This dried cranberry coffee cake is a fun twist on a classic recipe. This sweet and decadent recipe is made with dried cranberries, cinnamon streusel, and vanilla frosting. We use Bisquick baking mix for the cake itself, which only uses five ingredients. This coffee cake is perfect for brunch or a special holiday. It's a treat that will leave your guests asking for more!
There's nothing better than sitting down in the morning with a warm cup of coffee and a fresh slice of coffee cake. Since morning time is pretty chaotic in our household, I'll sometimes slip downstairs early on the weekends to enjoy a little alone time. Enter this delicious dried cranberry coffee cake. It's my personal "six am on a Sunday" indulgent secret. Sure, I could go the healthy route and have some miniature bran muffins, but this cake is simply too good to pass up some days.
Why you'll love this recipe
Taste & Texture: The batter for this coffee cake is moist and not overly sweet. The cinnamon streusel topping adds a crunchy sweetness to the top. The vanilla glaze also adds some sweetness. Rehydrated cherries are the perfect addition to the batter and also work well sprinkled on top of the cake. All of these flavors meld together in a deliciously tender and sweet cake.
Level of Difficulty: I used Bisquick cake mix to make the batter for this cake. This substantially cuts down on your time in the kitchen. You'll need to separately prepare the streusel topping and vanilla glaze, which takes a little bit of time. I also recommend rehydrating your cranberries, so they are plump and delicious. There are several moving parts of this recipe, but none of them take much time or expertise in the kitchen.
Key ingredients and why we use them
- Dried Cranberries: I opted for sweetened dried cranberries for the extra boost of sweetness. The extra step of rehydrating your cranberries in water is essential to having nice plump berries in your cake and on top.
- Bisquick Baking Mix: Bisquick saves you some time in this recipe. The mixture already has flour, corn starch, baking soda, salt, and sugar combined. That means all we need to do is add a little extra sugar. This is a great trick for cutting some corners in the kitchen.
- Milk: In this recipe, you can use any type of milk that you have on hand.
Frequently asked questions
No! Despite what you might think, coffee cake actually has no coffee in it. It gets the name because it is meant to be eaten with coffee—which is definitely what I recommend you do with this cake!
Absolutely! I usually use dried cranberries because that is the easiest thing to find when it's not November or December. Fresh cranberries will add a tart flavor to the cake, which will slightly change the flavor profile. Also, you won't need to rehydrate fresh cranberries.
No problem if you don't have Bisquick on hand! For each cup of Bisquick the recipe calls for, simply use 1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder + ¼ teaspoon salt + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.
HEATHER'S HELPFUL HINT
When using dried cranberries, simmer them with water before incorporating them into your recipe. This will produce a moister and more plump version of the berries for your cake!
Step-by-step: how to make this dried cranberry coffee cake
The entire recipe is below and be printed to save for later. Before you get there, let's walk through it step-by-step, so you understand what you're doing beforehand.
For the streusel, combine all your ingredients in a bowl and then use your fingers to work the butter into the mixture. You want to stop when there are still a few tiny lumps of butter, and the mixture looks crumbly.
For the cake, whisk the sugar with wet ingredients together. Then add Bisquick and mix lightly. Add the cranberries and then mix with just a couple turns of your spoon. This also helps, so the cranberries don't "bleed" into the cake mixture.
Spoon the cake batter into your pan and then use a spatula to smooth the batter out. It won't look like much batter, but it rises while baking. Lastly, sprinkle the streusel on top.
Remove your cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes. Release the edges of your springform pan and then transfer to a wire rack. Pour half of your vanilla glaze on top of the cake.
Sprinkle the dried cranberries over the top of the cake and then add a little more of the vanilla glaze on top.
Make ahead and storage tips
- Your coffee cake will taste best right out of the oven. However, you can store the cake—covered—at room temperature for 3-4 days. You can use a glass bowl over your cake if you don't have a cake stand with a cover. You can refrigerate your cake for up to a week.
- If you want to freeze your coffee cake, allow it to cool completely and freeze it the same day. Skip the step of glazing your cake if you plan to freeze it. You can do this before serving. Cover first with plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil. Write the name and date on the cakes. Store in the freezer for up to three months.
There are a number of different ways to switch up this recipe according to your taste!
- If you don't like dried cranberries, feel free to use dried blueberries instead. The flavor will be just as delicious! Also, feel free to omit any fruit and just enjoy the cinnamon streusel flavoring on its own.
- I used vanilla extract in the glaze for this cake. Maple extract would also be delicious. And for a fresh citrus twist, you could use lemon juice instead of milk in the glaze and omit the vanilla extract.
- This sweet potato coffee cake is another fun twist to give a try. The maple glaze on top sounds delicious too!
Try these other cake recipes
Did you make this recipe? First, let me say THANK YOU for giving it a try! Please leave us a rating and leave any feedback in the comments section at the bottom of this post. I always love to hear your thoughts and ideas on what went well — and what didn’t — with a recipe! Be sure to check out some of our other recipes linked below!
Dried Cranberry Bundt Cake
- springform pan, 9-inch round
- parchment paper
- 1 cup dried cranberries sweetened
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup brown sugar firmly packed
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups bisquick original pancake and baking mix
Vanilla Bean Glaze
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- In a medium pot, combine dried cranberries with water. Bring mixture to a boil on the stove. Reduce to simmer and cook until the liquid is absorbed (about 10 minutes). Remove pot from heat and let cool.
- Place a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit 20 minutes before baking your cookies. Line the bottom of a nine-inch round springform pan with parchment paper. Spray the pan with baking spray and set it aside.
- In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the streusel topping. Work in the softened butter with your fingers until the mixture feels crumbly. Set aside.
- To make the cake, whisk together milk, granulated sugar, and egg in a large bowl. Pour Bisquick into the bowl and mix until just combined. You will still see a few streaks of Bisquick in the mixture. Add ¾ cup of the rehydrated cranberries, reserving the rest for the topping.
- Pour the mixture into your prepared springform pan. Smooth batter in the pan using a spatula. Sprinkle all of the streusel mixture on top of the cake. Bake for 18 - 22 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
- While the cake is baking, combine all ingredients for the glaze into one bowl. Mix until the glaze is smooth. You can add additional milk 1 teaspoon at a time to thin the glaze if necessary.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Release the outside of the springform pan and move the cake onto the wire rack. Drizzle half the glaze over the top of the cake. Sprinkle the reserved ¼ cup of cranberries on top. Drizzle the remaining half of the glaze over the cake. Serve immediately!
Notes and Tips
- Feel free to substitute ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract for the vanilla bean paste. I love using vanilla bean paste in glaze because you can see the small flecks of vanilla bean.
- You can rehydrate your cranberries in any type of liquid. You could consider using orange juice or a favorite liqueur!
- This recipe can also be baked in a 9-inch cake pan or an 8x8-inch baking pan. Make sure you thoroughly grease these pans so the cake will release.