Musical pairing – Please Come Home For Christmas by The Eagles

This will be one of those posts I beg forgiveness in advance about my photos (which I normally don’t do); you see, I made this coffee cake last year for Christmas before I started blogging or had any inkling about photography.  At the time, I had no idea to bounce light, style a shot or even how to use natural light.  And not that I do these things perfectly now, but let’s just say I’ve been practicing . . . regardless of what you may think about the photos, I am begging you to make this Cranberry Vanilla Coffeecake!!!  Notice the triple ‘!!!’ – that means this cake ranks quite high on my very snooty nose in the realm of coffee cakes!!!  And it’s perfect, perfect, perfect for Christmas morning while opening gifts or any other holiday brunch table!!! Oops – I did it again!!!

Because we’re now less than two weeks away from Christmas, I’m going to make this post short and sweet . . . pun absolutely intended . . .

Start by making vanilla sugar which is simply the insides of a vanilla bean scraped (save the pod for another use, like simple syrup) and whizzed in a food processor with the sugar; set aside . . .

Finely chop fresh cranberries with 1/2 Cup vanilla sugar taking care not to puree (using the pulse button provides best results) – you still want some texture, just not whole cranberries

Mix your batter ingredients together; then spread half the mixture into prepared pan; NOTE: the batter will be thick and does not pour

Spread with chopped cranberries but . . .

don’t go all the way to the edge; leave a 1/2-inch border all the way around

Top with the remaining cake batter by dropping pieces of batter onto the cranberry mixture similar to making cobbler biscuits.  If you try to spread the batter, the cranberries will lift and become part of the cake batter – not what you’re looking for here.

Gently close as many of the gaps in the batter as possible – the cake will spread once it’s in the oven

Add 1 Tablespoon softened butter and remaining flour to the vanilla sugar and mix with fingers until crumbly; sprinkle onto top of the coffeecake.

TA-DAAAA!! Moist, sweet, sour cake with a hint of vanilla and the buttery crumb topping is perfect – make a latte and enjoy!

Make ahead: I made this Christmas Eve and it was perfect Christmas morning; wrap tightly and store at room temperature.
You might also like:
GF Dense Chocolate Yogurt Cake – Sensitive Pantry
Florentine Christmas Fruitcake – What’s for Lunch Honey
Parsnip Muffins – A Good Appetite
Cardamom Citrus Coffeecake – Good Life Eats
Yogurt Cranberry Coffeecake – Elle’s New England Kitchen


  1. Okay, I was so enamored with your recipe that I didn’t even notice the first time around that had linked a suggestion to my Apple-Cranberry Wreath! Thanks, Debra, and I will say that it was an extraordinarily delicious coffee cake!

  2. Pingback: Cranberry Vanilla Coffee Cake| Christmas Morning Bites

  3. You had me at coffee cake. 🙂 I’ll add it to my list of contenders for Christmas morning!


    P.S. I refuse to shoot in non-natural light because I can’t seem to get it right. It’s really starting to limit what I can do until Spring 2011. Hurumph.

  4. Pingback: A Holiday Recap | Baked by Rachel

  5. Wow, really?? Your photo’s look pretty darn good to me and so does that coffeecake!! I’m going to have to look around your site to see the rest of your photo’s too have a look-see. Happy Holidays!!!

  6. Now that looks incredibly yummy anytime of the year 🙂

  7. I am a big coffee cake fan : ) I’m going to need some cranberries stat!

  8. Perfect with a cup of hot coffee on a cold and gloomy winter day…. like today. Better head out and get some cranberries!

  9. Oh Deb, this is beautiful!

  10. And here I was, just wondering what I could make for our early breakfast this year. Perfect answer! I’ve already copied it!

  11. Looks just *perfect* for the ladies coffee that I am (cough, cough) planning on having in my spare time!

  12. I must say that even your old pictures look stunning! This cake sounds like it is both a pleasure to make and then to enjoy! I was just brainstorming cranberry baking ideas, and I love what I found here. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful coffee cake with me. I hope you have a blessed day tomorrow!

  13. I didn’t know you were doing your own food photography. I can’t wait to talk with you about what your favorite camera is, lens, etc. I’m learning too and love it. Oh, and I think I love this recipe too!

  14. Yum! And wow! That was a lot of exclamation points! 🙂

  15. This looks wonderful – I love the change from the usual nuts and brown sugar!!

    I wonder how making this up the night before and baking it in the morning would work – may need to boost the baking powder, hmmm…. think I will have to try this out soon!!!
    P.S. I truly wish my beginning photos looked this good!!

  16. Old pictures or not, this is a gorgeous holiday dessert! (I was just thinking the same thing about my own pics from last Christmas today actually!)

  17. yummy yummy yum! This is so perfect.

  18. I bet this would be fabulous for Christmas morning or any other morning for that matter. Love the cranberry layer color, it sure does scream Christmas.

  19. You have nothing to be apologizing for. Those pictures are gorgeous! And that coffee cake? Oh my!

    • Thanks Kristen but you know how it is when you look at older photos – cringe! But the cake is so fabulous I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of posting it!

  20. Oh my – this looks heavenly. I am definitely going to put this on my list of things to try. Not today though – too much snowing & blowing to go out in search of a vanilla bean (rats! Because, I HAVE the cranberries!) Can you say “bookmark” for later? Have a cozy day, & thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • ooooo stay warm Sally – no need to go out in search of vanilla today but do pick some up the next time you’re out; the cake will be your reward!

  21. You could have used one “!” Yeah, I love it and can’t wait to make this.

  22. Going to make this Christmas morning! Love it!

  23. This coffeecake looks amazing! Perfect for the holidays. BTW, I think you’re photos look great but then compaired to mine, yours would win awards.

  24. You’re killing me over here Miss Deb. That’s a “hafta” now.

    • uhm, let’s not point the finger my direction in terms of ‘cake killin’ here . . . seems to me, you have one of those up over on your site today . . . yours is a ‘hafta’ too!

  25. Oh that does sound perfect for christmas morning! thanks for linking to my muffins.

  26. OMG, Deb! I can smell it now! Bookmarked this one!

  27. I actually love the photos in this post! The cake itself seems like something I’d love. I adore tart cranberries in sweeter baked goods. Thank you for the link love, too!

  28. Wow. That’s an incredible looking coffee cake, and I love the in season cranberries.

    • I’ve not always been a fan Shaina but have really come to appreciate their tartness and now I make sure to stock my freezer for the winter months!

  29. This looks absolutely scrumptious! Luv the idea of cranberry and vanilla and crumble topping! PS – Enjoyed reading ur blog – randomly I posted similar thoughts on photography last nite… 🙂

    • soooo funny to look back at some of those photos and kinda cringe – but hey, I’m not too proud to put ’em out there!! Thanks for the compliment and thanks for visiting!

  30. I just popped some cranberries into the freezer. I think I will be getting them right back out to make this! I have a few coffee cakes recipes I love, but I need to use those cranberries, so this gets my vote! 🙂

    • oh Gwen – with all that baking you’ve done – this is a snap. besides, it’s a small cake . . . breakfast with some coffee . . . Roger is gonna love this one!

  31. Debra, this looks amazing!! I am a HUGE fan of coffee cake…seriously one of my favorite things ever.

    I LOVE the cranberry layer!!

  32. You are so right… this is right up my alley! I love everything about this delightful breakfast treat!

    • I know you’re a breakfast kinda guy – scones, broiled grapefruit, muffins so this cake just seemed perfect for you!

  33. Love the layering of this coffee cake. Cranberries and coffee cakes are my favorites!! Just ran out of cardamon bread pudding I made so it is time to bake your cake – still have fresh cranberries in the fridge.

    • Shulie, I have no doubts that you will love this cake – not terribly sweet but just a hint of that vanilla just puts it over the top!

  34. I just came home from the grocery store with cranberries in my basket and this coffee cake is just how we love it! Fabulous! Bookmarked!

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