By Ann Boyd

Recipe: Cranberry Coffeecake

We don't really talk about this much at The Well, but we'll let you in on a secret: Marcia and I both love to bake and cook. And since it's the season for it, we're going to share a recipe we've both been enjoying. 

I originally read about this cranberry cake at The Kitchn, one of my very favorite cooking blogs. I made it for a brunch last Thanksgiving, topping it with the pecan streusel. I was delighted by the combination of moist cake, tart cranberries, and sweet streusel — as was everyone else at the brunch. Marcia made this cake recently using a New York Coffeecake streusel topping, which (in my opinion) made it even more amazing. Just last week, I baked up six tiny loaves to give as gifts. They're also a great size to put in the freezer and pull out later to accompany coffee with a friend.   


Cranberry Coffeecake with Streusel Topping 

You can find the original recipe here (as well as in this excellent cookbook), which features two different topping options: a pecan streusel or a (briefly mentioned) kirsch-flavored whipped cream. I'm including the streusel topping, which tops the cake in the photo. You can also substitute the zest of one orange and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon for the almond extract and kirsch — I like to make it that way. Also, note that this cake has no baking soda or baking powder. The rise comes from the vigorously beaten eggs, making for a moist, slightly dense cake. 

cranberry cake

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened and cut into chunks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 tablespoon kirsch (optional) 
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups cranberries (one 12-oz bag)

streusel topping

1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, warm
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
Prepare topping. Mix both sugars, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl and whisk to blend. Add warm melted butter and stir. Add flour and toss with fork until moist clumps form (topping mixture will look slightly wet). Set aside.
Make cake. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease or line with parchment a 9x13 pan, or a 10" springform pan, or six mini loaf pans (5 3/4 x 3 inch).
Beat eggs and sugar together on a fairly high speed for at least 5 minutes, and probably as long as 7 or 8 minutes. The egg and sugar mixture should double in volume and turn pale yellow, leaving ribbons on top of the batter when you lift the beaters.
Add the butter and flavorings and beat for 2 more minutes. Stir in flour and salt, then fold in cranberries. Pour into greased pan. Sprinkle streusel topping (this will be a bit clumpy) all over the cake.
Bake 45-50 minutes for a 9x13, or a little over an hour for the springform, or 45-50 minutes for the mini-loaves. You made need to tent the cake with foil in the last 15 minutes or so to keep the top from browning.
Cool completely before serving.
Makes one 9x13 cake, one 10" circle cake, or six mini loaves.
About the Author

Ann is the Women Scholars and Professionals Podcast host and the interim editor for The Well. She has worked for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship since 1997, exploring her interests in community, spiritual formation, and writing. Ann has a BM in Music Education from Northwestern University and lives in Chicago, Illinois with one husband, two spunky teenage daughters, and three snuggly cats. You’ll often find Ann baking sweet treats in the kitchen while listening to a podcast or audiobook.

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