Cranberry Vanilla Coffeecake

More cranberries. I can’t help myself. Soon it will be summer and they won’t be available, I have to think about the future!

I made this cake twice in one week. That is a very good sign. I first made it the day that I received this issue of Gourmet in the mail—within a couple of hours I was in the kitchen baking this cake. Also a good sign. I then baked this cake again for my friend Molly’s birthday. Another good sign.

It’s just that good. I like coffeecake, maybe its my favorite type of cake—but why should I have to choose?! It isn’t too sweet, many times it is filled with some sort of delicious fruit filling and there is often crumb topping. I mean, what is it about crumb topping? I guess it’s probably the butter.

In any case, this cake really demonstrates everything I love about coffeecake and it relatively easy to make, which makes me love it even more. It would be great for a holiday breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Just try it, you’ll like it.

Cranberry Vanilla Coffeecake (adapted from the December issue of Gourmet)

Make sure you read the directions carefully, the vanilla sugar you make ends up getting divided between the cake, filling and topping.

  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries (6 oz)
  • 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

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), set aside.

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. Top with remaining batter and smooth top. Blend remaining 1/4 cup vanilla sugar with remaining Tbsp each of butter and flour using your fingertips. Crumble over top of cake. ake 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. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

15 comments to “Cranberry Vanilla Coffeecake”

  1. Cranberries are perhaps my favorite food group…this one has been added to my ‘recipes to make this week.’ Thanks for the idea…

  2. This looks wonderful! I have a few desserts I’ve made twice in one week too — but only the best of the best. This looks like a winner and perfect for the holidays. Thanks!

  3. This must have been good if you made it twice in one week! From the looks of it I can see why. Love the second photo that shows the wonderful cranberry filling!

  4. Saw this in Gourmet and yours looks great! I want to try this!

  5. You’ll LOVE it! This cake is divine. Can’t imagine a finer b-day cake AND I’ve delighted in it for breakfast everyday since. Thanks, Tim!

  6. You and I seem to have the same exact insprirations–I made this Monday for a tree-trimming party and my friends devoured it. However, burning question: Did you find the batter annoyingly thick and especially annoying (because it was thick) to spread over the cranberry filling?

  7. Yes Deb, this happens to us all of the time…we find the same recipes! (Great minds think alike?) And yes, the thick batter was a little annoying. The first time I made it I used my fingers to help spread it! The second time I made it I just dolloped a bunch of small blobs of batter all over the cranberry filling and then only had to spread them enough to reach the next little blob. Those are highly technical terms, but did they make sense?

  8. This cake looks awesome, thanks for sharing!

  9. Totally makes sense. If I had let my OCD self out of the closet, I would have thrown the whole batter into a piping bag and used that to get a thin layer of it evenly across. I contained myself. For once.

  10. I made this tonight. It’s currently baking in the oven and smelling wonderful. What really smelled heavenly was that vanilla sugar. I didn’t have a vanilla bean so instead I mixed vanilla bean paste with the sugar. It worked well though I used a 1/2 tsp more of vanilla than what the recipe called for. I also baked this in an 8 inch square pan for only 34 minutes (just took it out). My crumb topping didn’t stay really “crumb”….did yours?

    Btw, I read what you and Deb mentioned about the batter being thick…mine was thick though I didn’t find it terribly difficult to work with, I blobbed five mounds and then spread them out until they met the other mounds. (Did that make sense?) Sorry this is so long!

    Happy 2009!

  11. Thanks for all of the tips, Ingrid, good to know some changes can easily be made and that you had less trouble than we did with the spreading of the batter. Yes, my crumb topping got less crumby after it baked. I basically ended up with a crunchy top.
    Happy New Year to you too! Keep up the good work over at 3 B’s!

  12. Hey, how cool! Thanks for responding back! With all due respect I am no where near the baker that you and Deb are… I just got lucky. It was your yummy photos that inspired me to make the necessary changes so that I could stop drooling and start eating(your cake)!

    Believe it or not, it’s all gone….my three children had several friends over and they all ate two pieces each.

  13. Made this cake for our christmas dessert this year. The batter I made (after converting the ingredients to weight instead of cups) was a dream to work with and the resulting cake was one of the best I made.
    I discovered your blog recently, and I love it. Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

  14. Lovely recipe! Always marvellous result =)
    To make crumb really crumby I bake cake for 5-7 minutes (till it becomes crusted) and only then crumble it over top.

    p.s. Thank you for this charming blog =)

  15. Thanks for posting this recipe – it was amazing! And it looks pretty enough for a royal tea party and tastes amazing to boot. Can’t wait for another excuse to make this again!

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