Cherry Blossom Inspired Almond Cake

Almond Cherry cake inspired by the blossom season
  • Ali

It’s Cherry Blossom Season. Anyone else feel undeniably lighter just seeing the cherry blossom wafting in the breeze? We took a trip up to Westonbirt Arboretum last weekend to enjoy their spectacular blossom trees. We weren’t disappointed. From cherries to magnolias, rhododendrons to camelias they have an abundance of blossom right now.

It inspired me to use some of the Sakura (cherry blossom) essence and dried cherry blossoms I brought back from Japan a few years ago. That was a magical holiday where cherry blossoms were on the menu every day so creating a little piece of it back home is a delicious treat.

And so I bring you Japanese inspired Cherry Blossom Cake – stuffed with cherries and a delicious cherry syrup, it’s a perfect accompaniment to any weekend. And what's more it's completely gluten and dairy free too. I mean you've got to love a gluten free almond cake that's super delicious and melt in the mouth.


225g vegan butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing - I used Naturli Vegan Block 

180g coconut sugar

Zest of 1 lemon

2 tsp Sakura essence (or use orange blossom water for a similar taste)

4 large free-range eggs

150g gluten free flour – check my gluten free flour recipe here or use Doves

100g ground almonds

1 tsp baking powder

150g marzipan, chopped into 1cm cubes, tossed lightly in flour to prevent it sinking – to make your own marzipan check this recipe

350g frozen cherries - stoned. You could use fresh cherries but you’d need to stone them first!

8 preserved cherry blossom flowers if you have them – if not don’t worry. I got mine in Japan and have never seen them in the UK!

Icing sugar to dust


For the syrup

Zest of 1 and Juice of 2 oranges

2 tsp Sakura essence (or again use orange blossom water)

2 tbsp coconut sugar



Heat the oven to 170°C/fan150°C gas 3½.

Lightly grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin (like this) with baking paper. I then wrap a folded sheet of baking paper around the outside and tie with string with string. This prevents the sides of the cake over cooking during cooking). Set aside.

Using an electric hand mixer, beat the vegan butter with the sugar and lemon zest for 3-5 minutes until pale and fluffy, then beat in the Sakura essence or orange blossom water.

While the butter and sugar are creaming together chop the defrosted frozen cherries in half and coat in a little flour to prevent them sinking to the bottom of the cake when added. Set aside.

Once the butter and sugar are light and fluffy add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. If the mixture starts to curdle add a little flour with each egg.

Stir through the flour, almonds and baking powder with a pinch of salt.

Stir through half the marzipan pieces and half the cherries, then transfer to the prepared tin. Smooth over the surface and poke in the remaining marzipan and cherries, making sure they’re just covered by the cake mixture. Ideally you want them to be visible in the cooked cake but to be honest this might not happen. Don’t worry it will still taste amazing. At this point I added my Japanese bought preserved cherry blossom flowers too but you don’t need them.  

Transfer to the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes, then turn the heat to 160°C/fan140°C/gas 3 and bake for 40-50 minutes more.

Check the cake after 30 minutes; if it’s looking dark, cover the top with foil – not before, as opening the oven door will make the cake sink. It’s cooked when a skewer pushed into the centre comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached. Don’t over cook it or it will be dry.

About 5 minutes before the cake has finished cooking, make the syrup. Put all the ingredients in a pan and heat gently until the coconut sugar has melted. When the cake is cooked, remove from the oven, poke holes with a skewer all over the top and drizzle over the syrup. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then carefully remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Depending on how much syrup you have you may want to remove the cake tin base while the cake cools to prevent the base from going soggy.

One completely cool and ready to serve dust with icing sugar. Serve with fresh cherries or strawberries if you have them and a blob of vegan icecream. I’ve just discovered Judes vegan icecream and it’s delicious. I had guests at the weekend and they didn’t know it was vegan until I told them which I think is a result!

 The cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week and tastes best 1 – 2 days after you make it as the lovely syrupy flavours have infused the cake.