Cranberry Studded Coffee Cake

Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake, this dense and rich coffee cake is studded with sugar-coated cranberries. The perfect holiday breakfast, brunch or snack!


Cranberry Studded Coffee Cake

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I think at some point most people embark on the “Who was the first person to eat that?” conversation. Common subjects include oysters, lobster, and mushrooms.

Cranberries are an interesting dark horse in that conversation because assuming you found wild cranberries they would actually look pretty appetizing, but I imagine that you would eat one and be forever against them – choosing starvation over cranberry in the future. The cranberry’s main characteristics are: 1) incredibly bitter 2) hollow 3) crunchy, yet mesh-like.

These are not great food characteristics.

But, if you bake these suckers they turn into an entirely completely thing. They are still bitter, but that bitterness can actually work to balance other flavors (like brown sugar). They lose their weird hollow texture though which is very important.

Enough about the qualities of cranberries. This Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake is a really dense and delicious coffee cake that’s perfect for the holidays. Assuming you have some cranberries sitting around, save a cup or so for this cake.

Cranberry Studded Coffee Cake

Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake, this dense and rich coffee cake is studded with sugar-coated cranberries. The perfect holiday breakfast, brunch or snack!
2.21 from 5 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Breads, Breakfast & Brunch, Side Dishes
Servings 9 Servings
Yield 8×8 Baking Dish


  • 1 ¼ cups cranberries + ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • cup sugar
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 orange zest only
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup buttermilk


  • cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter softened


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Wash cranberries well, then drain and immediately toss with 1/4 cup sugar. Set aside.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and work streusel ingredients together with your hands or a fork in a separate bowl.
  • In a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and orange zest until smooth. Then mix in vanilla extract and eggs one at a time.
  • Mix in Greek yogurt, then the flour ingredients. Finally add buttermilk and slowly mix until batter is smooth. Then fold in sugar-coated cranberries.
  • Pour half the batter into a lightly buttered 8×8 baking dish. Top with half of the streusel mixture.
  • Top with last half of the batter and the last of the streusel.
  • Bake the coffee cake at 350 degrees F. for about an hour until the center is just set. Remove coffee cake and let it cool for 20 minutes or so.
  • Slice coffee cake into 9 even pieces and serve while warm or at room temperature.


Serving: 1PieceCalories: 488kcalCarbohydrates: 66gProtein: 7gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 414mgPotassium: 169mgFiber: 2gSugar: 39gVitamin A: 770IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 110mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Coffee Cake Recipes, Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake, Cranberry Studded Coffee Cake, Homemade Coffee Cake

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Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake

The Studs

You could just toss the cranberries into the mix here, but I like to do a little something extra. I wash the cranberries well, then drain them, and immediately toss them with a little sugar. This way, when the cranberries get folded into the batter, they are sort of enclosed in little sugar pockets. It’s good stuff.

Coated in sugar - Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake
Coated in sugar.

Making the Batter

The cake batter is pretty similar to most cake batters. You start by just creaming together the sugar and butter into a large bowl. You can go ahead and add in the orange zest at this point also so it gets well incorporated into the  batter.

You can use either a hand mixer or stand mixer for this.

Creamed and oranged - Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake
Creamed and oranged.

Meanwhile, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

When the butter and sugar mixture is light and fluffy, add in the vanilla extract and eggs and continue to mix.

Then mix in the Greek yogurt, followed by the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk.

Once your batter is done, go ahead and fold in the sugar-coated cranberries!

Fold those suckers in - Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake
Fold those suckers in.

You’ll also need to mix up the streusel for this Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake. I just mashed together the ingredients in a small bowl with my hands, but you could use a fork also.

Big pieces are good here.

Some Streusel biz - Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake
Some Streusel biz.

Baking the Cake

When you’re ready to bake the Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake, add half the batter to a buttered 8×8 baking dish. Spread it out on the bottom and then sprinkle with half of the streusel mixture.

Layer uno - Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake
Layer uno.

Then spread over the batter and the rest of the streusel.

You’ll end up with a big thick baking dish. It’ll smell good already!

Layer dos - Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake
Layer dos.

Bake this guy for about an hour at 350 degrees F.

Be sure the center is set before you pull it out. The coffee cake should be golden browned around the edges.

Takes about an hour - Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake
Takes about an hour.

Be sure to let this cake cool for at least 20 minutes or so before cutting into it.

I like to cut the cake into pretty large pieces so I cut it into 9 pieces. You could cut them smaller if you want, but I like a big hunk of coffee cake with my coffee.

So good, Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake from Macheesmo
So good.

This Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake  is a perfect mix of sweet and citrusy. When it comes out of the oven, your whole house will smell awesome.

So, for the record. Do not eat cranberries raw unless you are very hungry and there are no oysters around.

Do coat them with sugar and bake them in this awesome coffee cake.

9 Responses to “Cranberry Studded Coffee Cake” Leave a comment

  1. Oh my…this sounds and looks wonderful!! I plan on making tomorrow, as a test run, and I’m sure I’ll be adding it to my Christmas breakfast menu!

  2. Yes, yet another recipe for the beloved cranberry, at least in my house!!! I love, love, love them!! Thanks, Macheesmo, once again! I just put a blueberry and orange loaf bread in the oven (Bronco Bread). I have cranberries in the fridge and will need to run out for yoghurt, let’s see, I am free on Tuesday for baking – color me happy!!!

  3. Is it weird that I actually like raw cranberries? They have a very satisfying crunch. I love them in all forms, cooked, baked into goods, dried, in oatmeal, the possibilities are endless. One of my favorite versatile foods.

  4. I made this yesterday and it is really delish! The yogurt and buttermilk make this cake very moist which I love. Thanks for sharing that with us.

  5. This is exactly what I am looking for. We are heading to our children’s for the holidays and I like to take along baking. This will fit the bill perfctly for coffee time !

  6. Thanks Nick :) Always looking for a new coffee cake recipe for Christmas. My last one was a small disaster :(

  7. This was delicious! I modified it just a little by adding a little bit of fresh squeezed oj (in place of about 1/3 of the buttermilk) and I modified the streusel by using buckwheat flour, and adding walnuts and extra cinnamon. The cake took a little longer to bake but it is light and moist. I baked it in a round glass dish. Very pretty and would be lovely to bring to a party as the host can have the leftovers in the morning with their coffee. Thank you for the recipe!

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