve:
  • Vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced, 350°F, gas mark 4).
Grease and line a 6.5cm deep, 20cm (base) round cake pan with baking paper.
To make the Cake:
  1. Using electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste until pale and creamy.
  2. Add egg. Beat well.
  3. Sift flour and cinnamon into a bowl.
  4. Using a large metal spoon, fold cinnamon flour and milk alternately into butter mixture until just combined.
  5. Spread mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth surface.
To add Cherry Topping:
  1. Distribute pitted cheery halves around the top of the cake, pitted side up.
  2. Drizzle with port or brandy.
  3. Sprinkle with brown sugar.
To bake:
  1. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  2. Stand cake in pan for 10 minutes.
  3. Turn onto a wire rack.
To serve:
  1. Serve warm or cold with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Tip: to reheat cooled cake, simply place individual portions in a microwave and heat for 20 seconds.
Recipe at Wholesome Cook adapted from


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24 Responses to French Cinnamon Tea Cake with Fresh Cherries

  1. Timothy R says:

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

  2. Anne S says:

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

  3. Kocinera says:

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

  4. Raymund says:

    Wow, my jaw dropped when I saw this.

  5. Kerry Anne says:

    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.

  6. lovely; will try this out sometime 🙂

  7. Amy says:

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

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

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

  10. Sissi says:

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

  11. Beautiful photos! What a lovely tea cake.

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

  13. anna says:

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

  14. Courtney says:

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

  15. Lucy Hill says:

    So cherryfic! I love it!

  16. Ryan Rose says:

    This French cinnamon tea cake looks and sounds delicious!

  17. Jared says:

    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 🙂

  18. 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.