Berries Breakfast Brunch Christmas Coffee Cake Cranberries Dessert Fall Holidays Winter

Cranberry Breakfast Cake




This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

cranberry breakfast cake with fork

My Cranberry Breakfast Cake is an easy one bowl snack that can be made with fresh cranberries or frozen, but don’t let the simplicity fool you, the sweet/tart cranberries pack a flavorful punch!  It’s what you’re bringing to every occasion on your social calendar this season.

cranberry breakfast bread, stacked

I highly recommend making this cranberry breakfast cake with the first cranberries you spot at the supermarket.

Hey guys!  Popping in today to share a fun snack cake with you, it’s the sort of thing you’re definitely going to want to whip up on repeat this season ~ on crisp fall weekend mornings and for all your holiday brunches.  Every time I bake with cranberries I fall in love all over again, they have the brightest flavor of any berry.  Did you know that when you bake them they lose all that sharp astringency you get with raw cranberries?  They do a complete 180 in the oven and it’s magical.

Raw cranberries baked up in this coffee cake have a lovely raspberry-like flavor ~ don’t be afraid of them!

cranberry breakfast cake with sparkling sugar

This easy one bowl cranberry cake is based on my super popular Rhubarb Breakfast Cake which so many of you have made and loved.

I’ve always drooled over my friend Mary’s Cranberry Christmas Cake, and it inspired me to create my own.  We share a passion for fresh cranberries, and I get just as excited for the start of the season as I do with high summer tomatoes or corn.  Any day now you’re going to see fresh cranberries in your supermarket, and I beg you not to wait for Thanksgiving to enjoy them.  Grab as many bags as you can fit in your cart, and just like that, you’ve got your holiday baking responsibilities sorted.  It’s a good feeling 🙂

Want to know a secret?  I use almond and vanilla extracts in the batter, it’s a combination I can’t get enough of.

I love that you get a little bit of both flavors, and the combo has its own unique effect.  The next time you bake, give it a try.

slicing a cranberry breakfast cake

How to freeze cranberries

Cranberries freeze easier than almost any other fruit ~ they will last the year in your freezer and come out looking just like the day they went in! 

  • The easiest way, and the way I do it, is to stack the bags of fresh cranberries, just as they come from the store, in the back of my freezer where they’ll stay nice and cold and perfect for up to a year.
  • If you feel the need to wash your berries, do it before you freeze them.  Make sure they are completely dry before filling zip lock freezer bags or storage containers.

The minute fresh cranberries make it to market I stash a bunch of bags in the back of my freezer, I have a whole section dedicated to it, and I especially love being able to bake with them through the long winter months after the holidays.

The holidays may come and go, but my cranberry cravings stick around all winter long.

frozen cranberries

How to use frozen cranberries

Since fresh cranberries aren’t available just yet in my store, I used last year’s berries for today’s cake, straight from the freezer.  

  • For most recipes all you need to do is remove the frozen berries and use them from frozen, no need to thaw.  They make a perfect substitute in any recipe that features berries, for instance.

making cranberry breakfast cake batter

I topped this cranberry breakfast cake with a shower of sparkling sugar ~ this stuff glitters like diamonds!

It’s unlike any other sugar.  I sprinkle some on before and after baking for extra glitz and the little bit of added sweet crunch is fabulous on this cake.

sparkling sugar

What is sparkling sugar?

  • sparkling sugar, aka extra coarse or decorating sugar, is a coarse grained white sugar, specially made to decorate baked treats because it doesn’t disappear or melt during baking.  Use it when you want some serious glitter on your cakes, cupcakes, and cookies.
  • I think sparkling sugar is the perfect garnish for cookies because it gives a great decorative look without being uncomfortably coarse to eat.

Other ways to use sparkling sugar

Aside from sprinkling it onto the tops of cakes like this cranberry cake, there are lots of other ways to make use of this sparkly magic…

  • Roll the edges of slice and bake cookies before baking.
  • Top sugar cookies before baking.
  • Sprinkle on scones before baking.
  • Add to frosted or glazed surfaces while they’re still wet.

cranberry breakfast cake in a baking pan

Let me know if you make this cake, I’m dying to hear what you think!

  • tag me on Instagram @theviewfromgreatisland

  • let me know on facebook

  • comment below, I read every one, and answer questions asap 🙂

a piece of cranberry breakfast cake

More cranberry recipes to love ~

cranberry breakfast cake with fork
Add to Your Recipe Box
Print
4.25 from 94 votes

Cranberry Breakfast Cake

Cranberry Breakfast Cake ~ because the holiday season only comes once a year, and I aim to make the most of it.  This easy one bowl snack can be made with fresh or frozen cranberries, but don't let the simplicity fool you, this cranberry dessert packs a flavorful punch!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Yield 12 servings

Equipment

  • 9x9 square baking pan
  • parchment paper (optional)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup half and half, or a combination of milk and cream (116 grams)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (1 stick, or 113 grams)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (214 grams)
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour (256 grams)
  • 2 cups whole cranberries, you can use frozen, but don't thaw.
  • 2 Tbsp sparkling sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly spray a 9x9 inch baking pan. I like to line mine with a 2 sheets of parchment paper with long ends, so I can lift it out later for easy slicing.
  • Mix the half and half with lemon juice and set aside.
  • Cream the soft butter and sugar together for about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of your bowl as needed, until light and fluffy. This step helps lighten and aerate the cake.
  • Beat in the egg and extracts, followed by the baking powder and salt, and keep scraping that bowl.
  • Lower your mixer speed and blend in 1/2 the flour, just until it's almost all blended, then add the half and half, and finally the rest of the flour. Just blend until the flour is incorporated, and then stop.
  • Gently fold in the cranberries, making sure to get them evenly distributed but not crushed. If you like you can reserve a handful of cranberries to pop onto the top of the cake before baking.
  • Spread the batter (it will be quite thick) evenly into your pan. Add your extra cranberries to the surface of the cake, pushing them in gently.
  • Sprinkle the sparkling sugar over the surface of the cake and then bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until risen, golden, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter on it. Try not to over bake the cake, and check on the early side, especially if your oven runs hot.
  • Let cool for 15-20 minutes in the pan, then, if you used parchment, you can remove the cake to cool completely, or slice while still slightly warm.
  • Store the leftover cake in the pan on the counter covered with foil.

cranberry breakfast cake pin

 

You Might Also Like

92 Comments

    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!




  • Reply
    Kristy Transue
    June 2, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    2 stars
    Too tart. I like sweeter.

  • Reply
    Mary Cate
    May 14, 2020 at 9:16 am

    5 stars
    My almost 3 yr old done and I made this a few weeks ago…used whole wheat flour and frozen cranberries. Very tender and tasty, but just a bit too tart for my husband. We made it again this morning, adding a bit of cinnamon and using frozen mixed berries instead of cranberries…the batter is yummy, so I’m sure the cake will be too 🙂

  • Reply
    Stefne
    May 9, 2020 at 10:10 am

    Just put it in the oven but the batter was so stiff….was that way it should be?

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 9, 2020 at 10:54 am

      Yes, if you watch the video you’ll see we the consistency, you need to spread it, not pour, into the pan.

  • Reply
    Jo
    April 25, 2020 at 6:04 am

    Can you substitute Splenda for sugar

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 25, 2020 at 7:01 am

      Yes, that should work if you’re using Splenda granulated sugar.

  • Reply
    DeeDee C
    April 18, 2020 at 11:56 am

    5 stars
    This cake has become a family favorite – I kind of feel guilty not letting you know sooner! It’s a keeper! Making it again today to take the chill out of the kitchen so that my bread will rise. It will make a nice afternoon treat!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 18, 2020 at 12:19 pm

      I’m so glad to know that DeeDee, I love it when my recipes become family favorites 🙂

  • Reply
    Kari A
    April 1, 2020 at 6:47 am

    5 stars
    This cake is amazing! Trying to make with almond flour to accommodate for an allergy. Any suggestions?

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 1, 2020 at 8:44 am

      I haven’t tried this with almond flour, but it sounds nice. You might need to combine almond flour with a good gluten free baking mix to give it enough structure.

  • Reply
    Rosie
    March 3, 2020 at 5:51 am

    5 stars
    This is amazing! I didn’t have half and half so I substituted it with sour cream. My husband loved it so much that I had to make another the next day. Now that cranberries are out of season I am going to try it with blueberries.

  • Reply
    M
    February 17, 2020 at 9:40 am

    I thought the dough was too thick; it never became ‘until light and fluffy.’ And, it was very difficult to spread in the pan. In addition, I think I can taste the baking powder. My husband says it is too tangy for him.

    I will probably end up eating all of it, and giving a portion away. The taste of baking powder is too strong for me. I followed the recipe and put in two teaspoons.

    Is there anything you can suggest to avoid this strong baking powder taste in future? I would love to try it with other fruit, ie blueberries.

    M

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 18, 2020 at 12:22 pm

      Occasionally you can taste baking powder if the dry ingredients aren’t blended together well, so there can be little clumps of baking powder in the finished cake. Also, feel free to reduce it a bit next time.

  • Reply
    Cindi
    January 13, 2020 at 5:54 pm

    5 stars
    The best coffee cake. We love it with blueberries.

  • Reply
    Nancy
    January 11, 2020 at 11:07 am

    Coulf I substitute orange juice for lemon and a little orange zest? My family loves orange cranberry muffins. This recipe sounds delicious!

    • Reply
      Cindi
      January 13, 2020 at 5:57 pm

      The lemon juice is meant to sour the milk so would think that may alter the recipe?

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 18, 2020 at 12:20 pm

      I think that would be nice, orange and cranberry work so well together.

  • Reply
    Nancy
    January 11, 2020 at 11:05 am

    My family loves orange cranberry. I am trying this
    Could I substitute i

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 11, 2020 at 11:08 am

      Yes, that sounds great Nancy, please report back!

  • Reply
    Lesia
    January 11, 2020 at 5:45 am

    I only use soy milk. Since it is miserable outside, I’d like to use what is in the house. What can I adjust for good results?

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 11, 2020 at 9:42 am

      Go ahead and substitute the soy milk for the milk in the recipe Lesia, it should be fine.

  • Reply
    Alise
    January 9, 2020 at 9:59 am

    I have leftover homemade cranberry sauce that I froze after thanksgiving. Could I use that instead of fresh cranberries?

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 9, 2020 at 10:07 am

      You might, but it would be a different sort of result. You might do a swirl in the batter, or something like that.

  • Reply
    LoraLee Leavell
    December 29, 2019 at 7:16 am

    5 stars
    I made this recipe for my family on Christmas morning and everyone absolutely loved it!!! I added white chocolate chips that I had and it added a little sweetness! I also just sprinkled granulated sugar on top. I doubled the recipe for my large family and the 40 minute baking time worked. My pregnant daughter begged me to make the cranberry cake for New Year’s morning again,so of course I did!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 29, 2019 at 8:11 am

      Love the idea of the white chocolate chips, thanks LoraLee!

  • Reply
    Sara
    December 22, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    5 stars
    5 stars! I have made this many times, but today, 12/22/19, I converted it to individual small loaf pans. I gave the berries a quick pulse in the mini processor (equal to a rough chop), followed the recipe (I live at 6275 feet altitude in Colorado, so I always have to adjust flour), topped with almonds and sparkling sugar. They are beautiful! Will make beautiful, yummy gifts for Christmas. ? Thank you!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 22, 2019 at 4:19 pm

      Love your tweaks, Sara, and Merry Christmas!

  • Reply
    Karina
    December 17, 2019 at 10:34 am

    5 stars
    This was so good and easy to make!! Awesome recipe! Everyone looooooved it! Thanks so much! Great addition to our brunch table!

  • Reply
    Mary Strassman
    December 11, 2019 at 10:06 am

    Where do I find sparkling sugar?

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 11, 2019 at 10:11 am

      If you click on the photo of the sugar in the post above, it will take you to it, here.

    • Reply
      Jhana
      December 22, 2019 at 9:34 pm

      5 stars
      Wow! So easy! Literally came out of the oven a couple of hours ago.

      Yum!

      • Reply
        Sue
        December 23, 2019 at 8:04 am

        I’m baking one today for friends 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura
    December 8, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    5 stars
    Skipped the sparkling sugar and added white chocolate chips instead. Absolutely delicious

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 8, 2019 at 1:42 pm

      Nice!

  • Reply
    joan nass
    December 5, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    Can I use a springform pan, and almond flour? thank you.
    The pictures are sooo edible.

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 5, 2019 at 2:23 pm

      You can definitely use a spring form pan, but I haven’t tried this with almond flour, I’d love to know if it works out 🙂

  • Reply
    KatieHG
    December 3, 2019 at 9:29 am

    5 stars
    I always enjoy making your breakfast cakes (particularly the rhubarb one) but this was has received rave reviews. I subbed 1/2c of cranberries for white chocolate chips to add a little sweetness and it was wonderful. Excellent, as usual!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 3, 2019 at 9:31 am

      Thanks Katie, I love your idea of adding the white chocolate, I have a white chocolate cranberry scone in the archives that I love. Great combo!

  • Reply
    Kendra Green
    December 3, 2019 at 8:15 am

    Sue, I cannot wait to try this recipe!! I just love cranberries… in ANYTHING!
    I am going to take this as a dessert to my office’s annual Christmas potluck.

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 3, 2019 at 8:26 am

      This cake is a winner, and worth stockpiling those bags of cranberries in your freezer!

  • Reply
    Lo
    November 30, 2019 at 10:24 am

    5 stars
    The cake was absolutely delicious and it looked incredible..the sparkling sugar is everything!!!

  • Reply
    Lo
    November 23, 2019 at 8:48 am

    This sounds delicious and I’m making it for Thanksgiving. I don’t have a 9×9 pan, can’t find it in the stores. I only have an 8×8 and a 9×5. Will those work? Thank.

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 23, 2019 at 9:11 am

      A 9×9 pan has a 10 cup capacity, and the 8×8 is 8 cups, so there’s quite a difference. The cake is fairly tall to begin with, so I’m not sure either pan would work super well. If you have a 9-inch round cake pan that would work better. The other thing you can do is use your 8×8 pan and cook it longer, but it’s not ideal.

      • Reply
        Lo
        November 27, 2019 at 11:29 am

        Thanks, I finally found a 9×9 pan.

  • Reply
    Sherri
    November 18, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    I really don’t want to be That Person (I apologize in advance)….. my daughter would LOVE this but is vegan. I’m going to make one for us and one for her. I will of course play with hers a bit but was wondering if you have any advice?? The egg is 2hat usually throws me- flax eggs are not my favorite.

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 18, 2019 at 5:45 pm

      I wish I knew the secret Sherri, it’s a tough one. I think I read recently that Bob’s Red Mill makes an egg replacer, and since they’re such a great company I bet it’s pretty good.

  • Reply
    Kathleen Fitz
    November 1, 2019 at 8:53 am

    Recipe looks delish! I would like to try with less sugar. Has anyone tried using less sugar? Any comments?

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 1, 2019 at 10:04 am

      Hi Kathleen ~ you can generally use up to 1/3 less sugar in a recipe like this without issues. Let us know how it goes for you if you try it!

  • Reply
    Marilyn
    October 28, 2019 at 9:08 am

    5 stars
    This cake is in the oven now. Since I like walnuts with cranberries, I added about a scant 1/2 cup. Because all of the other reviews were so glowing, I’m giving it five stars. That many women cannot be wrong about this cake.

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 28, 2019 at 10:18 am

      You’re a sweetie Marilyn ~ enjoy! I adore walnuts and I think that’s a really great variation for this cake.

    • Reply
      Ruthanne Smith-Cooper
      October 29, 2019 at 9:35 am

      Would it be possible to use dried cranberries if i re hydrated the berries in the breakfast cake?

      • Reply
        Sue
        October 29, 2019 at 9:42 am

        I guess you could, but I’m not sure how great it would be, I just haven’t tried, so it’s hard to say.

  • Reply
    Karen Barnett
    October 27, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    5 stars
    I just made this and we went back for seconds. The cake texture is so light and fluffy. The almond extract does make it more flavorful. The cranberries are nice and tart. It’s a very delicious cake, Sue. It does seem like a nice one to bring for holiday gatherings. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 28, 2019 at 10:19 am

      Thanks so much Karen, it gives me a lot of pleasure to know you enjoyed it so much 🙂

  • Reply
    Beth
    October 26, 2019 at 10:26 am

    5 stars
    I love eating cake for breakfast! What a fun addition to a Fall brunch!

  • Reply
    Kate
    October 26, 2019 at 9:40 am

    This looks like a Christmas morning treat if I’ve ever seen one! Saving this thank you!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 26, 2019 at 9:42 am

      It’s meant for a holiday morning, for sure!

  • Reply
    Aimee Mars
    October 26, 2019 at 8:37 am

    5 stars
    Well, this is an absolutely gorgeous breakfast cake and such a fun way to use cranberries. Who doesn’t want to eat cake for breakfast? This recipe is perfect for this time of year and would be great on Thanksgiving morning.

  • Reply
    Serena
    October 26, 2019 at 7:53 am

    You had me a breakfast cake! But toss in cranberries and I’m in love! Sounds delicious!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 26, 2019 at 8:12 am

      Cake for breakfast is one of life’s great pleasures 🙂

  • Reply
    Michelle
    October 26, 2019 at 7:40 am

    5 stars
    Love it! Very festive, pretty, and easy to make! “

  • Reply
    Tami
    October 25, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    My husband has a tree nut allergy. What do you recommend as substitute for the almond extract? Thank you for this recipe! I love everything cranberry!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 25, 2019 at 8:14 pm

      Hey Tami, I’d just use the vanilla extract, it will be delicious.

  • Reply
    Debbie Rodenhiser
    October 24, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    This recipe sounds amazing!! Before I try it…..can almond milk be used instead of half and half? (lactose intolerance)

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 24, 2019 at 6:24 pm

      I think that should be fine, I often use different milk or milk substitutes interchangeably. The texture will be slightly different, but still good.

    • Reply
      Rosie
      March 3, 2020 at 6:00 am

      I used almond milk when I made it. It came out great!

  • Reply
    suzicooks
    October 24, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Do you spray your parchment paper once it’s in the pan, or does it replace using spray?

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 24, 2019 at 11:10 am

      When I use parchment I usually spray lightly first because it helps the parchment adhere and not slide around.

  • Reply
    Phyllis Bergst
    October 24, 2019 at 9:16 am

    5 stars
    Update, it is absolutely scrumptious, another great cranberry hit. I even had to send my son out to get a bottle of almond extract, can’t figure how I could run out and not replace. Anyway with grumbling he did go get it and now says I can bake this anytime. And believe me this will be in rotation forever as I freeze as many bags as I can get in the freezer. Thank you Sue you are a marvel. It did not last until morning uncut, we just had to sample a bit for dessert last night.

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 24, 2019 at 9:27 am

      I absolutely love this Phyllis, you’re my first ‘rave’ on this one, and I hope others take your cue, it is a winner!

  • Reply
    Trudy Gendreau
    October 23, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    this looks amazing and will make it…but I do wish you would publish nutritional values for us that are counting cals, carbs etc. maybe you are and I am just missing it… thanks

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 23, 2019 at 8:00 pm

      I’ll try to add that for you Trudy!

  • Reply
    Phyllis Bergst
    October 23, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    5 stars
    Talk about karma, I just bought half-and-half this morning and have the fresh cranberries already. Butter and egg are on the counter coming to room temperature. I can’t wait to try this, won’t all last until breakfast for sure. Sue you are wonderful, keep the cranberry recipes coming. I took the last 2 bags of cranberries out of the freezer and made your Cranberry Butter, always have some in the refrigerator.

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 23, 2019 at 8:00 pm

      I don’t know what took my store so long, but I found my first bag today, now they have a giant size, love that!

  • Reply
    Kathleen
    October 23, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    Looks scrumptious! Can this cake be frozen?

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 23, 2019 at 2:22 pm

      Yes, it should freeze well.

  • Reply
    Edyta
    October 23, 2019 at 10:38 am

    5 stars
    This is definitely a keeper! I love that this recipe uses fresh cranberries. Super delicious.

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 23, 2019 at 1:30 pm

      The fresh cranberries are what this cake is ALL about 🙂

  • Reply
    Andrea Metlika
    October 23, 2019 at 9:21 am

    5 stars
    What a delicious looking breakfast cake. Perfect for the fall.

  • Reply
    Anjali @ The Picky Eater
    October 23, 2019 at 9:12 am

    5 stars
    I love fresh cranberries!! And the flavor they added to this cake was absolutely perfect. Thank you for the tip about sparkling sugar too – I had literally never heard of it but it just elevates this cake and makes it so pretty when serving!!

  • Reply
    Sara
    October 23, 2019 at 8:57 am

    5 stars
    Cranberries are my favorite fall/holiday flavor! Love this recipe, it’s so easy to make that it’s perfect for busy weekend mornings.

  • Reply
    Christine DiMaio
    October 23, 2019 at 8:51 am

    “Looks so good! Can this be made in a Bundt pan?

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 23, 2019 at 1:50 pm

      I haven’t tried that Christine, so I can’t say for sure, sorry!

  • Reply
    Chris
    October 23, 2019 at 8:48 am

    If I don’t want to use half and half or cream, would you just suggest plain milk?

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 23, 2019 at 1:51 pm

      Plain milk, or buttermilk would be perfect.

      • Reply
        Rosie
        March 3, 2020 at 6:05 am

        I used sour cream because I didn’t have any half and half, and it came out great.

  • Reply
    Nanci C Nivolo
    October 23, 2019 at 8:41 am

    5 stars
    I haven’t even made this yet but can just tell it’s a 5 star recipe – Sue, you’re killin’ me! I’ve made more of your recipes than all the food bloggers I’m subscribed to combined. YOU.ARE.FANTASTIC! Thank you!!!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 23, 2019 at 1:51 pm

      Thanks for the sweet vote of confidence 🙂

  • Reply
    gail labarbera
    October 23, 2019 at 8:10 am

    can this be doubled to make in a 9×13 pan?

    • Reply
      Sue
      October 23, 2019 at 8:36 am

      That should work fine.

      • Reply
        Sandy
        December 18, 2019 at 6:50 am

        Do you leave the cranberries whole?

        • Reply
          Sue
          December 18, 2019 at 7:49 am

          Yes, but you can give them a rough chop if you prefer.