cranberry vanilla coffee cake

I know it would seem that someone who makes as many celebration cakes as I do would dream only in stacked layers, draped ganache and swirled buttercream, but the truth is that I think that the best kind of cake on earth is a coffee cake. They’re simple and cute; they’re alll flavor with minimal flair; they take a third of the time to make. And they may not make people gasp when walked into a room topped with sparklers, but they, without fail, never make it out of said room intact.

vanilla bean pulpcranberriesground up cranberriescranberry vanilla sugar filling

I sometimes call these cakes “dinner party cakes” because as it turns out, it’s all people usually want for dessert after a big meal. In fact, you might find that the space between becoming a frequent or occasional dinner party guest is entirely filled with gusts of cinnamon-sugar, streusel or perhaps a vanilla bean and whole cranberries. (Yes, the obsession continues.)

cranberry vanilla coffee cake

I made this cranberry-vanilla one (an inspiration I was not alone in) for my friend Jocelyn’s tree-trimming party on Monday night. It was really easy… or, well, it should have been but the batter came out really thick (as I hear it did for others, too) and I found it quite annoying to spread, especially over the chopped cranberry filling. But, I completely forgave it when I tried the cake — which was light, fragrant with just enough tartness — and I think you will too.

cranberry vanilla coffee cake

Coffee Cakes/Dinner Party Cakes, previously: Big Crumb Coffee Cake, Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Cake, Caramel Walnut Upside Down Banana Cake, Dimply Plum Cake, Cherry Cornmeal Upside Down, Almond Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote, Lemon Yogurt Anything Cake and Pineapple Upside Down Cake [Is it time for a new Topic Index or what?]

One year ago: Apple Cranberry Crisp
Two years ago: French Onion Soup

Cranberry Vanilla Coffee Cake
Gourmet, December 2008

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries (6 ounces)
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened, divided
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
Confectioners sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Generously butter a 9- by 2-inch round cake pan. Line bottom with a round of parchment paper and butter parchment.

Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into a food processor with tip of a paring knife (reserve pod for another use if desired). Add sugar and pulse to combine. Transfer to a bowl.

Pulse cranberries with 1/2 cup vanilla sugar in processor until finely chopped (do not purée).

Whisk together 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat together 1 stick butter and 1 cup vanilla sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down side and bottom of bowl. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour, until just combined.

Spread half of batter in pan, then spoon cranberries over it, leaving a 1/2-inch border around edge. Spoon small bits of the remaining batter over the top of the cranberries and smooth them with as gentle of a hand as possible.

Blend remaining 1/4 cup vanilla sugar with remaining tablespoon each of butter and flour using your fingertips. Crumble over top of cake.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted into cake (not into cranberry filling) comes out clean and side begins to pull away from pan, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan 30 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely, crumb side up.

Do ahead: Coffee cake can be made 1 day ahead and kept, tightly wrapped, at room temperature.

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150 comments on cranberry vanilla coffee cake

  1. cs

    This sounds just YUMMY!!! I wish I was there to have a piece. Perhaps I’ll try for xmas breakfast over traditional sour cream coffee cake with walnuts. But, I may have to add walnuts to this one.

  2. Your friends are sure lucky to have a friend like you!
    I LOVE coffee cakes, they are the best. My favorite ones to bake every Friday, without feeling too guilty about having a cake and eating it too because it’s not so rich with whipped cream or tons of buttercream or lotsa chocolate. A perfect cake for Saturday morning, or afternoon, or evening ;) with a nice cup of coffee, or tea.
    The cake I baked today didn’t come out right, and I have cranberries from Thanksgiving!!! so this recipe is in perfect timing for me.
    Gonna make it tomorrow (and throw the other one in the trash?)

  3. Jean

    Deb, I think you’ll have to try my favorite cranberry coffee cake … sometime (I know what it’s like to have a backlog, mine is huge). It’s the Cranberry Streusel Cake from Fine Cooking #54. I love it, it’s great, perfect for anytime. Coffee cake to me means anytime cake–dessert, breakfast, snack, etc. A layer cake just doesn’t cut it that way.

    Btw, cranberries are a great obsession.

  4. Susan

    Wow..this is a beautiful coffee cake. Your pictures show the crumb beautifully. They’re big and airy, loose and so moist looking. I really like the idea of a cranberry relish as the filling. This is perfect for the holidays, not too sweet nor too rich.yet still something to appease the sweet tooth. Thanks, Deb.

  5. The Teen Chef Anna

    OO this looks so amazing!!!!!!!!!!!! sounds perfect for christmas morning because i will inevitably be woken up at 5 in the morning to open presents. does it taste better warmed or cooled. if warmed is better how could you reheat it?

  6. Michelle

    Looks delicious.
    Thanks, michaela, for the link to your fave. cranberry coffee cake too.
    Deb, how do you think it would freeze if I made it ahead for Christmas morning?

  7. Annalisa

    I would second Michael’s recommendation on the older recipe (which I’ve always done 1 1/2 times and baked in a springform pan). I noticed, though, that this recipe is nearly identical except for the addition of the vanilla bean/vanilla sugar (which certainly could do no harm!).

  8. Bless you, Deb! I was going to make this cake today and am glad I saw your post first so I’d know to watch out for the thick batter. It’s also good to know that it’s as delicious as it looked in the mag. :)

  9. popi


    just discovered your blog recently and am becoming an addict…..

    question please: how much is a stick of butter? 100/200 grams?

    thank u

  10. Lauren

    I made this this morning with a little 2 year old helper. It was recieved with rave reviews by my family. My housemate said, “It’s like the best part of the muffin… but better.” Thanks for sharing.

  11. Why are they called coffee cakes? I’ve only just realised that the coffee cakes eaten in Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels are not cakes flavoured with coffee, as I always assumed, they are this.

    Educate me please. Define a coffee cake for me and tell me why it has its name.

  12. Susie

    Bani, I didn’t look this up or anything, so I preface this by saying I could be TOTALLY off here, but I believe it’s called “coffee cake” because it’s traditionally eaten with coffee, mostly in the mornings, but as we all know, it’s good anytime. It’s not super-sweet, dripping with frosting or icing (good in its own right, but not here), and tends to be a little bit less moist than traditional layer cakes. That’s not to say it’s “dry” by any means, but just crumbly enough to be perfectly washed down with a sip of coffee.

    Hope I haven’t made a fool of myself with this definition, but that’s how I’ve always understood the diff to be between “regular” cakes & coffee cakes. Anyone else?

  13. emma

    not that this doesn’t look good (it actually looks amazing), but I’ve got a question about the brownie mosaic cheesecake. specifically, does it keep long-ish (about 3 hrs) without refrigeration, and is it considerably idiotproof?

  14. Nadia

    I’m grateful for the definition of “coffee cake” which sounds about right after all my googling, because I wasn’t clear what this cake’s texture would be like and how sweet it was going to be.

  15. One of your best to date, if not the best – as far as my taste goes, anyway. I am constantly thinking that you have outdone yourself – and then you go an do it again!

  16. Marianne

    I definitely agree with you in saying that simple is best! :) You can eat more of it and it doesn’t overwhelm you.

    The most cake I’ve ever eaten in one sitting was 3/4 of a standard loaf-sized orange and date wholemeal cake – And next time I’m reducing the sweetness by emitting the dates!

    Hope you had a good weekend!

  17. Once again, a triumph of a cake! Magnificent. It’s all everyone says it is and more. Thank you for finally making me use those vanilla beans I bought at Costco! But Deb, what is the deal with turning the cake out of the pan? I made mine in a springform so as not to disturb the holy and sacred streusel!

  18. I made this cake the other day too! It really is tasty.
    I loved the real vanilla bean in it, and the tartness of the cranberries. Your shots are beautiful, makes me want to eat it all over again!

  19. Angela

    Echoing Susie…I believe these were made to be served with coffee at what were called “coffee klatches” (not sure of spelling), a common social activity in the 60’s and 70’s involving what we now call stay-at-home moms. They were probably like playdates where the moms all hung out in the living room and drank coffee and ate these cakes which go great with coffee and didn’t take the hostess a whole lot of work to put together.
    This one looks great!

  20. Nella

    I did the coffee cake today while the meat loaf and potato gratin were baking in the oven. Just before the snow, sleet, and freezing rain. A perfect day for baking. We ate it….with coffee…..while watching the finale of Survivor. I have been on a fresh cranberry binge here lately. This was no exception to the yumminess of cranberries. mmmmm, I do love myself for baking such a good thing. Thank you again for sharing such great recipes.

  21. ap

    Deb – just wanted to let you know of the happiness you’re bringing up in Toronto. My best group of friends got together yesterday for our annual ‘drink wine, bake holiday cookies, laugh and lovingly insult each other’ day and it was ALL smitten kitchen recipes (doubled/tripled). The non-smitten readers were enthralled with your commentary on the recipes (” ‘I only made a half batch and regretted it ever since?’ I LOVE this woman!”) and the Austrian Shortbread, Lemon Bars, Chocolate Toffee cookies and peanut butter cookies all turned out PERFECTLY. Thanks for all your work and recipes.

  22. Pamela

    Hi! I came across Bake or Break’s Sweet & Salty Chocolate cake a couple weeks ago and read that you were also going to post about this cake. I just wanted to let you know that I have been patiently waiting for your post lol Checking daily, hoping that it will be there. I love your blog and am so eager to read your take on this recipe. My hubby’s birthday is next week and he wants this cake.
    Thanks for sharing all your cooking/baking experiences with us. I always look forward to reading your blog!

  23. Kirsten

    I just started reading this blog right before Thanksgiving. I just had to tell you how wonderful and gorgeous it is. It’s my new favorite, must see place. You do such a wonderful job. I have made several of the recipes and just wanted to let you know how much I love SmittenKitchen!

  24. Karen

    I’m new to your website and I think I popped in at just the right time. This coffeecake looks amazing. I will be trying it within the week. Thanks!

  25. Yum! It was divine. And I was so happy after everyone left when I found there was still one small extra piece left…..for ME! You’re totally awesome and your rock every party I have ever had. No one remembers how much beer they drank or where it came from, or what songs we dance to. It’s always remember the party you had when Debbie made “…….”.


  26. Stephen

    This looks great; on my new list.

    Any reason it shouldn’t work split into muffin tins and layered with the cranberry mixture individually, rather than as a big cake?


  27. I notice you’re using a dark metal pan. How do you like it? I’ve always thought lighter pans were better for cakes. I’m wondering if I should switch???

    PS: The cake looks mouthwatering, even on a full stomach. ;D

  28. Susan

    Fantastic cake- made it this afternoon and my kids have just eaten a vast amount of it after their dinner- just hope there’s a piece left for my poor husband when he gets home!

  29. deb

    It’s correct. This recipe is tricky like that! The vanilla sugar you make at the outset is used three times: 1 cup is creamed with butter in the actual cake, 1/2 cup is ground with cranberries for the filling and 1/4 cup is used in that light, crunchy topping. Hope that makes it less confusing (ha).

  30. Katie

    Can I use vanilla extract in lieu of vanilla beans? I imagine I could find the beans someplace around here but it’d be a major search (I do not live in a major metropolis) and I really want to make this for brunch on Christmas morning.

  31. Dana

    I just put this in the oven to add to a breakfast tray (muffins, scones, biscotti, and this) to take to the teachers/staff at my kids’ school tomorrow morning. My only regret is that I won’t get to try it myself! But since it only used half a bag of cranberries, I think I’ll have to make another one for myself and the family this weekend. It smells amazing!

  32. Laura

    Oh — and I had to use extract. Beans would have required a trip to Whole Foods and WF happens to be right by the two biggest malls in Louisville, KY, and I was unwilling to risk my life for the sake of vanilla beans! I’ve actually never used a vanilla bean. Is it worth the expense? And does anyone have an insider tip on how to get them for less than 3 bucks per bean?

  33. linda

    I made this last week. It’s incredibly good. You can see the flecks of vanilla bean in the cake. The only thing…I had to use more than half the batter to cover the bottom of the pan. So my dollops on the top were somewhat lacking. However, it still turned out great. And Laura…IMO, vanilla beans are definitely worth the expense. Not for everything, but for lots of things. Store wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge and they won’t dry out.

  34. Donutty

    I took this cake to my hubby’s office party and it was a big hit. It tastes great–light and sweet and tart–and would have looked pretty good too, but my cake rose over the edges of my cake pan so I had to do a little finagling to make it look more presentable (cutting off the extra well-done edges and a little powder sugar make-up :)). I think next time I will try it in my spring-form pan to make it easier to get out of the pan.

  35. eg

    I know it’s really too late to be helpful for this Christmas but I bought vanilla beans on ebay last year. I bought two different kinds and paid about $20 or so for a whole lot of beans. Like a pound or so.

  36. Made this this weekend for my husband’s birthday breakfast. So, notes: A couple of pictures I saw seemed to show the lower layer being less tall, probably from the cranberries holding it down a little, so I used a bit more than half of the batter for the lower layer. And then when it was cut it was perfectly symmetrical. (I’m weird that way.) Also, it was great to have the warning about the batter being really thick – which mine was also. I ended up dropping the remaining batter from two teaspoons all over the cake, and then lightly smoothing. It’s a bear though to keep from rolling up off the filling; I found fingers worked better than a spoon or spatula. And of course you have to work quickly, because with that much baking powder the batter is really reactive and wants to puff up right away. Finally, I am not satisfied with the crumble. I think the proportions are off – too much sugar for too little flour/butter – and in my attempt I ended up with sugar, not being fully bound by the butter/flour, scattering everywhere when the cake was sliced. All that being said, the hubs loved it, and when he took the remainder into work the next day it vanished in seconds with a sound like locusts humming.

  37. ag

    hi deb, do you use the cranberry juice from the thawed cranberries in the recipe? i suspect yes because i did not and the cake came out dry…


  38. deb

    Hi Alyssa — Good question, and I hadn’t considered that because I used fresh ones, although I’m sure including the juice could never hurt. There are other reasons that a cake can come out dry, of course — overbaking and such.

  39. Julie

    I’ve been a silent reader and admirer of your blog for months, and have tried many recipes, always with great success – the sour cream chocolate chip cake is just wonderful. I just made this one, and it was great, but it is already impossible to find fresh cranberries here. (I’m a Frenchwoman living in England.) I’m thinking of trying it soon with some homemade (really tart) lemon curd instead of cranberries and maybe some orange blossom water in the cake. I’ll let you know how it goes.
    Many thanks for all your inspired posting!

  40. Yolita

    Hello Deb:
    Very nice blog, beautiful food photos … I made this cake twice and unfortunately it did not come out great … I love cranberies in baked goods very much and this cake seemed very nice to my taste. Top layer came out perfectly (crispy, nicely done) but bottom seemed to absorb the cranbery mixture and the taste was unsatisfactory, it had “wet chunky flour” taste.
    Soon after, I made this cake again, but instead of 1 cranberry layer I did 2 – unfortutately same situation with bottom layer … Where did I go wrong with it – ?

  41. Marie

    I made this yesterday after going to 3 stores to find cranberries (Yay for whole foods!) It is very tasty, though I might use a bit less vanilla. Also, I used a spring form pan as it was the only one I had that was tall enough. It was great for de-panning the cake, but I had to put it on a cookie sheet because cranberry juice was leaking out the bottom!

  42. Joy in DC

    Once again, I tried a recipe you featured, and loved it! As a big cranberry lover, I appreciate the use of real, non-dried cranberries. I baked mine in a 9.5in spring form pan (my 8inch round cake pan didn’t seem deep enough) and it turned out well. About an one inch circle in the absolute center wasn’t quite done (while an inch out from the center was very done – maybe my oven is being wacky), but it didn’t hurt the the cake from being tasty.

  43. I came up with a bag of frozen cranberries I had forgotten about, so I made this cake this morning. I don’t know what came over me, spring fever or just plain crazy, but I forgot to add half the sugar (realized at the end when the crumb topping said “remaining 1/4 c.” and I had way more than that), and I completely, brainlessly forgot the eggs. And the biggest surprise? It still tasted good. the texture is more scone like than coffee cake, but I wouldn’t turn it down. But next time, I’ll try to remember the eggs.

  44. jeff

    There seem to be a lot of possibilites with this cake. I didn’t get a chance to read all the comments but if it wasn’t already mentioned, I might try it with bittersweet chocolate disks (70%) and bananas.

  45. sam

    have tried tons of your recipes deb and till now they’ve all been fantastic – thanks a ton for that. quick question on this cake – can dried cranberries work as well or would i need to make some alterations in the other ingredients?

    1. deb

      I have only made this with fresh cranberries, but I can’t think of any reason it wouldn’t be open to adaptation. Be sure to plump them well first and dial back the sugar significantly — dried cranberries are usually quite sweetened.

  46. Kim

    I just made this tonight. It was delicious! I accidentally used more cranberries than called for, more like 10 ounces, but it turned out delicious. The jam layer was just a bit thicker than what is pictured in yours. I love the tartness of the fresh cranberries, and I actually liked that some of the fruit oozed out against the pan, because it baked into a nice caramel chewy crisp fruit edge. Thanks for the inspiration again, Deb.

  47. Julia

    Made this last night in a 10 inch springform (thats all I had). It was totally YUMMY! It didn’t look like it rose much out of the oven but once cut it was light and and airy and just sooo good. Family loved it. Love the combination of the tart cranberries and the vanilla cake. My favorite part is the jammy layer in the middle – I want more of it, so have to mess around with more cranberries next time. And I found the streusel layer on top a bit much – just personal taste, but if u like your sweets slightly less sweet than the usual, would skip the streusel. This recipe has so much potential and so easy-peasy!! THanks Deb!! Now have to try your potato latke recipe.

  48. Moira

    Okay, now I’m freaking ’cause I just checked out Facebook (not a member so only saw the mini page) and you’re an alumna of Rutger’s Prep. My father-in-law was Athletic Director there for 47 years — Dick O’Connell aka “Oke.” Did you know him or any of his kids? Kevin, Rory, Johnny and Tara (who is now Admissions Director.) I’ve been on your site now for a couple of hours tonight; had never seen it before. It’s terrific! Will definitely let the family know there’s such a distinguished alumna among the graduates!

  49. Jody

    Wow!! I made this last night and it was amazing. The cranberry filling against the cake was just perfect. It was actually quite quick to make as well. My husband had to have some leftovers for breakfast, saying it was completely acceptable because it is a coffee cake. Thanks!!

  50. Liz

    I just wanted to say that I’ve made this coffee cake for three or four potluck brunches now. I typically use whatever fresh berries are on hand and adjust the sugar downward (strawberries and raspberries have been delicious with about half the sugar), but I finally made it with cranberries yesterday. Awesome, and very well received. Thank you!

  51. Tanya

    i made this cake last night and i have to say that although it was just OK last night, it is amazingly good and yummy today! so let your cake rest overnight and then eat it! it makes all the difference!
    i did use vanilla extract instead of vanilla beans and just added it after the eggs. next time i would also use less sugar because it was a little too sweet for me. also the crumb topping was not what i expected; i think the directions are off a bit, not enough flour but i’m kind of glad because i’m not a huge fan of crumb toppings anyway.
    overall, though, delicious!

  52. lil

    I know this an old post but I wanted to comment on it. I’ve been making this for the past two Christmases (RIP Gourmet!). It is so easy and so good. I also love to candy a few cranberries and add them on top. I think it gives it an extra pop, both of tart flavor and of color.

  53. kazuko

    What went wrong with my cake ? The batter was way too short for a 9″ round pan, so layer ended up very thin. But the cake rose pretty good. Next time I will use a 8″ round pan.

  54. Kara

    Help! I just moved across the country so I’m crazy broke and have limited kitchen supplies, I only have pans with 1 in. sides. Should I try to make two cakes with this recipe? Should I use more cranberries? Suggestions would be great. I got some wonderful cranberries at the farmers market last week and I already made the pear and cranberry gingersnap crumble (which was amazing). Thank you!

  55. alexandra

    hi deb! i’m not sure that you will see this, as you posted this recipe in 2008 – but – i googled “cranberries” on your site because i wanted to make a dessert for christmas eve with them and found this recipe. i don’t have any whole milk on hand. in a pinch, would you recommend using buttermilk, which i do happen to have, or reduced fat milk in place of the whole milk? thanks for your time and happy holidays!

  56. Shilpa

    Hi deb! Been looking for something to do with a bag of cranberries my dad bought. Since we don’t eat fresh cranberries this side of the world,(for good reason, how tart!!), thought to check your site, for something-cranberry, and wow, was I satisfied :) this is so going to be breakfast tomorrow!

    Question: can I use vanilla extract/essence instead of a bean? They sell beans like they sell gold here! Also you think using brown sugar for the struesel might be a good idea?

  57. sarah s.

    Hello from snowy seattle! first time posted and new to smitten kitchen, but loving digging through the site.

    Had a snow day today and took the chance to use up leftover cranberries in my fridge. the cake was almost perfect – it burned a little bit when i forgot about it while shoveling the sidewalk (whoops). even with the toasted sides, it was very delicious and still moist. i substituted regular vanilla for the bean (a dash in the cranberries and a dash with the butter), almond milk for the whole, raw cane sugar for the regular, and cooked it in a spring-form pan (and had a little trouble getting the bottom off. Better greasing up next time). Fantastic. Will definitely try again… this time with a louder timer.

  58. i’ve made this recipe about umphteen times…there is always something amiss, i’ve started to call this my arch enemy…made one today with lingonberries, very nice except the oven was too hot (baked at the cottage)…the recipe is very adaptable to other berries, though. our cranberries seem to be juicier than the american ones, so i drain them, leaving them whole also helps.

  59. This is perfect coffee cake. I made one last night and just had my first slice. It is delish! Not too sweet or tart. I had to tweak the process a little since I dont have a food processor or whole Vanilla Beans, here are my tips and notes:

    * Instead of using a whole vanilla bean I used 2 teaspoons each of Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Bean Paste; I mixed the VB Paste into the sugar using my blender. I later added the V Extract to the creamed butter+sugar when adding the eggs.
    * I puréed most of the cranberries in the blender and then mixed the last third or so of whole berries into the puree before pouring it onto the cake batter. It will be runny! But have no fear when I sliced into teh cake today the cranberries had stayed in a nice sollid ribbon of red fruit just like Deb’s cake pictured above. And most of the accidentally pinkish swirls of batter were hidden under the crumb topping anyway.

  60. TaylorMay

    The cake turned out awesome! Used half n half instead of milk and vanilla bean paste in place of the vanilla bean. Also, I used my blender as I have yet to invest in a food processor and baked it in a spring form pan which made getting the cake out super easy. :] thanks for posting this recipe Deb!

  61. Julia

    Have made this three times now and it is so forgiving and such a winner. It’s become my go to dessert when I want to serve something elegant with coffee. And so o quick to whip up. I know Ita not cranberry season now but was doing a freezer clean out and used frozen cranberries and some strawberries, juices and all. Just delicious. I find the streusel topping unnecessary, but that’s just me. Thanks so much for an awesome recipe!

  62. Melissa

    I made this over the weekend as a Thanksgiving week kickoff and it was wonderful! A bit of an ugly mess as I tried to smear the 2nd half of the batter over the top, but it turned out fine — I will trust it next time, and I am sure I will be making this again through the holidays! Thanks for a nice treat.

  63. Siobhan

    Hi Deb, you visited with my Journalism classes at Rutgers Prep last spring and you were very inspring to my students. I’m writing you this from Maine, where my partner and I bought an inn, and wanted to let you know your inspiration continues up here, and that this cranberry vanilla coffee cake was a smash hit at our continental breakfast! And it freezes beautifully. I made two and froze one and the frozen one was just as good as the fresh. Looks, smells, tastes amazing–thank you!

  64. Lori

    Mistakes were made. I overmixed the batter (if using a stand mixer, I’d advise switching to manual stirring after the butter/egg step). I used wayyy too much vanilla (a full bean) which was simply too overpowering. And I got my liquid/solid ounces mixed up and ended up using a full 16 oz. of cranberries instead of 6! Oops. But I came on here to say in spite of all that, this was a lovely forgiving recipe and everyone who ate my conconction enjoyed it — blissfully unaware of how much better it would have been on a perfect day :)

  65. Reneé

    Seriously, though, this was somehow MORE delicious on day 2! A terrific cake to make the day before when you are going to be time crunched. As for the vanilla, I used extract and would like to splurge for the bean next time, but it was still very tasty. Only change I might make next time around is to increase the amount of streusel, because I am a sucker for it.

  66. Lyric

    This cake was freaking incredible! For the not-so-savvy bakers making this *read me* I said to heck with trying to spread the batter on top of the cranberry filling (Seriously how do y’all do it) and ended up just swirling it while it was in the cake pan! The only down fall was I wasn’t able to use a tooth pick to check for how done it would be. Luckily 50 minutes was just the right amount of time!

    -Thank you for the recipe! Im thinking I might try it out with strawberries for a more summery treat next time I make it. It was truly delicious.

  67. Pinkpink

    Yum! Had a bag of fresh cranberries that needed to be consumed. I followed the recipe except I put the zest of half of orange in with the cranberries. I didn’t have a vanilla bean but I did have some vanilla bean paste and I added a touch of hazelnut extract. I forgot about the topping but it was delicious.

  68. Jen

    I had to add a whole half hour (in 10 min increments) to the baking time before I stopped pulling up wet batter with my toothpick tester. Going to bake a familiar cake in there to test the oven, but I did do a roast in there just last month…

  69. CynthiaLuc

    Jeez, I love all of your recipes and make so many of them – THEY ARE JUST DELICIOUS! I have a brunch to attend on Christmas morning and guess what I will be bringing? Can’t wait to taste it. I think I should bring some proseco and add some cranberries in each glass.

  70. Sasha

    I jut put this in the oven, but I had some issues. I found 2 cups of cranberries made a lot of filling relative to the amount of batter. after I got some batter to fully coat the bottom, I did not really have enough to cover the top, so it is more like filling covered with streusel. I made in a standard spring form cake pan. Is that too big? Even though it looked like too much filing i put it all in, and it immediately leaked through and started pooling at the bottom. I am afraid all that delicious cranberry juice is going to burn before the cake is done. I think next time I will just make a regular layer cake, slice it, and put cranberry filling inside.

  71. Chicago NY

    I love this cake but the center top remained gooey even after an hour at 375F. Am wondering if 350F for 1 hour+ may work better. The cranberries throw a wrench in thats difficult albeit super tasty.

  72. Alice K.

    I made this cake yesterday. It was delicious! A perfect blend of tart and sweet. One question: How to substitute vanilla extract for the vanilla bean? I was set on making this but only had the extract and no time to shop. I used 1 tsp. extract, but wondered what Deb recommends. Thanks for another winner. My guests raved!

  73. LuisaCA

    I have made this cake Dozens of times. So a Big Thank You !
    I even stock up on those big bags of cranberries from Costco to freeze so I can do these year ’round. I add some orange zest to the batter and the filling – Because! I have also taken to making batches (and half batches) of the filling and freezing it for a quick throw together. Since there are just two of us at home now I often make just half the recipe in a small (7″ spring form pan. AND I double the Crumble!

  74. Alice K.

    Delicious!! Even though I goofed (forgot to leave aside sugar to make the topping) and ended up with a “naked” top cake, the cake was terrific. Alas, the cranberries dripped onto the bottom of my oven (note to self: next time bake this with the pan sitting on a cookie sheet) and so I have a mess. But that doesn’t take away at all from the joy of eating this.

  75. Becky

    Rather than the vanilla sugar, I like to use plain sugar and add orange zest to the sugar and cranberries in the food processor. (Then I guess you would have to rename it Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake).
    Also, I find if you process the sugar and cranberries too far ahead of time, you end up with a juicy mess. Best to whiz them right before putting the mixture on top of the lower layer, so its juice doesn’t leak into and over the batter as much.
    I do love this cake!

  76. Laura

    I made this (vegan) yesterday and wanted to share since it turned out well. I used aquafaba for the egg and coconut oil instead of butter (except the 1 T in the topping, for that I used vegan butter). Since I wasn’t using whipped butter or eggs for rise, I modified the technique to make it a dump cake- just mixed the wet and dry separately first then stirred until combined. I live at altitude (Denver) so I usually decrease leavener but didn’t due to my other changes (so at sea level I would have increased the baking powder some- maybe an additional 1/2 t). It rose beautifully and tastes great! Thanks for another stellar recipe!

  77. Marci

    Great recipe, delicious cake. 1 question I measured out the sugar but used vanilla paste. Pulsed it in processor, yielded much more than what I expected. Normal? Or did I do something wrong?

    Thank you

  78. Maria

    I have made this a few times- it always tastes great!
    Now during Christmas time – I added some grated orange zest, some cinnamon and cloves to the cranberry filling. Normally what I love about this cake is it’s clean vanilla/sugar/cranberry flavor-but during the holiday time the addition of the holiday flavors is very nice.

  79. Maria

    Sorry- one more thing- if you parchment the whole thing- not just the bottom it is a cinch to lift out once cooled. Otherwise you must flip it over which somewhat disturbs the delicate crumb crust that forms.

  80. I agree with your choice of “coffee cakes” over delicate “desert cakes” – I like the textures, the more simple mixing ( can be made quickly for unexpected company), and just the downright “homeyness” of coffee cakes. Thanks for the variety you have listed!

  81. Maria

    I have made this a few times- it’s delicious!! Today though I made the mistake of deciding to add extra crumb to the top.
    I was thinking I’d like a really nice layer of crumb topping instead of the topping it has which kind of melts into the top and forms more of a crust than staying as a crumble.
    So I tripled the crumb recipe 😬😬.
    What happened was the butter melted out and created pools all over the top instead of staying together and baking into a crisp and cookie like crumble:( I’m thinking the ratio of butter to sugar and flour maybe doesn’t translate to tripling. I love baking- but I’m not a scientific so I didn’t know!! Oh well🤷🏻‍♀️

  82. Fran

    If I were to make this non dairy, would I have better luck replacing the milk with a non dairy alternative ‘milk,’ or with some other liquid (maybe orange juice)?

  83. Suz

    I’ve made this many times for several years now, my go to for using leftover cranberry sauce! I simply add vanilla extract when beating butter, sugar and egg. I actually halved the recipe today and did it in a 6 inch cake pan since I only had a bit of sauce leftover and it turned out perfectly, enjoying it with afternoon tea! Seriously one of your best Deb, keep up the good work!

  84. Jackie

    Late, late, late to the party – love the idea but how do you think this recipe would translate to being made as muffins? I’m big into “portable” treats, thanks in advance!

  85. Debby

    I was going to bake this today, but then realized I hadn’t thawed my cranberries. So next weekend. How long would you advise thawing, though? I usually try to leave my ingredients out overnight because it is so cold right now and that way I can bake in the morning. But would that be too long, you think?

    1. Jon

      I’m admittedly not an expert, but from what I understand it’s a general term for a cake to be eaten with coffee/tea/breakfast/whatever, not made with coffee.

      = )

  86. Bloomie

    Really yummy, but I found there to be too much vanilla sugar on the top of the cake and would lessen the amount in the future.