Cranberry Coffee Cake
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Tart cranberry sauce can be used for breakfast, too! Use your leftover cranberry sauce to make this cranberry coffee cake with a nutty pecan streusel.
Coffee cake is one of the things I grew up eating a lot of, being an easy segue from my first muffin baking experiments.
We tended to fill ours with plump berries, scatter on plenty of streusel topping, and then slather on extra butter while the slices of cake were still warm. No judgment on butter consumption here, folks.
This cranberry pecan streusel coffee cake uses up the last of your cranberry sauce and features pecans for a crunchy topping.
If you’re all out of cranberry sauce, feel free to swap in your favorite preserves instead — blackberry is especially good here. (Peanut butter & jelly waffles are also really good for using up preserves!)
The recipe makes enough to share and can easily be doubled, so it’s perfect to serve up on Christmas morning or a lazy snow-bound Saturday.
Ingredients for cranberry crumb cake
You’ll need pantry staples and a few extras to make this coffee cake.
Cranberry sauce – Use your favorite homemade cranberry sauce or store-bought variety. You’ll only need ½ cup, so save some from your holiday roast or make a batch to have on hand.
Flour – All-purpose flour is ideal for a light and fluffy coffee cake.
I have also made this recipe using ¾ cup whole wheat flour in place of some of the AP flour. It gives an extra nutty flavor to the cake, but keep in mind that it will be more dense if you make this switch.
Baking powder and baking soda – For lifting the cake and making it light.
Salt – I use fine sea salt in my baking recipes. A small amount is used to lift up the other flavors.
Unsalted butter – You will need butter for both the coffee cake batter and the topping. Set out the butter ahead of time so it can come to room temperature, as you’ll need it to be soft to be used in the batter.
Sugar – Granulated sugar is used in the batter, while brown sugar helps create the crumble topping.
Egg – One standard large egg is needed.
Vanilla – I always recommend using pure vanilla extract rather than imitation vanilla.
Cinnamon and nutmeg – My favorite baking spices are added for a cozy flavor. You can swap in pumpkin pie spice, baking spice blend, or your favorite autumn spices.
Milk – To thin out the batter, I use 2% milk. You can use whatever milk you have on hand, but if you are swapping with a nondairy beverage, I recommend one that is unflavored and unsweetened.
You can also use sour cream, but you’ll need more to thin the batter to the right consistency.
Pecans – For the topping, use chopped pecans. You can buy pre-chopped pecans, or chop pecan halves in a food processor. They don’t need to be uniformly chopped but should mostly be about the size of a small pebble.
How to make cranberry coffee cake
First, preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly coat an 8×8-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper, and set the pan aside.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.
In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), mix together the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg and vanilla until blended, then slowly mix in the milk. If using a stand mixer, make sure to not turn it on too high so the milk doesn’t splash out.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and stir in the mixed dry ingredients just until incorporated.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan, making sure it reaches the edges and into the corners.
Dollop the cranberry sauce across the top of the batter, then use a spatula or butter knife to swirl it into the batter.
In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter, brown sugar, pecans, and remaining flour until the mixture resembles wet sand that clumps together.
Scatter the topping across the coffee cake, then place the pan in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.
The coffee cake is done when it is risen, golden brown, and set in the center. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
Let cool before removing from the pan and serving.
Tips for success
- Make sure your butter is room temperature before mixing with the sugar, or they won’t cream together
- Don’t overmix the coffee cake batter, or it can end up tough once baked. Stir just until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated.
- If your cranberry sauce is very thick, warm it slightly in the microwave. This will make it easier to dollop on top of the batter.
- Use a toothpick or cake tester to determine if the coffee cake is done. Because of the cranberry sauce, you might need to poke a few different places to get a clean test.
- Let the coffee cake cool for at least 10 minutes before serving in order to be able to cut it cleanly.
This recipe is easily doubled to make a 9×13-inch pan of coffee cake. Perfect for a crowd on holiday mornings!
You can also make this cake in a round cake pan if you don’t have a square cake pan.
If you like, omit the pecans in favor of walnuts or oats. You can also leave out the nuts for a more buttery streusel.
If omitting the streusel, I recommend layering the cranberry sauce in the middle of the coffee cake, rather than dolloping on top. Simply spread half the batter into the pan, add the cranberry sauce, and add the rest of the batter on top.
Add another layer of flavor to this coffee cake with an icing drizzle. Use my simple sweet biscuit icing, or flavor it with extracts.
Cranberry coffee cake will keep at room temperature for 2-3 days. Make sure to cover it with a fitted lid, or wrap with foil or plastic wrap.
For longer storage, I recommend placing it in the refrigerator, where it will last for up to 1 week.
You can also freeze coffee cake! Cut it into individual squares and wrap well in foil or plastic wrap, then place in a freezer-safe bag or container.
To thaw, place slices in the refrigerator overnight, or warm in the microwave for 30-45 seconds, until heated through.
More coffee cake recipes to love
Are you a big coffee cake fan like me? Try these other favorites!
Cranberry Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
For the Topping
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a square baking dish with parchment or grease with spray oil.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a small bowl.
- In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla, then stir in milk.
- Stir dry ingredients into butter mixture; mix until well-incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Using a teaspoon, dollop cranberry sauce on top of batter. With a knife, drag sauce through batter to create marbled pattern.
- To make the topping, in a small bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, melted butter, and pecans until mixture is crumbly. Scatter across the top of the batter.
- Bake coffee cake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Delicious looking cake! Would love a warm piece on a cold morning 🙂
Oh my goodness, Cranberry cake looks delicious! I’m definitely making this! thanks for sharing!
You know. I might have some preserves I could use for this recipe. 🙂
@Steff Maybe just a little!