Cranberry Coffee Cake

From the first time I made this seasonal rendition of a classic coffee cake, I have been eating far too much of it. It’s especially hard to resist when it’s war, when it’s cooling… and when it’s cold. There’s something about the addition of fresh cranberries that makes it special, but you can substitute blueberries or even leave them out entirely (and cut 10 minutes off the cooking time).

This is especially great to wake up to holiday mornings: You can prepare the batter and the streusel topping the night before and store them separately, covered, in the refrigerator. In the morning, put the cake together and bake. I keep several bags of cranberries in the freezer to extend the season. (I even make this in the summer.)

Yield: about 24 pieces.

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
2½ cups cranberries

¾ cup light brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and lightly flour a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

2. To prepare the cake batter: Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of mixer with a fitted paddle and beat until well creamed, about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and vanilla extract, and beat again.

3. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the sour cream and mix until smooth. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and top it with the cranberries.

4. To make the topping: Place the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl and toss to combine. Add the butter and mix until crumbly. Add the walnuts and mix well. Sprinkle the topping over the cranberries. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

From Warehouse to Your House: More than 250 Simple, Spectacular Recipes to Cook, Store, and Share When You Buy in Quantity (Simon & Schuster, 2006)