A basic cinnamon streusel is a classic topping for coffee cake, but coffee cakes, like muffins, are things that can easily be transformed by the addition of a few flavorful extra ingredients. There is no cinnamon in sight in this Cranberry Nut Coffee Cake, but there are lots of crunchy pecans, sweet-tart dried cranberries and a brown sugar streusel – all of which will make you reach for seconds even before you’ve finished your first piece.
The cake has a soft, buttery crumb and a texture that is almost like pound cake. It is dense enough to hold up the streusel layer and support all the dried cranberries packed into the batter, but it is still very tender. Instead of using buttermilk or milk as the liquid in this cake, I used sour cream to enrich it. Both full fat and low fat sour cream will give you good results, and having the lower fat option allows you to lighten up the coffee cake a little bit if you want to.
I like dried cranberries for this coffee cake. They’re sweet, tart and available year round, while fresh and even frozen cranberries can be very difficult to find if you want to bake this cake in the spring. Fresh and frozen cranberries can be chopped up and added to the coffee cake batter to add an even brighter cranberry flavor. Another flavor variation I like to use in this cake is to add some orange zest to the batter, as oranges and cranberries are an excellent pairing.
Cranberry Nut Coffee Cake
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
8-oz sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×9-inch baking pan.
Prepare the coffee cake batter.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in half of the flour mixture, followed by the sour cream and the vanilla extract. Stir in remaining flour mixture, mixing only until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Fold in dried cranberries.
In a medium bowl, cream together brown sugar and butter until light. Stir in flour and salt. Mixture should be dry and sandy. Stir in chopped nuts.
Spread half of the coffee cake batter into prepared pan. Top with 1 cup of streusel mixture. Evenly sprinkle 1/4 cup dried cranberries on top. Spread remaining half of coffee cake batter on top of the filling and spread into an even layer. Top with remaining streusel mixture.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely before slicing.