Boozy Sugared Cranberry Coffee Cake

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Good grief, sugared cranberries. Where have you been all of my life? You are by far one of the cutest things I’ve ever done. You’re perfect in a bowl. Just sitting there, lighting up the room, begging to be snacked on. I’m inclined to want to throw you haphazardly around the house just to spice things up a bit…you add holiday flair like no other.

I call that: “Ode to a Sugared Cranberry.”

My mind has been semi-obsessed with Christmas breakfast. What to eat, what to eat? You need some type of an egg-y thingy that can be made ahead. I don’t want to spend Christmas morning in the kitchen like I’m the help. Are you hearing me on that one? I have some ideas on an egg casserole thing…but that’s for later. Let’s start with the sweet part. We can’t have Christmas breakfast without a pretty, dazzling sweet thing livening up the house, right?

Well look no further, we’ve found her. This one tastes as stunning as she looks. I threw some five-spice in the streusel. I boozed up my sugared cranberries. This coffee cake…she’s just gorgeous. She was inspired by the Barefoot Contessa’s coffee cake…I added some different quantities of ingredients, flavors, etc. Inside is a beautifully moist crumb hiding sugary-tart cranberries that pop in your mouth. The heady layer of streusel nestled in there will keep you on a nice sugar high through to dinner. Best of all, coffee cake begs for morning cocktails. In fact, it flat out demands it. You could go missionary on this one and make it champagne or a bloody. The first if you’re feeling sophisticated and the latter if you hit it too hard the night before.  Or, we could get frisky with our drink? I’m saving the syrup from the sugared cranberries and I’m going to create something very holiday morning-ish. Any occasion that encourages drinking before 9am is to be honored.

Meanwhile, get your fanny in the kitchen and add some value to the house. I would make the cranberries two days ahead. Make the cake the night before and after it has cooled, cover tightly with plastic wrap and then a layer of foil to keep all the moisture in the cake. All you have to do on Christmas morning is drizzle on some schmooey and throw sugared cranberries lazily around the top and edges while you oh-so-elegantly hold your cocktail in the other hand (at all times). Why am I picturing the grandmother from Sixteen Candles—the one with the humongous cigarette ash dangling over the food—in this image? Are you with me? Let’s make some boozy cake, shall we?

 I wanted to revisit this cake. Would it stand up to being made (and not baked) the night before…so it would have that element of freshness that only just-made cake has? I also wanted to adjusted some of the spices and make some additional instructions below. So the answer is YES, this cake can be made, not baked, wrapped tightly and shoved in the fridge the night before. It turn out great. I had to add some extra minutes to the bake time, for a total of 53 minutes. Additionally, I’d like to note that the streusel mingles more with the cake batter, so there is less of a distinctive layer of streusel. It didn’t offend me, but if you think it might bother you just omit the streusel…the cake will still be equally delicious without. I hope this makes it to your holiday breakfast!
Rebecca xoxo

boozy sugared cranberry coffee cake | Recipe via DisplacedHousewife

boozy sugared cranberry coffee cake | Recipe via DisplacedHousewife

boozy sugared cranberry coffee cake | Recipe via DisplacedHousewife

boozy sugared cranberry coffee cake


For the Sugared Cranberries

  • 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1/4  cup Cointreau
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange/Satsuma/tangerine juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange/Satsuma/tangerine zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder (if you don’t care for this, add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon in its place)
  • 2 cups of whole fresh cranberries (frozen or fresh…I will say the organic ones are plumper, rounder and prettier)
  • 1 cup superfine sugar (for rolling the cranberries…you can also throw regular granulated sugar in your Cuisinart and pulse until it gets ground up a bit)

For the Coffee Cake

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups sour cream
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 2 orange/Satusumas/tangerines zested (about 2 tablespoon)
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4  cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups sugared cranberries, divided
  • Plus some powdered sugar to sprinkle on the top when the cake has finished baking

For the Streusel

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons five spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon Cointreau
  • Use milk if you need to thin the glaze a bit more


For the Sugared Cranberries

  1. Make a simple syrup by heating the granulated sugar and the water together. You can do this on the stovetop or in the microwave. Stir until your sugar is dissolved. Let cool a bit so that the heat doesn’t pop your cranberries.
  2. Pour the simple syrup into a bowl. Add the Cointreau, five-spice powder, orange zest and juice.
  3. Pour in the cranberries. Cover and let chill in the fridge overnight or at least eight hours. Occasionally stir so that you make sure everyone is getting equally sugary.
  4. Fast forward in time to at least eight hours…Drain the cranberries. Save any liquid for a boozy cocktail. Roll the cranberries in the superfine sugar and set them on parchment paper to dry. Should take about two-ish hours. These can sit in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days.

For the Cake

  1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease (butter + flour) a 10-cup bundt cake pan. Don’t skip this step!! You don’t want your cake to get stuck.
  2. Put the butter and the sugar in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat until nice, light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix on a low speed until mixed. Then add the orange zest, vanilla, sour cream and buttermilk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl (and the bottom) to make sure everything is incorporated.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sprinkle the flour mixture on top of the egg-butter mixture and mix until just combined. Using a spatula, very gently fold 1 1/2 cups cranberries into the batter. You want them evenly distributed, but moved around as little as possible. Otherwise they’ll bleed. A little bleed is fine…we just don’t want a crime scene.
  4. In another bowl, mix the streusel ingredients: brown sugar, five-spice powder, salt and butter. I like to use a pastry blender for this. You want to make sure the butter is pretty well blended. There should be a nice crumb happening…a couple larger bits of butter are just fine. Set aside.
  5. Pour half the batter into your prepared Bundt pan. Sprinkle ¾ of the streusel around the pan and then pour the remaining half of the batter. Sprinkle the top with the remaining streusel. Don’t stress out if you didn’t get these proportions just right. I often get a little too excited and put too much in first and then the streusel-cake-streusel at the end seems too thin. Trust me, it’ll be just fine.
  6. Bake for 50 minutes, but start watching your cake around 45 minutes. You don’t want any jiggle and you want a cake tester (in my house, that would be a toothpick) to come out clean. Minus puncturing any cranberries in there. [If it’s been in the fridge all night, it may need an extra 5-ish minutes.]
  7. Let this baby cool! Don’t get impatient here…I implore you. Let that little bundle of goodness rest and simmer down. If you are serving this the next day, wait until the cake and pan are cool to the touch and then wrap them tight like nobody’s business. Set in a cool, dark place to hang out. Sounds a bit like a speakeasy. Once inverted, sprinkle with some powdered sugar. It will look best if you sift it on there…light and angelic.
  8. Mix the glaze ingredients together until there are no lumps and the schmooey is thick enough that it will stop in its’ tracks as you drizzle it over the cake. You may need more liquid or more powdered sugar…play around here a bit. Pour a little bit on first and see how it falls. If it’s thin, thicken it up. If it will barely move, add more liquid.
  9. Here’s where you get crafty. Now start throwing sugared cranberries at your cake and just see where they land. Or you could get all OCD and make them equidistance around the cake.
  10. Wishing you lots of peace and happiness. xoxo
{ on my mind }

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boozy cranberry coffee cake | Recipe via DisplacedHousewife



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Rebecca xox


  • Uncle Mike December 13, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    You go girl!
    Make mine the Bloody Mary; I’ll make the mix!
    I’m going to have to fast until Xmas.
    See you soon.

    • DisplacedHousewife December 14, 2014 at 12:00 AM

      Thanks Uncle Mike!! I’m doing the opposite of fasting right now!! xoxo