This soft and tender Orange Cranberry Coffee Cake is filled with tart cranberries and orange zest. It’s the perfect cozy recipe for an easy and delicious fall breakfast or brunch.
Orange Cranberry Coffee Cake
Perfect for the holidays, this Orange Cranberry Coffee Cake is soft, tender, and bursting with tart cranberries. We add fresh orange zest to the batter to round out the flavors, then top with coarse sugar just before baking for a little added texture.
Not only is this cranberry cake an excuse to eat cake for breakfast, it’s also a great make-ahead option. You can prep the entire thing the night before and bake the morning of. If you love coffee cake, you can also try our Mixed Berry Coffee Cake or our Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake and you'll love our Cranberry Orange Bread too.
Cranberry Cake Ingredients
- Butter - your butter should be at room temperature so that it will mix properly with the sugar. You can either pull it out to room temperature for at least 1 hour ahead of time, or warm it for about 5-10 seconds at a time in a microwave just until soft.
- Sugar - this recipe calls for white granulated sugar.
- Eggs - any large eggs will work. It's best if your egg is at room temperature, which you can do by either pulling it from the fridge ahead of time or running the whole egg under warm water.
- Orange Zest - you will need the zest from about 1 medium orange.
- Vanilla Extract - pure vanilla extract has the best flavor.
- Flour - all-purpose flour is great for this recipe.
- Baking Powder - the baking powder helps the batter rise and keeps the cake nice and fluffy.
- Salt - sea salt works great.
- Buttermilk - the buttermilk adds a little tanginess and keeps the cake moist and soft. You could substitute sour cream or even Greek yogurt if you’d like.
- Cranberries - I recommend using fresh cranberries rather than frozen cranberries because it will be far less messy and will ensure that the cake bakes evenly. If you add frozen cranberries straight to the batter, it will make cold pockets in the cake batter. But, if they thaw them first, they tend to turn the batter pink. In a pinch, they will still work!
- Coarse Sugar - this is to sprinkle over the top of the coffee cake to add a little texture. Sugar-in-the-Raw works great. Turbinado sugar is another good choice.
How to Make Breakfast Cake with Cranberries
- Mix the breakfast coffee cake batter. Add the room temperature butter and sugar in the stand mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment, beat until light and fluffy - about 3 minutes. Slowly add the egg, orange zest, and vanilla extract, mixing on low speed until smooth. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until almost combined. Finally, add the buttermilk and mix on low speed until the ingredients are combined. Carefully fold in the cranberries by hand.
- Transfer the batter to your baking dish. Spray a 9" by 9" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, or lightly grease it with melted butter. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish and use an offset spatula to spread evenly. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of coarse sugar over the top just before baking.
- Bake. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool and serve. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing. Enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
While you certainly could use thawed frozen cranberries, I recommend using fresh cranberries. It will be far less messy and will ensure that the cake bakes evenly. If you add frozen cranberries straight to the batter, it will make cold pockets in the cake batter. But, if they thaw them first, they tend to turn the batter pink. In a pinch, they will still work!
Coffee cake is a perfect recipe to make the night before. Just store in the fridge overnight and then bake the next morning. Be sure to pull the baking dish out to room temperature while you preheat the oven.
Yes! You can wrap your coffee cake, or store in another airtight container, and store frozen for up to 3 months. To thaw, transfer to the fridge overnight or pull to room temperature for a few hours.
Absolutely. The brown sugar streusel topping from our Apple Cinnamon French Toast Bake recipe would work perfectly. Just sprinkle over the top before baking.
Storing and Reheating
- Storing - your coffee cake can be covered and stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- Freezer - you can also wrap your cake and store frozen for up to 3 months. To thaw, transfer to the fridge overnight or room temperature for a few hours.
- To warm: to reheat, place in a preheated 325 degree oven for about 5-10 minutes, or until just warmed. You can also microwave a single portion.
Orange Cranberry Coffee Cake Recipe
- 1 cup Butter room temperature
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 large Egg
- 2 Tablespoons Orange Zest
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ cup Buttermilk
- 2 cups Cranberries fresh
- 2 Tablespoons Coarse Sugar Sugar in the raw works great, for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the room temperature butter and sugar. Using the paddle attachment, beat until light and fluffy, or about 3 minutes.
- Slowly add the egg, orange zest and vanilla and mix on low speed until smooth. Stop the mixer and add the flour, baking powder and salt, then mix on low speed just until almost combined.
- Add the buttermilk and continue mixing on low until well mixed. Finally, use a rubber spatula to carefully fold in the fresh cranberries by hand.
- Transfer the batter to a buttered 9" x 9" baking dish, using an offset spatula to spread evenly. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of coarse sugar over the cake batter just before baking.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing. Enjoy!
More of the Best Breakfast Recipes
- The Best Cinnamon Rolls
- Mixed Berry Muffins
- Caramel Pecan Monkey Bread
- Pumpkin Stuffed French Toast
- Lemon Blueberry Scones
- Pumpkin Waffles
- Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
- Applesauce Muffins
- More Breakfast Quick Bread Recipes
- More Holiday Recipes
This recipe for Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake is the perfect make-ahead breakfast for the holiday season. It's full of fresh tart cranberries, orange zest, and topped with a crunchy sugar crust.