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  • Writer's pictureAuthor Darci Hannah

Ultimate Door County Cherry Coffeecake

Turn your own home to the quaintest inn around with this scrumptious Door County Cherry Coffeecake.
Turn your own home to the quaintest inn around with this scrumptious Door County Cherry Coffeecake.

In honor of my upcoming book launch of Cherry Pies & Deadly Lies, (June 8th Yay!)

I thought I’d share one of my favorite cherry-inspired recipes with you. Nope, it’s not a cherry pie. Those delicious recipes are in the back of the book. We’ll revisit the cherry pie later. Today I’d like to focus on breakfast, particularly the kind served in the many quaint inns around Lake Michigan, especially those in Door County, Wisconsin that helped inspire my fictitious creation of the Cherry Orchard Inn.

Now, I have to give credit where credit is due. I got this recipe from my mom. One of the many blessing of my childhood, besides the great vacations to Door County, was having a mom who loved to cook (and still does!). Mom was a model of Midwestern hospitality, always gracious and always offering a drink, snack or a meal to everyone who came through our door. And when you were invited for brunch and this exquisite monument of cherry goodness was on the menu, it was like winning the lottery.

When I got married this was the one recipe in Mom’s vast collection that I couldn’t wait to get a hold of. Mom, of course, was happy to give it to me, because she always said that great recipes shouldn’t be kept locked away in a recipe box, they were meant to be shared. Besides, she confided when handing over the ingredient list on her personalized recipe card, it wasn’t her recipe to begin with. She then told me that she had actually gotten this recipe from a friend who said she’d gotten it from another friend, who said she had gotten it from the White Gull Inn, one of Door County’s most iconic establishments. In the recipe collecting world that’s akin to gold.

Now, I don’t know if this really is that recipe, but what I do know is that this coffee cake is a show-stopper. Over the years that I’ve been making this coffee cake for my own family and friends, I’ve tweaked it a little bit. But that’s the other great thing about recipes, they evolve with us until we make them our own. So, here’s my version of the ultimate Door County cherry coffeecake that I’d like to share with you!


4 cups Montmorency cherries (I use thawed frozen cherries but canned will do)

1 1/4 cup sugar

½ pound (two sticks) of butter softened

5 eggs

2 1/4 cups sour cream

4 cups flour

1 Tbs. baking powder

2 tsp. baking soda

Dash of salt

2 tsp. vanilla extract


2 cups brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

3 Tbs. cinnamon

Ingredients from left to right, cherries, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, eggs, sour cream, butter and vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. In medium mixing bowl blend flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

3. In large mixing bowl beat softened butter until fluffy. Add sugar, eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Slowly add flour mixture and stir until well blended.

4. Make the topping. In medium mixing bowl, mix brown sugar, chopped pecans and cinnamon.

5. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 baking pan.

6. Pour half of batter into baking pan. Add the cherries. Be sure to spread evenly over batter. Next, cover cherries with half the topping mixture.

7. Pour the rest of the batter over topping mixture. Cover evenly, then top with the rest of the topping mixture.

8. Bake in 325 degree oven for one hour or until done.

9. Let cool and enjoy!

Cherry-tastic goodness! Thanks, Mom!

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