Cranberries are not only the most gorgeous deep red color, but they also have a wonderful tart flavor and are one of my favorite tastes of fall. I'm fortunate to live near cranberry country, which means that this time of year there are fresh local cranberries rolling into the market. I decided to treat us all to some coffee cake with the first batch of the season; moist, sweet, tart... the best way to start a day.
This cake is heavy on the crumb topping. Each time I make it I worry about the proportions but it always turns out a winner. Be certain to use a small 8x8 baking pan (I once tried a heart shaped version in a slightly larger dish for Valentine's Day and it was a dry mess).
Cranberry Coffee Cake: adapted slightly from Big Crumb Coffeecake from Smitten Kitchen (which was adapted from the New York Times!)
- 1/3 c brown sugar
- 1/3 c sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 1 3/4 c flour
- 2 1/2 c (about 8oz) cranberries, rinsed and sorted for stems
- 1/4 c sugar
- 1tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/3 c plain firm yogurt, such as Greek (or sour cream)
- 1 egg plus 1 additional egg yolk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 c flour
- 1/2 c sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 6 tbs softened butter, cut into slices
For the crumb topping melt the butter and pour into a large bowl. Whisk in the sugars and spices. Add the flour, stirring with a spatula or wooden spoon until well combined. Press the mixture down in the bottom of the bowl and set aside.
For the cake batter whisk the egg and yolk in a small bowl. Stir in the yogurt, vanilla, and almond extract. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the softened butter and one spoonful of the yogurt mixture and beat on medium speed for a few seconds. Increase the speed and beat for another 30 seconds. Add half of the remaining yogurt mixture and beat for another 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and repeat with the remaining yogurt mixture.
Set aside a scant half cup of the batter and scrape the rest into the baking dish. Spread the batter evenly in the dish with a spatula. Pour the cranberries over the batter, making sure to distribute the sugar somewhat evenly if the berries weren't wet enough to absorb it all. Dollop the remaining batter randomly over the top.
Break up the crumb topping using a spatula and your fingers. Try to leave some pieces large, about 1/2" in size. Spread the topping over the dish and place in the oven for 50-55 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
Remove and cool before slicing.
This cake was such a hit that I barely got to enjoy a slice myself. Big Smith kept shaving off sliver after sliver (so sneaky!) and Little Smith was begging for more until the whole thing was polished off.
I love the surprise of those tart cranberries with the sugary crumb topping, a perfect treat for a slightly indulgent breakfast!