Cranberry Streusel Coffee Cake
Buttery, dense cake studded with tarty cranberry sauce and topped with the perfect crumb topping: this cranberry streusel coffee cake will keep you coming back for more. It pairs perfectly with a hot cup of coffee or tea to start your day or as dessert to end your evening.
Back when I was about 12 years old, I started working at a local bed and breakfast, pulling weeds in their beautiful gardens once a week. As time went on, I made my way working inside with more housekeeper-type stuff: cleaning rooms, making beds, folding laundry, and setting tables, etc. I could do this because, at the time, I was homeschooled and my brothers worked there (so I had that initial connection). I had that job for several years until I was old enough to hold a “real job” at the grocery store ten minutes away. But that bed and breakfast job was really good for me. It encouraged my design eye, being surrounded by exceptional things like antiques and fine linens, and also spurred on my soon-to-be love of cooking and baking. Every morning, breakfast was served on beautiful china in the Garden Room–a room that looked out onto those freshly weeded gardens, and every guest was surrounded by plants, lots of natural light, and soothing music.
Breakfast was different every morning but always featured local farm fresh ingredients. Whether is was a cheesy quiche, baked French toast, or a tasty breakfast casserole, you can be sure of one thing: breakfast was always delicious. One of the several course was a sweet treat. Often times the innkeepers would have mini danishes made by a local Amish neighbor but on some occasions, they would have my Mom make some baked goods. This recipe is one of them.
Prior to my trying this coffeecake, I had never eaten jelled cranberry sauce in a cake before. Have you? I had never even thought that was an option. But man oh man…is it ever so good! The tart from the cranberry sauce really elevates the cake from a basic coffeecake to something really special. And don’t even get me started on the streusel topping.
I have always loved a good crumb topping. I remember as a kid picking off that buttery brown sugar goodness on top of my Mom’s cakes. And even to this day, I would probably choose a coffeecake-type cake over a chocolate one–that’s how much I love coffeecake. This topping is made with Golden Barrel’s dark brown sugar so the brown sugar taste is undeniable. Paired with lots of cinnamon, it’s not a skimpy topping. There’s also a full cup of walnuts in here, which are optional but highly recommended. 😉 Buttery, brown sugary, cinnamon-y, and nutty…those are flavors that work well together.
The baking powder in the cake causes the cake to rise in certain places, making these cakey hills and crunchy valleys of sorts. The flavors and texture is so delightful. The cranberry sauce sinks into the cake and the topping creates almost a candy-like crunch that just melts in your mouth. It truly is a culinary experience you need to try for yourself. And it’s even more amazing eaten warm. YUM.
It’s been years since I had this Cranberry Streusel Coffee Cake but I was rummaging through my Mom’s old recipes and found this one scratched out (actually in my handwriting!) on an old index card. Once I saw it, I knew I had to make it. And all the old memories came flooding back with that first bite. I literally closed my eyes and chewed slowly. Ha! It’s so delicious. When I gave Finn a piece after school, he pretty much did the same thing and declared, “Mom, this is the best cake! You need to make it again right after we finish it!” He and the rest of the family are huge fans. And I’m so happy. It’s literally a piece of my childhood that I love so much and want them to savor too. 🙂 So make some for yourself and experience the goodness!