This deliciously easy cherry almond crisp has a tart homemade cherry filling topped with an almond crumble that starts with a vanilla cake mix. Whoever said ‘easy as pie’ obviously never made this crisp!
easy cherry almond crisp with an interesting twist
Do you ever make something just for fun? Sometimes an idea or a recipe intrigues me and I’ll make it on a whim, which in this case means on a Monday morning with no real plan on how Grant and I could possibly polish off a whole 9×13 pan of fruit crisp by ourselves. But that’s irrelevant when a new recipe begs to be tested.
what’s the twist?
The crisp topping starts with a box of vanilla cake mix. That provides the flour, sugar, and flavoring for this conveniently delicious dessert. The idea is part of the ‘dump cake’ or ‘dump dessert’ craze, but instead of dumping a dry cake mix over the fruit, we make a crumbly topping with it first. The result is a wonderfully nubbly cherry crisp. And don’t worry, I haven’t totally abandoned my base here…it’s a from-scratch cherry filling underneath.
what you’ll need
- a 15 ounce box of vanilla cake mix
- cherries packed in juice
- thickener such as cornstarch or instant clearjel thickener
- rolled oats
- sliced almonds
- almond extract
a simple homemade cherry filling
I’m not a fan of prepared pie fillings of any kind. They tend to be artificially flavored, overly sweet, and gelatinous in texture. But it couldn’t be easier to make your own from jarred or canned cherries, here’s how:
- Pour the cherries and their juice into a saucepan. Begin heating on medium high heat.
- Mix sugar and thickening agent and stir it into the cherries to combine.
- Stir over medium high heat until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens.
- Remove from the heat and add your flavor extract.
how to make a cake mix cherry crisp
- Pour your fruit filling into a 9×13 baking pan.
- Mix together a vanilla cake mix, a stick of melted butter, rolled oats, and sliced almonds together in a bowl. Use your fingers to blend everything together until there is no dry flour left and the mixture is a coarse crumble.
- Spread the crumble over the filling and bake until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling.
- Serve hot with ~ you guessed it ~ vanilla ice cream.
cake mix crisp ~ would I make it again?
Yes, absolutely! You might be wondering, why not just make a regular crisp topping, it’s so easy already? I get that, I make crisp and crumble fruit desserts all summer long without even using a recipe it’s so simple and straightforward. But this is a convenient (and fun!) hack that gives you a flavor boost and a chunky crumble texture that I really liked. I also appreciated that the topping wasn’t at all greasy the way homemade crisps can be, and stayed nice and fresh even overnight.
You can also play with different cake flavors for some fun variations. For this cherry almond dessert I love a French vanilla mix, and Duncan Hines is my go to brand. The ingredient list isn’t terrible, with natural flavoring and not a lot of bad stuff. All in all I think it’s a great hack and one I would definitely make again.
more cherry recipes to love
- Sour Cherry Almond Bars
- Fresh Cherry Dessert Sauce
- What to Eat Now: Cherries!
- Cherry Lemonade Popsicles
- Sweet Cherry Almond Bars
Cherry Almond Crisp Dump Cake
- 9×13 baking dish
- 31 ounces unsweetened cherries in juice
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp instant clearjel (you can also use cornstarch)
- 2 tsp almond extract, divided
- 15 ounce box French vanilla cake mix
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350F
- To make the cherry filling, put the cherries and their juice into a saucepan and begin heating on medium high.
- Whisk together the sugar and thickener (either instant clearjel or cornstarch) and stir into the cherries.
- Stir continuously until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened. Add 1 teaspoon of the almond extract, saving the rest for the topping.
- Pour the cherries into your 9×13 baking pan.
- Put the cake mix, oats, and allmond in a bowl and toss to combine.
- Melt the butter and add the rest of the almond extract. Drizzle the butter over the cake mix and stir well. It helps to use your fingers to combine everything into a coarse crumbly texture. Keep mixing until no dry flour remains.
- Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the cherries.
- Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the crumble is golden and the cherries are bubbling. Serve warm with ice cream.
Questions and Reviews
How can I make this with frozen cherries?
Yes, let them thaw or partially thaw first.
This was a great, simple, satisfying dessert. Not too sweet and the almonds gave the topping a nice crunch even for breakfast this morning! My husband loved it and he is picky! I did use frozen dark sweet cherries and they were perfect for this. I think my work comrades will love it too and I have more cherries!
Thank you Debbie!
Could you simply use two cans of cherry pie mix ?
Yes, for sure, that would make this uber simple.
I wonder if a gluten free cake mix would work. I’d love to try it.
It would definitely work Alene, go for it.
Where do you find unsweetened canned cherries! I’m in OC, California and I’ve only seen frozen unsweetened but never jarred. Can I sub frozen?!
Yes, you can use frozen, but you should find canned cherries in your canned fruit section. If you can only find sweetened, then just omit the sugar.
Sue, this recipe sounds amazing! I really miss the sour cherries grown in my home state of Michigan. I hope I can find something comparable in Florida, like the ones shown. Thanks for sharing!
I mail order canned cherries directly from King Orchard in Michigan. They are great!