One of the great things I love about the holidays is all the recipes you can make with cranberries. And when you pair them with orange juice, zest or both, well you have what I call a killer combo! But thanks to the frozen food isle, cranberries are not just for Christmas anymore. You can make great cranberry recipes all year long. And this is definitely one of them.
This recipe is a little time consuming as you basically have three separate components to prepare in order to assemble the coffee cake. But believe me, it’s worth it. Normally I give most of my baking to neighbors or co-workers, but this time my husband ate the bulk of it. He absolutely loved it, and so will you.
So let’s talk cranberry orange coffee cake…
Lesson Learned 1 – Prepare all three components first and then assemble the cake: I found this the easiest way to make this coffee cake and once all three components, the cake, the filling and the topping are made, assembling the cake is a breeze. I made the cake part first, then the topping and finished by making the cream cheese filling. I chose that order because both the cake and the topping take a little bit more time to assemble but the cream cheese filling can be made in a snap.
Lesson Learned 2 – Cube the butter first and put it back into the refrigerator: The topping needs really cold butter to create the crumble and even if you start out cubing it when it’s cold it will start to warm up. I found that if you cube the butter and then put it back into the refrigerator until you need it you will have nice cold butter when it comes time to make the topping.
Lesson Learned 3 – Be patient when making the topping mixture: This is a traditional crumble topping mixture that requires you to cut cold butter into flour and sugar. I have a pastry cutter and I’m always struggling, at least initially, with the butter sticking to the pastry cutter. I find myself constantly scraping the butter off of the cutter. But don’t worry, as the butter starts to become more incorporated with the flour you will not have to do that anymore. It just takes a little time, so be patient and scrape the butter when necessary.
Lesson Learned 4 – All ovens are not created equal: I’ve said this many times but it bears repeating. For me living in a high altitude environment I find things always take longer to bake. That might not be the case for you. So normally I post sea-level cooking times, but keep in mind that this is just a gauge. Start looking at your cake at 70 – 75 minutes. The important thing is to make sure the cream cheese filling has set. If it is too jiggly the cake is not done. If you touch the center and it feels firm but slightly jiggly, you are good to go. (Do you love how technical this is?!)
I think you will find this coffee cake is more than worth the work involved. And don’t let me scare you away from this, the work really isn’t that much or that complicated. Try it and let me know what you think…
Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake...
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 egg, room temperature
1 Tbs. orange zest
3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
Cream Cheese Filling:
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter cubed
Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl whisk together the flour sugar baking powder and soda. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the egg, orange zest, orange juice, melted butter and vanilla until blended. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just moistened. Fold in the cranberries and set aside.
For the topping mix the flour and sugar in a small bowl. With a pastry cutter or two knives cut the butter into this mixture until the mixture looks crumbly. Set aside.
For the cream cheese layer, beat the cream cheese and sugar with a hand mixer until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on a low speed until just blended.
Transfer the coffee cake mixture into a greased or sprayed 9 inch springform pan. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the top and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle the toping mixture all over the top.
Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 70-75 minutes (in high altitude it can take up to 15 minutes more) or until the top is golden brown and the cream cheese mixture set.
Cool in the springform pan for 15 minutes before removing the coffee cake. Refrigerate any leftovers.