This Cranberry Christmas Cake is a fluffy and moist coffee cake with a crackled cinnamon-sugar topping and cranberries throughout. Fresh or frozen fruit can be used making it perfect for the holidays, but also great year round with a cup of tea or coffee.
Another perfect cake for Christmas is our Cranberry Orange Pound Cake recipe. Rich, buttery dense cake with a layer of cranberry sauce and an orange glaze.
A Lovely Holiday Coffee Cake Recipe
“A party without cake is just a meeting.” – Julia Child << Love that.
“The amount of cinnamon called for in a recipe, should be doubled.” – Amy << that’s me. (But I’m still waiting for mine to be made into a poster.)
I may preach all things pie, but I do love cake. Especially a cake with speckled fruit and a cinnamon-sugar topping, like this Cranberry Christmas Cake!
My favorite kind of cake is usually from a regular pan, single layer, no frosting (whaaaat? I know. Just HOLD ON), but with a sweet, crispy top. And that has a few goodies distributed throughout. So, it only makes sense why this coffee cake recipe is a true love in my house. Cranberries in every bite, with a flaky cinnamon-sugar crust. Every forkful is wonderful and it’s so pretty – perfect for Christmas morning.
Does coffee cake have coffee in it?
I’m sure some do. But typically, no. This cranberry Christmas coffee cake recipe doesn’t.
Coffee cakes are simply meant to go with coffee. They’re a common part of a coffee break, a tradition that goes back to the first coffee houses in the late 16th century, still called Kaffee und Kuchen in Germany.
Just about any kind of cake could be called a coffee cake, but the term is most aligned with cakes that have a streusel topping (from a German word meaning “to strew”), in the style of a Stollen (a yeasted fruitcake with spices), and definitely cakes with a cinnamon topping like this one!
Simple and fantastic, with or without coffee. We love a slice with some cold milk!
What You’ll Need
This recipe is a pretty simple one, with common ingredients and no frosting or icing, but it has a tender crumb and amazing sweet and tart flavor.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- For the Dry ingredients: All-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.
- For the Wet ingredients: Cold unsalted butter, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla.
- You’ll also need: Zest from one large orange and cranberries.
- For the Cinnamon-Sugar Topping: Granulated sugar and cinnamon (don’t skip this!)
Do I use fresh or frozen cranberries?
You can use either! One of the other things I love so much about this cake is that fresh or frozen cranberries both work, so it’s a wonderful dessert year round.
Freezing and Storing Leftovers
This freshly baked coffee cake will last about 1-2 days at normal room temperature. Anything longer, it will need to be refrigerated (for up to 1 week.) Either way, be sure to cover it with foil or plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out. You an also freeze it for up to 2 months.
More Cranberry Recipes:
Cranberry Christmas Cake
For the Cake
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter , cut into cubes
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- zest from one large orange
- 7 ounces (2 cups) cranberries , fresh or frozen
For the Cinnamon-Sugar Topping
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13x9x2 inch baking pan; set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together the 2 cups of flour, 2 cups sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt.
- Using a pastry blender or your hands, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and orange zest.
- Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture all at once; using a fork, stir just until moistened.
- Sprinkle cranberries with the 2 tablespoons remaining flour and fold into the batter (this will help them from completely falling to the bottom.)
- Pour batter into prepared pan and spread out evenly.
- Combine the 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over batter.
- Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.
- Cool and cut into squares. Enjoy!