Cherry-Vanilla Shortbread Cake Squares


My post today is marginally hypocritical. Last Friday I shunned the idea of whole cherries in clafoutis, and here I am, not even a week later, featuring cherry shortbread squares. And, absolutely loving the taste of the cherries to boot! To be fair, this recipe actually called for canned cherry pie filling, so I don’t feel too bad about dismissing fresh cherries.

The recipe suggested putting a scoop of the filling with three cherries in each square, but I thought it would overflow, so I only put two. Alas, no overflowing occurred, and my squares really could’ve used the extra cherry because they’re a bit dry when no baked cherry makes it into your bite.

Cherry-Vanilla Shortbread Cake Squares from Pure Vanilla: Irresistible Recipes and Essential Techniques

1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
4 lg. eggs, room temperature
2 c. AP flour
1 21-ounce can cherry pie filling
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
confectioners’ sugar for dusting

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Coat a 12x17x1 inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray, line it with parchment paper, and lightly spracy the parchment, too.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar about two minutes. Beat in lemon juice, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Turn mixture to the lowest speed and stir in flour. To avoid overbeating, stop mixing when a few streaks of flour remain in the batter; stir by hand until no flour remains.

3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Score it into 24 squares with a toothpick.

4. In a small bowl, stir pie filling and vanilla bean paste. Place 3 cherries in the center of each square. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Just before serving, cut shortbread into 24 squares and dust with powdered sugar.

Makes 2 dozen 3-inch squares

68 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mary
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 15:33:51

    You made me laugh! cherry vanilla shortbread sounds like a very smart idea to me – good tip about putting a cherry into every mouthful!
    Mary x

  2. Choc Chip Uru
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 15:38:43

    Haha cherries convert everyone πŸ™‚
    This looks delicious!


    P.S I will not be commenting for around 4 weeks to prepare for my exams – see you in a month πŸ™‚

  3. Daniela
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 15:45:21

    This shortbread cake looks so yummy,
    I would love to try one right now!

  4. Alex @ Cookie Dough Katzen
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 16:00:30

    That’s funny because I used to not like cherries but now I’m a convert πŸ™‚

  5. bitsandbreadcrumbs
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 16:04:39

    These are so pretty with the burst of cherry in the center…yep, can’t have too much cherry in there!

  6. markd60
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 16:13:26

    This is a pornographic picture! ! am agog!

  7. Juliana
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 16:19:12

    These squares with cherries look delicious…I really want to try this!
    Hope you are having a great week πŸ˜€

  8. Monet
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 16:53:58

    Yum! Those squares look heavenly! Thank you for sharing…and thank you for your kind words on my blog! I’m glad to be back to visit my favorites πŸ™‚

  9. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 18:17:48

    just the words shortbread and cake made me to a double take on the photo. I think there’s a world of difference between fresh cherries and those in a can of pie filling. πŸ™‚

  10. Karen @ Karen's Kitchen Stories
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 18:24:05

    You are too funny. Those look yummy! Do you like that book? I’ve been eyeing it. I love shortbread!

  11. laurasmess
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 18:34:11

    These are such pretty shortbread squares. Haha… well, different rules apply for different recipes methinks!

  12. Edible Celebrations (@lavesta)
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 18:34:49

    Your cherry Vanilla Shortbread Cake doesn’t look dry at all, Yummy. As a matter of fact, it looks quite delicious!

    Thanks for sharing…

  13. andi winslow
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 19:45:29

    Your shortbread squares are tasty looking………………Love it when you make cookies and sweet…my weakness…………….andi

  14. Inger Wilkerson
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 20:17:33

    I think that shortbread is very adaptable to lots of different flavors and this looks great!

  15. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 20:24:32

    What a pretty dessert.

  16. Fae's Twist & Tango
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 21:09:19

    These shortbread cake squares loo so yummy. πŸ˜›

  17. healthyyou72
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 21:12:00

    Wow, it has been awhile since I stopped by and said hi! I hope you are well! I love this recipe, and wish I had one now! Yum, Hugs, Terra

  18. Amelia
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 21:23:50

    Hi YM, your shortbread cake look so pretty and cute. Thanks for the awesome recipe.
    Have a nice day.

  19. GiGi Eats Celebrities
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 21:42:46

    Wow, these looks amazing πŸ™‚

  20. sara
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 22:23:07

    I LOVE cherry pie filling – so good! πŸ™‚

  21. mysfkitchen
    Jul 17, 2013 @ 23:00:56

    I love cherries, beautiful shortbread! Have fun in SF!! πŸ™‚

  22. Tandy
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 00:53:07

    I think they look great!

  23. Hotly Spiced
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 01:17:58

    These look very pretty. I love the colour the cherries add xx

  24. Food,Photography & France
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 01:40:39

    I love shortbread. I’ve never made it myself. I’m going to give it a go.

  25. Elizabeth Mars
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 02:47:49

    These look great. We can’t get canned cherry pie filling in Australia I’m not quite sure what to replace it with would fresh cherries work do you think?

  26. Gloria
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 04:12:23

    These cakes look marvellous!!!! I’d love to eat them πŸ™‚

  27. Cakelaw
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 05:20:40

    These look delish! I think they’d be great for Christmas with their red and white colour combination.

  28. greyhousejournal
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 05:23:02

    You’re so funny! πŸ™‚

  29. TrafficDiva
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 06:16:10

    No cherries in every bite?!??!? NOOOOOOOOO

    I’ll still take 2, please! =)

  30. Cher
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 06:31:08

    Ha – cherry hypocrisy…

    Great bars!

  31. apuginthekitchen
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 07:25:47

    Those bars look fantastic. I love cherries, I think I would add extra so I get cherry in every bite. They look so delicious..

  32. thatskinnychickcanbake
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 08:03:52

    What gorgeous bars! I bet they’d be great with any fruit filling…the picky hubby won’t do cherries :/

  33. Amanda chic
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 09:08:47

    Cute!! yummy
    twitter & instagram : @fashionrlounge
    Fashion room lounge

    A chic kiss πŸ˜‰

  34. Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 11:47:12

    I love this twist on a traditional cherry pie! That filling oozing out… my goodness! Want. want. want.

  35. The Squishy Monster
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 14:53:17

    How pretty, they look like stained glass windows =)

  36. nazima
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 14:58:37

    A gorgeous recipe. I love the colour it looks so delicious.

  37. tastytreats13
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 15:18:17

    These are very pretty and I love shortbread! I should give this a try!

  38. Karen
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 18:15:25

    I love cherries so I would definitely have three cherries in each shortbread.

  39. Jean |
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 19:23:46

    I love cherries. AND these are just adorable!

  40. ashley
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 00:29:10

    Cherries are slowly winning me over, as well! πŸ™‚ My hubby is obsessed with them so that might have something to do with it

  41. Bam's Kitchen
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 03:23:38

    I am a huge cherries fan and love this little dessert.

  42. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 12:14:24

    I love cherries, especially in the summer time. These look perfect!

  43. Nancy/SpicieFoodie
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 14:40:29

    I love love cherries, glad to hear they are growing on you. The shortbreads look delish!

  44. SandraM
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 16:26:23

    Too funny! What is your next cherry recipe going to be??!! πŸ™‚

  45. Melolimparfaite
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 20:46:01

    I used to eat that when I was a little girl… I want to try again !

  46. Three Well Beings
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 23:34:37

    This looks so good! I really can never overdo it with cherries, so I will enjoy your shortbread! It really looks terrific!

  47. Chocolate Shavings
    Jul 20, 2013 @ 01:06:40

    Cherries and shortbread? I’m in!

  48. Johanna GGG
    Jul 20, 2013 @ 07:30:32

    they look just lovely – I love anything with cherries so this gets my vote

  49. cquek
    Jul 20, 2013 @ 08:18:20

    Hands down the best looking food I’ve seen all week!!

  50. Lola
    Jul 20, 2013 @ 08:28:30

    These look delicious – and we won’t judge you for doing whatever you please with your cherries!

  51. Von
    Jul 20, 2013 @ 09:16:22

    haha…. you can be as hippocritical as you like since this is your blog πŸ˜‰ Your squares look so cute and perfect!

  52. Kale
    Jul 20, 2013 @ 23:29:14

    One of the many reasons I know I am missing out of a lot because I don’t have access to baking stuff.

  53. cakewhiz
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 02:05:23

    i have had a shortbread cookies before but this looks even better.

    i am not too fond of cherries. Any thoughts on what I can use instead of that? chocolate? maybe nuts? hehe

  54. Norma Chang
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 06:47:13

    Wondered what the results would be if fresh cherries were used?

  55. Anita Menon
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 07:47:35

    Delightful summer treat!

  56. Asmita (@FoodieAsmita)
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 08:20:51

    I love shortbread cookies and yours look so pretty too!

  57. Jenn and Seth
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 13:04:05

    I feel like this combines so many of my favorite things – cherries, vanilla and shortbread all in one treat!

    Jul 21, 2013 @ 20:10:24

    Such pretty shortbread…love the color the cherries add!

  59. Jasline @ Foodie Baker
    Jul 22, 2013 @ 00:28:05

    I know what you mean though! I don’t like almond jelly but I like almond nuts… haha. The shortbread squares look delicious and pretty!

  60. Lail | With A Spin
    Jul 22, 2013 @ 05:04:52

    Beautiful shortbread. Love cherries.

  61. moderngirlnutrition
    Jul 22, 2013 @ 10:55:04

    These are gorgeous!!!

  62. Tracy
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 12:53:16

    These look completely delicious.

    Tracy @

  63. Alex
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 16:42:22

    They look so yummy and pretty!

  64. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 04:15:16

    This looks beautiful! and I love the idea of adding cherries to shortbread.

  65. Simply Life (@SimplyLifeBlog)
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 18:24:58

    oooh- what a great dessert!

  66. Meenakshi
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 23:07:57

    This looks phenomenal! So pretty. My mouth is watering. I think next time I bake with cherries I’ll try pie filling. The cherries here aren’t all that sweet.

  67. trevorsisboom
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 20:02:00

    There is something sort of modern about the design these cherries are putting into the squares. I really do love it! So cherry pie filing really bares no resemblance to real life cherries. IMHO. So when I was a kid at camp we stole a #10 can of pie filling from the kitchen and thought we were so bad-ass while we ate the whole damn thing one night. We got pretty darn sick! My stomach did a small seize up just thinking about that again.. I didn’t think I would ever get this close to it again. But these modernist, late 60s cherry designs has me thinking…. hmmm…

  68. Purely.. Kay
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 10:09:27

    A piece of shortbread can simply take me away to a different time and place :). I love this

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