Cherry Nut Cake

My grandmother Millie (Mom's mom) grew up in Brooklyn, where she met one of her closest lifelong friends, Lillian. Millie and Lillian moved to my hometown in CT together, were in each other's weddings, raised their families, and led amazing lives together as best friends. Lillian devotes her life to serving others and ran our local soup kitchen for years, well into her 80s. She is the first person I remember knowing who was selflessly devoting herself to making other peoples' lives better. She showed me the power of food as a community service. Lillian is an incredible cook herself, and my absolute favorite thing she makes is her cherry nut cake. I always asked for it on my birthday, and it always made an appearance at weddings and other special events. Her recipe stands the test of time, and one bite of it brings me back to being a tiny little bear. 


4 eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 ¼ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 ¼ cups sugar

1 cup chopped cherries, strained and chopped, with juice reserved and more cherries left whole for decorating

1 cup chopped walnuts

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons whipping cream, heavy cream, or milk


Preheat oven to 350º.

In a large bowl, mix 4 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 cup vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and combine. Sift in 3 1/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 2 1/4 cups sugar, and combine with a wooden spoon. Add all cherries and walnuts and enough cherry juice to dye batter as pink as you like.

Butter a 13x9" cake pan and line with parchment paper. Pour in batter and bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely on a rack.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add 1 cup butter and 3 cups powdered sugar, beating until soft and fluffy. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 tablespoons whipping cream and stir to combine. Frost cake once completely cooled, and then decorate the top with whole maraschino cherries.

Make it step-by-step with me below!


Gang's all here!

Grab a bowl.

1. Add 4 eggs to the bowl.

2. Add 1 cup milk.

3. Add 1 cup vegetable oil.

4. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla.

5. Combine.

6. Grab your sifter and place over bowl.

7. Sift 3 ¼ cups flour.

8. Sift 1 teaspoon baking powder.

9. Sift ½ teaspoon baking soda.

10. Sift 2 ¼ cups sugar.

11. Combine with a wooden spoon.

12. Strain 1 cup of maraschino cherries.

13. Reserve juices.

14. Chop cherries.

15. Add 1 cup to batter.

16. Add 1 cup chopped walnuts.

17. Combine.

18. You can take some of the reserved cherry juice and tint your batter pink! This is optional, but if you're like me, you absolutely cannot pass up this opportunity!

Here she goes!


19. Butter pan and line with parchment. This pan is 13x9", but you can use any pan you like! She makes a gorgeous bundt cake, layer cake, or cupcakes!

20. Add batter to pan.

21. Put on your bikini, dive in. When finished swimming, bake at 350º for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

22. Cool completely on a rack.

While she cools, let's make some frosting!


23. Add 1 cup butter, softened.

24. Add 3 cups confectioners’ sugar.

25. Beat until soft and fluffy.

26. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

27. Add 2 tablespoons whipping cream, heavy cream, or milk

28. Stir to combine.

Grab your completely cooled cake.

29. Give her a nice frost.

Any style is welcome. I am a casual froster.

30. Grab a few more cherries to decorate your cake slices.

This is how i like to serve the slices.

It always makes people smile. Enjoy!