Sweet Soft Cherry Bread with Cherry-Almond Glaze

My grandma used to make the best cherry bread.

I’d given anything to watch her make it and write down what she did.

Sweet Soft Cherry Bread with Cherry-Almond Glaze - An easy quickbread that's perfect for Valentine's Day, Easter, or Mother's Day! Because you can never have too much pink!

But since that will never happen, I had about 17 emails up and back dialoguing with my mom about how she thought grandma made it.

My mom pieced together some of her own notes and a recipe from a 1948 cookbook that she thinks is what my grandma used. After reading it all over and brainstorming about this bread on multiple 8-mile runs, I made a few tweaks and finally made it. 

Sweet Soft Cherry Bread with Cherry-Almond Glaze - An easy quickbread that's perfect for Valentine's Day, Easter, or Mother's Day! Because you can never have too much pink!

It’s soft, sweet, and an easy quickbread to make. It’s perfect for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, baby or bridal showers, and would be so pretty for a brunch.

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I know my grandma didn’t use an electric mixer, and since she would have made it by hand, so did I.

Sweet Soft Cherry Bread with Cherry-Almond Glaze - An easy quickbread that's perfect for Valentine's Day, Easter, or Mother's Day! Because you can never have too much pink!

I have a feeling she used shortening, but I know the word shortening causes immediate clicking off the page by most modern bakers, so I went with a little canola oil instead.

I was tempted to add buttermilk or Greek yogurt to the batter because I do swear by them for keeping things lighter, softer, and moister, but I know my grandma wouldn’t have used them, so they were out.

Sweet Soft Cherry Bread with Cherry-Almond Glaze - An easy quickbread that's perfect for Valentine's Day, Easter, or Mother's Day! Because you can never have too much pink!

I used one 10-ounce jar maraschino cherries. Look for them where ice cream toppings are sold. Before adding the cherries to the batter, give them a rough chop on your cutting board and sprinkle them with a little flour. It helps prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the pan while baking.

I baked the bread in two 8×4-inch loaf pans. You could probably get away with one 9×5 pan but I find things get a little too browned around the edges before the center fully cooks through in large loaf pans. My mom made the recipe as 4 mini loaves with good luck, and I’m sure muffins would work. If you start tinkering with the pan sizes, you’ll have to start tinkering with the baking times.

Sweet Soft Cherry Bread with Cherry-Almond Glaze - An easy quickbread that's perfect for Valentine's Day, Easter, or Mother's Day! Because you can never have too much pink!

My grandma didn’t glaze her bread, and it didn’t need it. But I couldn’t resist reserving a bit of the cherry juice and making a cherry-almond glaze.

There’s almond extract in the bread and also more in the glaze. It wonderfully complements the cherries and shouldn’t be missed. Look for it next to vanilla extract in the baking aisle. If you love almond extract or are wondering what to do with the rest of the vial, make this cake. It’s unique and a keeper.

Sweet Soft Cherry Bread with Cherry-Almond Glaze - An easy quickbread that's perfect for Valentine's Day, Easter, or Mother's Day! Because you can never have too much pink!

My seven year old inhaled this sweet, soft bread and her slices were flooded with glaze. You can never have too much pink. Or glaze.

My grandma loved pink and it was her favorite color. I have a feeling she would have been thrilled seeing all this pink.

Sweet Soft Cherry Bread with Cherry-Almond Glaze - An easy quickbread that's perfect for Valentine's Day, Easter, or Mother's Day! Because you can never have too much pink!

Sweet Soft Cherry Bread with Cherry-Almond Glaze - An easy quickbread that's perfect for Valentine's Day, Easter, or Mother's Day! Because you can never have too much pink!

Print Recipe

Sweet Soft Cherry Bread with Cherry-Almond Glaze

This is a soft, sweet, and easy quickbread to make. It's perfect for Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, baby or bridal showers, and would be so pretty for a brunch. I baked the bread in two 8x4-inch pans, although you can experiment with muffins, mini loaves, or 1 big loaf. The glaze is optional but adds so much extra cherry flavor and I highly recommend it. Both the bread and glaze contain almond extract, which is a perfect complement to cherries. Make sure to read the recipe carefully about dividing the jar of cherries (cherries are chopped and tossed with flour, some juice is added with the wet ingredients, and 1/4 cup juice is reserved for the glaze). The bread is inspired by my grandma's bread and childhood memories.

Yield: two 8x4-inch loaves

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: about 40 minutes

Total Time: about 75 minutes, for cooling

Ingredients:

Cherry Bread
one 10-ounce jar maraschino cherries, divided
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt, optional and to taste
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
cherry juice, reserve 1/4 cup
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cherry-Almond Glaze
1/4 cup reserved cherry juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
about 1 1/2 cups+ confectioners' sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray two 8x4-inch loaf pans with floured cooking spray or lightly grease and flour the pans; set aside. Recipe may be baked in one 9x5 pan, as 4 mini loaves, or as muffins, although I have not tested it that way. Adjust baking time accordingly.
  2. Cherry Bread - Remove cherries from jar and place on a cutting board. Roughly chop them.
  3. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons flour (prevents them from sinking during baking) and toss to coat evenly; set cutting board aside. Set jar with the cherry juice aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add 1 3/4 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, optional salt, and whisk to combine; set aside.
  5. In a small mixing bowl or glass measuring cup, combine eggs, oil, all the cherry juice from the jar except 1/4 cup to be reserved for the glaze, almond extract, vanilla extract, and whisk to combine.
  6. Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and stir to combine; don't overmix. Batter will be very thick.
  7. Lightly fold in the chopped cherries.
  8. Turn batter out into the prepared pans, smoothing the tops lightly with a spatula. Strategically place a few cherries on top for visual appeal.
  9. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until bread is domed, set, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Allow bread to cool in pans on top of a wire rack for about 15 minutes before removing and allowing to finish cooling completely on rack. While bread cools, make the glaze.
  10. Cherry-Almond Glaze - In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup reserved cherry juice, almond extract, about 1 cup confectioners' sugar, and whisk to combine until smooth and satiny. Add sugar until desired consistency is reached. Glaze the bread prior to serving. After the photos were done, I glazed much more liberally, spreading the glaze like butter on the interior of the slices. Bread will keep airtight at room temp for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Do not glaze bread until ready to serve if you plan on storing long-term.

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139 comments

  1. There is something nice about keep retro authenticity to recipes. In thise day people made cake and ate whole thing right then. Oh the nutrition naive had a good life.

    Simply a gorgeous cake! Loving the color blends of this loaf. I feel this loaf would make a great breakfast treat toasted the next day too.

  2. I cherish the few old recipes I have from my grandmother. It’s it amazing the food memories evoked when eating something similar to what they made? I’ve never even heard of cherry bread–but I love the pretty color here.

  3. What a nice way to remember your grandmother–and of course I love the color! I absolutely agree you can never have too much glaze (or pink) regardless of age. Too funny about the shortening vs oil in re-creating this–but there was a time when crisco was a pantry staple. I don’t think I’ve seen a quick bread with maraschinos–but I like all forms of cherries and this looks especially appealing!

    • Paula I think you’d love this one. It’s got a retro flair for sure. And yes those blue tubs used to be THE pantry staple back with a stick of butter was scarce or too expensive!

  4. oh i have a book of all of my grandmothers old recipes. It has pictures of her on every page that my aunt put together for those of us in the family who love cooking! It is one of my most cherished things in my life and I love it and i am with you. there is something so special about being able to create something your grandmother first created! This bread is certainly special and I love it!

  5. Oh my goodness Averie! This may be one of my favorite things I’ve ever seen on here!!! I love that this recipe is inspired by your grandma. It looks amazing, and there can NEVER be too much pink! :)

    • One of your fave things on here? Wow!! That’s a high compliment! Always funny because I never know what people are going to like or gravitate to! Thanks for saying you like it :)

  6. What a beautiful tribute to your grandmother. :) I love making my Mama Faye’s recipes. Makes me feel so close to her when baking AND eating them.

  7. As weird as it may sound, but this bread looks so adorable!! I love that pink color!

  8. Love the tribute to your grandmother!!! This bread is so pretty–seriously, the color is so fun and different. Never seen anything like it.

    Retro recipes are some of my favorites ever! As long as they don’t involve jello ;)

  9. Never too much pink or glaze is so true :). This bread looks heavenly. My mom always talks about how my granny made the best zucchini bread but no one has any idea how she made it. That’s unfortunately true for most of her recipes.

    • “but no one has any idea how she made it. That’s unfortunately true for most of her recipes.” <--- That is the same story here. So many things, gone forever and no one will know. It wasn't written down and no one thought to do so. Not sure why but sigh, what I wouldn't give! And thanks for the tweet too!

  10. I love this bread and the fact that your Grandmother made it, makes it even more special. You can never have enough pink. This bread would be so pretty at a tea party. Thanks for sharing.

    My Grandma never wrote anything down either, so her recipes are by word of mouth.

  11. Grandmas recipes are always the best! My grandma’s most-loved recipes are her banana bread and cranberry bread—out of this world! This bread looks amazing-ly soft and I love all the pink and cherries! :D

  12. This is beautiful! I so love it. And that tip about pan sizes. *smacks hand on forehead* Why didn’t I think of THAT???? :)

    • I cannot tell you how many big 9x5s I make but they end up being gummy in the middle or they fall b/c they internal temp never got *quite* hot enough yet the sides are really overly browned and look horrible on camera (it’s all about the pics, right LOL) and so 2 8x4s are way better I find!

  13. I love all the PINK! And the retro recipe with your memories of your grandmother- I love that. Family recipes are the best to make.

  14. This bread looks unbelievable! I know I’d love it, it has the same flavors as the cherry cupcakes I posted a while ago, but in bread form – now that’s just genius because that makes it pass for breakfast :).

    • Those cherry cupcakes of yours with those gorgeous images…I was already formulating this recipe in my head when I saw those and was drooling because I KNOW how good the flavor combo is! And yes, “bread” for breakfast, anytime :)

  15. What a pretty color! Love it. You’re right – this bread is great for all sorts of occasions – Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, a baby shower, etc.! And I love that this is inspired by a family recipe :)

  16. Wow… this looks INCREDIBLE!! My Mom used to make me a Duncan Hines Cherry Chip cake every year for my birthday. This awesome recipe is a beautiful homemade version of that, I can’t wait to try :)

    • Oh THAT cake. I’ve had that cake at various holiday parties (usually around Xmas) and you are so right to draw the parallel! This bread is like that cake in so many ways, but with a homemade & nostalgic twist!

  17. Beautiful, Averie. Your grandmother would be proud. I LOVE old recipes and cookbooks. Sometimes there’s no need to mess with a tried-and-true recipe (except, of course, when you aren’t sure what that recipe is!). I am a huge fan of almond extract with cherries–yum.

  18. This bread is such a beautiful colour and especially special (did I just say that?) because it came from the heart. Grandmothers and phenomenal baking seem to go hand in hand and you would have certainly done her proud with this bread. Pinned.

  19. I love this bread! The color is perfect for Valentines day and I have to say, I love using oil in quick breads- I think it keeps them so moist. I know I would love this, it totally reminds me of something my grandma would make!

  20. This is a beautiful post, Averie. What a wonderful way to pay homage to your grandmother by recreating a recipe of hers. This looks incredible. The pink from the maraschino cherries totally pops and that glaze. Wow! This reminds me of a cherry cake that I used to buy all the time in high school. I tried recreating it a few years ago but it wasn’t the same. I just don’t have the patience you do with tweaking and re-tweaking. I’m definitely going to make this cherry bread. Thanks for sharing this!

    • I really thought, thought, thought about this before I even put 1 thing into a mixing bowl so that the actual hands-on tweaking trials was low. Thank goodness :) I don’t have time, $$ or ingredients for super extensive actual trials; I always think and ponder these types of recipes for month(s) before I even put 1 egg into a bowl!

  21. cherry bread with a cherry glaze is perfect for a Valentines’s Day snack. thanks for sharing.

  22. You are the sweetest granddaughter to spend that much time brainstorming and recreating your grandmother’s cherry bread. She would have been so proud of your result! Its gorgeous color, its light moist crumb, and even the sweet glaze. Because if she loved pink, how could she not love a little extra color? :) And I’m so happy I’m not the only one who daydreams about recipes on my long runs… I swear it’s how I come up with at least half of the treats I post!

  23. I love that you recreated your grandma’s bread! Amazing. I think I saw my grandma once in my life and I don’t think she ever cooked/baked so I’m very jealous of your memories with her!

    And the pinkness – so stinking cute. With or without valentine’s day, I’d make this all year long!

  24. Cherry and almond is a magical combination, especially when its so pink/Valentine’s appropriate! And I actually like using some canola oil in baked goods like muffins and cakes because I feel like they stay moist for longer. Butter is always the best for flavor but I feel like if you are not eating it right away using oil or part oil is the way to go.

  25. Such a sweet, sentimental post, Averie! And it looks like you did this bread justice :) It’s beautiful!

  26. I’m sure your grandma would appreciate this lovely Valentine to her memory. GREG

  27. Love the personal connection you have with this recipe.. I’m sure your grandma would be proud :)

  28. I bet this recipe means so much to you! I love all the pink, I need to give cherries a go soon- I have never been a fan- except for cherry pie with custard. Your photos are stunning!!

  29. Family recipes are the best. I love your inspiration and determination behind this bread recipe. And it’s so pretty! Pinned!

  30. Love the tribute to your grandma. I adore retro recipes and wish I had more up my sleeve!

    This bread is stunning and I love the color!

  31. This is such a sweet post, Averie. I’ve tried to recreate a few of my grandma’s recipes, and while some need more tweaking, taking the first bite of something that is spot-on is really something special.

    Love almond extract and cherries…this looks outrageous!

  32. This cake is almost too beautiful eat..almost..my love for Cherry everything would win and I would devour it. Love recipes that bring make memories.

  33. I love the color! It’s so fun rediscovering family favorites!

  34. I am in love with this bread. I used to hate cherries, now I can’t get enough. Thanks for sharing this!

  35. This looks so lovely! I do believe I’ll bake it tonight for my office. My grandma didn’t cook or bake much but my mom did and to this day I think of her every time I use one of her recipes. I thought of compiling her recipes into a book, but I prefer keeping all her recipe cards and notes because they’re in her handwriting, plus they’ve got all the butter stains! I”ve been baking quick breads in two pans for a long time now, because I find it impossible to get the center of the loaf baked through using the large size. I’m glad I’m not the only one! Happy baking!

    • Glad you’re using 2 pans, too. I find 9x5s to be too big for almost all recipes anymore to give me the doneness that is right on both the edges and the middle. Two pans are so much more forgiving! Hope your coworkers enjoy this – LMK how it goes!

    • Just wanted to let you know I baked this last night and my work colleaagues are devouring it as we speak! A lovely success and perfect for Valentine’s day, so thank you so much! And since I’m kinda new to your wonderful blog, here’s a big fat thank you for your wonderful recipes! Happy baking!

    • Oh what a lovely comment to read! Thanks for trying this so soon after I posted it and getting back to me that your colleagues are devouring that! They’re lucky to have you around! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  36. I am dying over this bread – it looks absolutely scrumptious! I love that you’ve been bringing cherries to the forefront instead of strawberries this time of year. Family recipes are always the best – I am sure your Grandma would be so proud of you!!!

  37. I love cherries and this is so pretty. Great recipe!

  38. This bread looks amazing. I’m making it for my husband’s grandma’s birthday, but trying your recipe this year. Can I use self rising flour and just omit the salt?

  39. This cake is so cute – almost too cute to eat (but I’d still devour it!). Love the pink glaze as well. So fun for Valentine’s Day as well.

  40. This cake is so cute – almost too cute to eat (but I’d still devour it!). Love the pink glaze as well. So fun for Valentine’s Day!

  41. You totally made this for me, didn’t you?? I adore cherries and this is definitely going to get made!

  42. Wow . . . how to die for is this? I’ve never bought, used or tasted maraschino cherries, but I think it’s about time I do, because I really want this bread.

  43. Family recipes are such a treasure, this is such a pretty pink bread!

  44. I will definitely have to try this. My boys love maraschino cherries! I am so with you on the family recipes, many of my Grandma’s are regulars in our baking. Luckily my mom made a family cookbook with recipes from everyone on her side of the family so I have recipes from my great aunts too.

  45. What a pretty pink dessert, just perfect for Valentine’s Day!

  46. This looks decadent! And I’m loving its nice shade of pink!

    Do you think I could make the glaze substituting greek yogurt for half the powdered sugar? Thanks in advance!

    P.S. I love your recipes! You’re a truly talented baker, AND photographer. :)

  47. I have a feeling Skylar not only loved the taste, but the color too. :) Averie, this cherry bread looks incredible. Grandma’s recipes are purely the best. I have no doubt her version was dynamite and your updated version is just as incredible. The most perfect recipe for Valentine’s Day, spring, Easter, etc. I love almond extract + cherries together!

    • Thanks, Sally! Glad you saw this post. I loved how pink it turned out :) This recipe, whoa, what a labor of love. These retro recipes that no one really has written down, to bring them into the modern era, via some stabs in the dark, not always the easiest but so glad this one came together!

  48. Averie, I’m totally inspired by this bread + the white choc/cherry cookies. I think I’ll try making them as muffins with white choc chips mixed in. I will let you know how it goes. Can’t wait as maraschinos are my favorite!

  49. As soon as I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it for Valentine’s day – such a perfect colour! Then I found out my oven didn’t work :( So…I made it in my toaster oven! It worked perfectly – just a little brown on the top, but you couldn’t even tell once I glazed it.

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