Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. I love the weather; even the rainy days perfect for curling up with a book. I love the clothes; there’s nothing like a cozy flannel shirt with jeans and some super cute boots. I’m a huge college football fan and can spend a whole Saturday watching game after game. And I love the flavors of fall. Warm, hearty beef stew bubbling on the stove, and the smell of freshly baked bread. Apples with cinnamon and nutmeg (and maybe caramel) warming their tart crisp. And cranberries! When I see cranberries hit the produce shelves at the grocery store — that’s when I truly know it’s time for autumn. One of my favorite fall recipes is Cranberry-Raspberry Coffee Cake. Let me share it with you.
I stumbled onto this treat as a way to use some leftover cranberry sauce I made for Thanksgiving. As I type that, I’m reminded of just how long I’ve been making this dish. My now 18-year-old son hasn’t allowed for leftovers of this cranberry sauce in a very long time! The tart and fruity side dish is a favorite of my kids and they hover in the kitchen when I make it for the chance to “clean” the pot and spoon. But back when I first made it, we actually did have some left over after Thanksgiving dinner, and I was looking for something to do with it. I decided on coffee cake. It was an instant hit!
The first step is to make the cranberry-raspberry sauce. In a medium saucepan, combine:
- 1 package of fresh cranberries
- 1 bag of frozen raspberries
- ½ cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- ¾ cup orange juice
Heat the mixture on medium heat until raspberries have thawed. Then cover and simmer the mixture on medium low heat until cranberries have burst. (It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the pot because if it starts to bubble over you’ll have a sticky mess on both pot and stove.) Once cranberries begin bursting, I usually help them along by popping them against the side of the pot with the back of a large spoon. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool and thicken. The sauce can then be used in the coffee cake, served on its own, or stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days to use later.
Now it’s time to make the pastry. You’ll need:
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 3 ½ cups flour
- 12 Tablespoons butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (If souring milk yourself, you’ll need 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice)
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla
The first step (if you don’t have buttermilk – and I never do) is to sour the milk. Place 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice in a 1 cup measure. Fill the rest of the measure with milk. Stir and let sit until the step calling for adding the milk to the recipe.
Now, in a large bowl, combine:
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
With a pastry blender, cut in 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) of salted butter until the mixture resembles crumbs.
Next, in a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine:
- Buttermilk (or sour milk)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix vigorously with a fork until eggs and vanilla are beaten into the milk. Add that mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until moistened. Spread 2/3 of the mixture into a 9×13-inch baking pan, sprayed with non-stick spray. Over the top, gently spread your cranberry-raspberry sauce. Now spoon the remaining pastry batter over the mixture. I like to do 12 evenly spaced dollops, which nicely delineates the pieces to cut later.
There are still a few ingredients left (I hear you say) – what to do with them? Time for a crumble topping! In a small bowl, use the pastry blender to combine:
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup flour
- 4 Tablespoons butter
Once the ingredients are combined into a fine crumble (in texture – though it will certainly taste fine as well), sprinkle the mixture over the coffee cake. Place in the oven at 350° F , and bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
This breakfast is best enjoyed warm, but no worries in case your family doesn’t polish off the whole pan at once. Individual pieces warm nicely in the microwave for 30 seconds!
NOTE: You can halve this recipe and make it in an 8×8-inch pan, baked for 40 to 45 minutes.
By now, you’ve probably already celebrated fall with an apple treat or two. You can’t go anywhere without running into something that’s pumpkin spice. So I invite you to enjoy my favorite flavors of fall: slide into that cozy flannel, grab a good book, and indulge in the sweet and tart treat of Cranberry- Raspberry Coffee Cake.
– Nicole Capozello, Parenting Program staff