Cranberry Vanilla Coconut Coffee Cake

Although cranberry season is no longer at its peak, there are still berries to be found at the market. One of our favorite breakfast treats this time of year is this coffee cake.  First a vanilla sugar is made by blending granulated sugar with the seeds scraped from a vanilla bean pod.  The cranberries are finely chopped with some of the sugar and then layered between the batter.  As good as the combination of sweet vanilla and tart cranberry are I figured one more step would really round out the cake.  I accomplished this by adding coconut extract to the batter and coconut flakes to the crumb topping.  It is a nice tropical twist that is perfect for this time of year when you are looking to escape the cold and snow.

Cranberry Vanilla Coconut Coffee Cake
serves 8

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups plus 1 Tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon (4 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and divided
2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat the oven to 375º F.  Line an 8-inch round baking pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with non-stick baking spray; set aside.

Scrape the seeds form the vanilla bean into a food processor.  Add the sugar and pulse to combine; transfer to a bowl.  Add the cranberries to the empty food processor along with 1/2 cup of the vanilla sugar.  Process until finely chopped (do not purée).  

In a bowl, whisk together 2 cups of the flour, baking powder and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup of the vanilla sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the extract and beat to combine.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again.  Reduce the speed to low and mix in the flour mixture and milk, alternating in batches, beginning and ending with flour, just until combined (do not over mix).

Spread a little more than half of the batter into the prepared pan.  Spoon the cranberries over the batter, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge.  Top with the remaining batter and smooth the top.  

Blend the remaining 1/4 cup vanilla sugar with the remaining tablespoon of butter, tablespoon of flour, and coconut using your finger tips.  Crumble over the top of the cake.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the cake (not cranberry filling) comes out clean and sides begin to pull away from pan, about 45 to 50 minutes. Check after 25 minutes to see if top is browning too quickly.  Cover with a sheet of aluminum foil to prevent over browning.  Cool in pan 30 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely crumb side up.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from epicurious.com


  1. This looks amazing!
    Love your blog! Nice finding you!
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  2. Just a beautiful cake! And the cranberry-coconut combination sounds delicious. Great recipe, pinned!

  3. Soma SenguptaDecember 27, 2011

    This looks great. Thanks!

  4. Wow, this looks amazing!!! I have some cranberries in the freezer that have been waiting for this recipe :)

  5. You took it over the top with coconut. Nice!

  6. Wonderful looking cake
    I have not doubt it's delicious

  7. I love coffee cake. The combination of ingredients sounds fantastic!

  8. I finally made this...Wow!! Fantastic! Just make sure to use a deep 8" pan. My cranberries were partially thawed and it still baked perfectly. Make this!!


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