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Cranberry Coffee Cake

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Prep Time: 30 mins    Cook Time: 1 hr

5 from 13 votes

This cranberry coffee cake teams a cranberry pecan layer with a luscious, creamy vanilla and cinnamon topping. Ideal to enjoy with a cup of coffee, it makes a nice treat during the festive period when cranberry-based dishes are all the rage!

A slice of sour cream cranberry coffee cake on a table.
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This is a cake of contrasts. You have the slightly tart flavor of the cranberries along with the distinctive tang of sour cream. This is countered with the addition of vanilla and sugar for delicate sweetness plus an earthy flavor from the cinnamon.

Expect a rich, moist cake with tart berry flavors. If you find most cakes too sweet, you're sure to love this recipe which harmonizes the tart with the sweet for a perfect balance in each mouthful.

These carrot banana muffins and strawberry lemon muffins are two other favorite breakfast desserts of mine. And they are both really easy to make too!

Two slices of sour cream cranberry coffee cake on a table.

Main Ingredients

There's no coffee in this cranberry coffee cake. It gets the name because it's perfectly served alongside a cup of coffee. These are some of the key ingredients you are going to need:

  • Cranberries: The star of the dish. I like to use fresh cranberries when I make this, but you can use frozen ones if you prefer or even some cranberry sauce leftover from Thanksgiving.
  • Pecans: For crunch. I love cakes with both fruit and nuts. They're so indulgent! Pecans add the perfect amount of crunch to this cranberry coffee cake, although you're free to use walnuts or hazelnuts instead. Another idea would be mixed nuts.
  • Sour cream: For moisture as well as flavor. You might be wondering about this ingredient, but sour cream is a great addition to many cake recipes. Make sure to use full-fat sour cream. You can substitute unflavored Greek yogurt instead, as long as it's full-fat! This ingredient adds moisture to the cake batter without thinning it like heavy cream would for example.
  • Cinnamon: Gives a warm, earthy taste. This fruity, nutty cake is enhanced with the addition of some cinnamon. This delicious spice gives it such a nice flavor. Substitute nutmeg if that's your preference or a pinch of allspice.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: For a light, fluffy texture. Adding these ingredients ensures the cake will rise and become light, airy and delicious!

Instructions Overview

You will be amazed just how easy this is to prepare. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Melt the butter with the brown sugar then pour this into a foil-lined pan. Top with the nuts and cranberries.

Next, you can beat the butter with white sugar, then gradually add the eggs. Now mix in the vanilla, flour mixture, and sour cream. Spoon the batter over the cranberries and nuts and bake for an hour.

Once it's cool, all that's left to do is turn the cake out onto a plate and admire how pretty it is before tasting it!

Common Questions

What is the point of upside down cake?

This cranberry coffee cake is made upside down so the fruit and nut layer ends up on top. If you put that layer on top before baking, the heavier ingredients will simply sink through the cake batter. Upside down cakes date back hundreds of years to when cakes were made in skillets. The fruit, nuts, and topping ingredients would go into the skillet first followed by the batter. We are using a very similar method here.

How do you flip a cake upside down?

Wait until the cake is completely cool (this is important!) then run a knife around the edge and invert it onto a plate. Peel off the foil and the cake is all ready to serve.

Why is it called coffee cake?

This goes perfectly with a cup of coffee, hence the name. There are so many different kinds of recipes to choose from, but I can't get enough of this cranberry coffee cake.

Do you need to soak dried cranberries before baking?

I like to use fresh or frozen cranberries, but you can also use the dried kind. Pour boiling water over them and let them sit for 15 minutes. They will plump up and rehydrate. You can then proceed with the recipe.

A piece of sour cream cranberry coffee cake in a spoon.

Chopnotch Tips

  • Enjoy this for breakfast or as a snack or dessert. It's a versatile treat and tastes great any time of the day (or night!)
  • Use a butter knife around the edges of the cake so it comes out of the pan neatly without breaking. Don't attempt to remove it until it's completely cool as it will be very delicate while cooling.
  • You'll want to start (and end!) your day with a slice of this. I like to have it with orange juice and coffee for breakfast. If you're making it for brunch, pair it with bacon and eggs for a complete meal.
A piece of sour cream cranberry coffee cake.

Cranberry coffee cake is a special cake that is made upside down then inverted. The light, fluffy cake is topped with tart cranberries and crunchy pecans. A hint of vanilla and cinnamon elevate it to the next level!

Let us know what you think! Give this recipe a rating in the comments section below.

Recipe

How to Make

Cranberry Coffee Cake

A slice of this pairs beautifully with a coffee. It is moist, light, and bursting with sweet and tart flavors in each mouthful.
SCALE THIS RECIPE
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 12 slices

Ingredients

For the base:

  • 1 ¼ cups cranberries
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • cup brown sugar
  • cup unsalted butter

For the batter:

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
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Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a pie pan with foil. Mix the last 5 ingredients of batter in a bowl and set aside.
  • Add butter and brown sugar for the base to a pan and place over low heat. Stir until melted and combined. Bring to a boil and pour the mixture into the pie pan. Top with pecans and cranberries.
  • Beat butter for the batter and sugar in a bowl until fluffy. Add one egg at a time and beat well to combine. Add vanilla, flour mixture, and sour cream, beat well to combine. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 60 minutes.
  • Let cool and then flip the cake onto the plate. Remove foil and enjoy!
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Notes

  • Enjoy this for breakfast or as a snack or dessert. It's a versatile treat and tastes great any time of the day (or night!)
  • Use a butter knife around the edges of the cake so it comes out of the pan neatly without breaking. Don't attempt to remove it until it's completely cool as it will be very delicate while cooling.
  • You'll want to start (and end!) your day with a slice of this. I like to have it with orange juice and coffee for breakfast. If you're making it for brunch, pair it with bacon and eggs for a complete meal.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 347kcal (17%), Carbohydrates: 39g (13%), Protein: 4g (8%), Fat: 20g (31%), Saturated Fat: 11g (69%), Cholesterol: 71mg (24%), Sodium: 283mg (12%), Potassium: 146mg (4%), Fiber: 1g (4%), Sugar: 26g (29%), Vitamin A: 559IU (11%), Vitamin C: 2mg (2%), Calcium: 66mg (7%), Iron: 1mg (6%)
Print Recipe
course:
Dessert
cuisine:
British

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Comments & Ratings

  1. 5 stars
    What a tasty looking cake! It looks so moist and flavorful and just want to dive right in.

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    This cake is so soft and moist and what a delicious cake for the season. All the warm winter goodness in one delicious cake!

    Reply
  3. 5 stars
    This looks so delicious and yummy! I can't wait to give this a try! My hubby is going to love this!

    Reply
  4. 5 stars
    This was so flavorful and easy to make. Everyone loved it!

    Reply
    • Awesome! Glad to hear it was a hit!

      Reply
  5. 5 stars
    Sour cream makes any cake so much better! Love the cranberries on top for some fruity bursts!

    Reply
    • So true!

      Reply
  6. 5 stars
    I love this type of cake where the topping is baked at the bottom. Fab flavours!

    Reply
  7. 5 stars
    The topping on that cake looks just divine. I want a slice with hot custard for breakfast. I kid you not!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Jacqueline!

      Reply
  8. 5 stars
    I love any kind of coffee dessert and the addition of cranberries in this is delicious.

    Reply
  9. 5 stars
    I love a good coffee cake, but I have never thought of adding cranberries to one! I am definitely giving this a go, thank you so much for the recipe! 🙂

    Reply
    • You’re welcome! Hope you love it!

      Reply
  10. 5 stars
    This coffee cake is the bomb! I love the combination of the tart cranberries in this. Such a perfect holiday breakfast treat!

    Reply