This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Bursting with cranberries, this Cranberry Crumb Cake is a simple coffee cake perfect for holiday snacking or any day of the week.
This fresh cranberry crumb cake is just what you might crave on a crisp fall day, and it’s easy to mix up and bake.
It’s a tender buttermilk cake, studded with cranberries, topped off with buttery brown sugar crumbs and more cranberries.
This cake is similar to an old-fashioned summer berry buckle or cobbler, only it has a bigger proportion of cake to crumb.
I say yes to that!
Fruit buckles, cobblers and crumbles
Fruit buckles are simple, old-fashioned cakes with buttery streusel toppings, very similar to cobblers and crumbles.
But when all those summer berries are out of season, cranberries are perfect candidates for buckle-baking.
This cranberry cake is scented with fresh citrus zest (you can use orange or lemon), and the inside of the cake is full of whole cranberries.
The berries soften and split open while the cake bakes, staining the cake with beautiful patches of crimson.
I think my favorite part of this cake are the buttery crumbles on top – the sweet crumbs merge so nicely with the tart cranberries.
Steps for making cranberry crumb cake:
The batter for this cake comes together quickly in a standing mixer, although you could use a hand mixer instead.
- Start by taking a stick of butter out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you’re ready to make.
- At the same time, preheat your oven to 350 and center the racks in the middle of the oven.
- Make the topping in a small bowl, blending with a fork until it looks like big clumps of sand.
- Beat the butter with sugar until it looks fluffy, then add eggs, vanilla, flour and buttermilk.
- Stir in half the cranberries – fresh or frozen – into the batter and scrape into a square baking pan. Top with the crumbs and the rest of the berries.
While the cake bakes, some of the cranberries pop open and blend with the sugary crumbs, giving you a burst of sweet-tart when you take a bite.
This is the kind of cake you’d be so happy to find at a neighborhood bakery – one that bakes in small batches with seasonal produce.
But who needs a bakery when you can mix up this cake and serve it warm from the oven?
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
More easy fruit cakes and muffins:
Cranberry Crumb Cake
- 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup (70 g) unbleached all purpose flour
- ¼ cup (60 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 ¾ cups (210 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 tablespoons (60 g) 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (240 g) granulated sugar
- Grated zest of 1 lemon or orange
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup (125 ml) buttermilk or sour cream
- 8 ounces (225 g) fresh or frozen cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350 (175C) degrees and butter an 8-inch square baking pan.
To make the crumb topping:
- Pulse all the ingredients in a food processor, or mix in a bowl using a fork or pastry blender, until coarse crumbs form. Set aside.
To make the cake batter
- Whisk the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl.
- Cream the butter, sugar and zest in a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce mixer speed to low while adding half the flour mixture and half the buttermilk until just incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour and buttermilk. Stir in 1 cup of the cranberries.
- Scrape the batter into the pan, spreading it evenly and distribute the remaining cranberries over the top. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the cranberries.
- Bake 45-50 minutes or until top is light golden brown and the cake feels firm. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Cut into squares and serve.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the crumb mixture if you like spice.
- Use fresh or frozen cranberries – no need to thaw