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View from above of fresh cranberry coffee cake on a beige paper and wire rack. Bowl of cranberries. Light grey surface.

Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake

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This cake combines the tartness of fresh cranberries with the moist crumb of a classic coffee cake made with sour cream. The orange glaze is fluid and adds another layer of sweetness. It keeps well and can be frozen. Serve it for a holiday brunch or Christmas breakfast or on a chilly afternoon with a cup of coffee or tea. 

  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12 servings



For the cranberry cake:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

For the topping: 

  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar

For the powdered sugar glaze:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons of orange juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF/180°C.
  2. Butter or use baking spray to grease an 8x11-inch (20x30cm) rectangular cake pan. 

For the coffee cake:

  1. Mix 1 cup cranberries with 2-3 tablespoons of flour from the 2 cups. Reserve.
  2. Sift the remaining flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Or have the ingredients measured and sift them directly over the batter.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Slowly add sugar and beat for 2 minutes.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl regularly for even mixing. 
  5. Add the orange zest and vanilla.
  6. Beginning and ending with dry ingredients, add them in 3 parts, alternating with the sour cream in 2 parts.
  7. Add the reserved cranberries with flour and stir them with a rubber spatula, integrating well until no flour spots remain. Don’t beat or crush the cranberries. 
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. 
  9. Scatter the remaining 1/2 cup cranberries over the batter. Sprinkle with the brown sugar. 
  10. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  11. Let it cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and run a smooth-bladed knife carefully around the edges to loosen any stuck parts.
  12. Let cool completely before glazing. 

For the glaze:

  1. Mix powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons orange juice until smooth. If needed, add more juice, 1 teaspoon at a time until it’s like thick honey. 
  2. Drizzle on top of the cooled cake. Let dry, cut into squares and serve. 


  • Baking time: consider that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer(like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust. 
  • Cranberries sink to the bottom: to prevent this, we lightly coat the berries in flour before folding them into the batter, which helps to distribute them evenly throughout the cake. Be sure not to overmix the batter, as a denser batter can support the fruit better.
  • Whole or chopped cranberries? We left them whole because they were wild and thus smaller. If using large ones, you can opt to chop them. They will stain the thick batter which doesn't affect the flavor.
  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Cakes
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American