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Vegan Cherry Bakewell Bars

These BEST EVER homemade Vegan Cherry Bakewell Bars are easy to make and perfect for Christmas. A sweet and buttery shortbread base, topped with a generous helping of cherry jam, vegan frangipane, icing and a reindeer decoration. A delicious treat with a fun Christmas twist.

This recipe has been made in collaboration with Panasonic, using their 4-1 combi oven. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. (For more information along with affiliated links, check out my disclosure policy.)

Vegan Cherry Bakewell Bars

I have been writing on my blog for 7 years and somehow have never created a classic cherry bakewell – How has this happened!? Anyway – it’s definitely been worth the wait for this one!

These cherry bakewell bars are THE BEST EVER homemade bakewell bars you will ever try! They are buttery, sweet, filled with almond & cherries, and melt beautifully in your mouth. You wouldn’t even be able to tell they’re vegan!

These bars don’t take long to make, and are worth the effort. The layers, textures and flavours pair beautifully together, resulting in the most authentic tasting iced cherry bakewell bar.

What is cherry bakewell?

A Cherry Bakewell, also known as a Bakewell cake, is a version of the classic bakewell tart where the frangipane is covered with a top layer of almond-flavoured fondant and a single half glacé cherry.

I decided to give my bars a fun festive twist for christmas with the reindeer decoration ontop, using melted chocolate for the design and a glaće cherry for the reindeer’s nose. Such a simple but effective design!

Up close of a cherry bakewell bar cut in half

The 4 layers of cherry bakewell bars

If you think a 4 layered tart is hard to make, think again! I have designed my bars to be easy to make, and it all starts off with a buttery shortbread layer.

Shortbread

  • A 4 ingredient shortbread which takes minutes to make and only 20 minutes to bake. It melts in your mouth and is the perfect base for these bars.

Jam

  • To give these bars the most epic cherry bakewell flavour you’ll want to use cherry jam. You can technically use any flavour jam to alter the flavour, but i highly reccommend cherry jam (or even a cherry conserve). Cherry jam is sweet, sharp and pairs beautifully with the almond flavour profile.

Frangipane

  • This frangipane is THE BEST EVER vegan frangipane you’ll ever try (as i’ve been told by everyone who has been lucky enough to sample my bars!). You could trick your friends by thinking they’re from a fancy patisserie, thats truly how good i think the frangipane and bakewell slices are!
  • The frangipane can be made in one bowl and takes minutes to whip together.

Icing + decoration

  • Cherry bakewell’s are traditionally topped with smooth icing and a glaće cherry – so I topped off my bars with vanilla icing and reindeer decoration featuring the glaće cherry. I melted some dairy-free chocolate and piped on eyes and antlers. You could use melted dairy-free chocolate, icing and berries to create different designs for different occasions.
Unbaked frangipane in a square tin
Shortbread bars in a tin with cherry jam on top.

How to make Bakewell Bars

You’ll have so much fun making and enjoying these delicious homemade cherry bakewell bars.

My full written method, recipe and ingredients are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. Shortbread

    Preheat your oven to 200℃ and line an 8 x 8 inch square / loose base tin with greaseproof paper.
    Sift flour and sugar into a bowl. Add in the vanilla extract, stir to combine.
    Add in the butter (cold, unmelted) and rub with your fingers to form a crumbly dough. Crumble the dough into the base of the tin and press down.
    Place into the middle of the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until light and golden in colour.
    Remove the shortbread from the oven. Spread over the cherry jam (You don’t need to wait for the shortbread to cool). Set aside while you make the frangipane.

  2. Frangipane

    Preheat the oven setting on the Panasonic oven to 160℃.
    Whisk together the caster sugar and melted coconut oil. Add in flour, dairy-free milk, cornflour, almond extract and baking powder, mix. Fold in the ground almonds until fully incorporated. Spread over the shortbread and jam tray bake and level out.
    Place back into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown in colour and the filling has set.
    Once baked, remove them from the oven, allow to cool fully in the tin before icing.

  3. Icing and decoration

    In a bowl, add in the icing sugar and almond extract. Mix to combine, adding in dairy-free milk one tablespoon at a time, until its similar to the consistency of tooth-paste. Pour the icing over the top of the frangipane layer, level out. Allow this to set slightly before adding on the reindeer decoration details.
    Set the Panasonic oven onto the microwave setting, melt the chocolate, then transfer your melted chocolate into a piping bag. Add glacé cherries over the traybake, pipe on two dots of melted chocolate for the eyes and some antlers.
    Serve and enjoy!

Iced shortbread bars with reindeer decoration

How to bake in the Panasonic 4-1 Combination oven

I am so excited to collaborate with the iconic brand Panasonic on this delicious recipe. I used three of the Panasonic 4 in 1 Combination Microwave Oven amazing and extensive variety of features to easily create this recipe.

Shortbread is best when light, buttery and crumbly. I baked the shortbread base using the combination setting, which uses steam to help create a melt in the mouth bake. It’s a great way to add moisture to bakes.

I use the conventional oven setting to bake the frangipane. I baked it on 180 degrees celcius (160 degrees C fan), which bakes the jam and frangipane beautifully. It bakes it moist and fluffy, with a gorgeous golden brown colour.

To help melt the chocolate topping, I used the microwave setting. I love microwaves for melting chocolate, it helps speed up the process of creating smooth melted chocolate!

I really love this addition to my kitchen. It’s a powerful machine with a ton of fun and exciting features which makes cooking and baking a breeze!

Oven in a white kitchen
Cherry bakewell bar with a bite taken out on a gold fork.

Cherry bakewell FAQ

Is this recipe vegan?

  • YES! This entire recipe is vegan and free from any ingredients! It uses dairy-free butter and dairy-free milk. I like to use Naturli Vegan Block and plant milks such as almond, soy or oat.

Can I make this recipe gluten-free, and how?

  • You sure can! You’ll want to switch the plain flour for a gluten-free plain flour blend. My favourite is Doves Farm gluten-free flour.

How do I store iced cherry bakewell bars?

  • You can store the bars in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Although, they are best enjoyed on the day of making.

Can I use a different favourite jam?

  • You can, although cherry is traditional and one of the main flavours to a cherry bakewell. You could use strawberry, raspberry, blackberry for example.
Cherry bakewell bars with reindeer design

Looking for more Christmas recipes? Check these out:

Reindeer Vegan Cherry Bakewell Hand Pies

How to make a Giant Vegan Mince Pie

The Grinch Hot Chocolate Bomb

Fun Christmas Tree Cupcakes

Gluten-free Vegan Mini Yule Logs

No-Bake Vegan White Chocolate Snowman Cheesecakes

Easy Vegan Gingerbread man Cupcakes

No-Bake Gingerbread Man Truffles (vegan)

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Festive cherry bakewell bars on a wire rack

Vegan Cherry Bakewell Bars


Description

Take the classic and much loved cherry bakewell tart, and make it into a tray bake! A buttery layer of shortbread, filled with cherry jam, fluffy frangipane and icing. A delicious treat with a fun Christmas twist!


Ingredients

Units Scale

Ingredients for the shortbread

  • 120g of plain flour
  • 70g of caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 115g of dairy-free block butter (cold and)

 Ingredients for the jam layer

  • 150g of cherry jam

Ingredients for the frangipane

  • 130g of caster sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of coconut oil (melted)
  • 60g of plain flour
  • 6 tablespoons of dairy-free milk
  • 2 teaspoons of corn starch
  • 5 teaspoons of almond extract / flavouring
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 250g of ground almonds

Ingredients for the icing

  • 450g of icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of almond extract / flavouring
  • 4 tablespoons of dairy-free milk

Ingredients for the decoration 

  • Glacé cherries
  • 30g of dairy-free dark chocolate (melted)

Instructions

Method (shortbread base)

  1. You will be using the ‘oven and steam combination setting’ on the Panasonic Combi Oven to bake the base.
  2. Preheat Panasonic 4-1 Combination oven to 200℃ and line an 8 x 8 inch square / loose base tin with greaseproof paper.  Allow the paper to hang over the edges of the tin, this makes it easier for removing the cherry bakewell when ready.
  3. Sift the flour and sugar into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add in the vanilla extract and stir to combine.
  4. Add in the cold butter. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until a crumbly dough forms.
  5. Crumble the dough into the base of the tin and press down with your hands or an off-set spatula. Tip: Dust your fingers with flour, it prevents the dough from sticking.
  6. Place into the middle of the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until light and golden in colour.
  7. Remove the shortbread from the oven. Spread over the cherry jam. Set aside while you make the frangipane.

Method (frangipane)

  1. Preheat the Panasonic 4-1 oven to the oven setting to 180℃.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the caster sugar and melted coconut oil until combined.
  3. Add in the flour, dairy-free milk, cornflour, almond extract and baking powder. Mix to combine.
  4. Fold in the ground almonds until fully incorporated.
  5. Spread the frangipane over the tray bake and level out with a spoon or off set spatula.
  6. Place back into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown in colour and the filling has set. If the frangipane looks like its burning at any time, remove from the oven and cover with some foil until the middle has baked.
  7. Once baked, remove them from the oven, allow to cool fully in the tin at room temperature before icing.

Method (icing and decoration)

  1. In a bowl, add in the icing sugar and almond extract. Mix to combine, adding in one tablespoon of dairy-free milk at a time until its a similar consistency to toothpaste.
  2. Pour the white icing over the top of the frangipane, being careful not to get any of the frangipane in the icing layer. Allow this to set slightly before adding on the reindeer details. You can leave it at room temperature or use a hair dryer to help speed up the process. Adding a little bit of heat can help crust over the icing faster.
  3. Set the Panasonic 4-1 oven onto the microwave setting, add the dairy-free dark chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and melt. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in-between until the chocolate is silky smooth. Transfer into a piping bag and snip off the tip.
  4. To create the reindeer, add glacé cherries over the traybake, pipe on two dots for the eyes and some reindeer antlers.
  5. I like to set this in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving. Doing this will help boost the flavours and set the icing.

Notes

To store: Keep the bars stored in the fridge in a sealed container to retain the moisture. Best enjoyed within 4 days of making, however I recommend enjoying these on the day of making!

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: bars
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Cherry bakewell bars, cherry bakewell, vegan cherry bakewell bars, christmas baking, Festive, Reindeer, Vegan recipe

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2 Comments

  1. Alice
    December 21, 2022 / 6:41 pm

    8ve made these in my normal oven and they tasted absolutely delicious. I do like the look of the Panasonic Oven. I’ve put it on my Christmas list. Happy Christmas.

    • December 21, 2022 / 6:56 pm

      Hello, Thank you so much! I am so please you enjoyed! They are definitely one of my fave bakes, cant beat cherry bakewell- haha! Thanks again and merry Christmas! xx

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