Vanilla Bean Cranberry Coffeecake

Vanilla beans possess a miraculous power to transform quite ordinary things into something different, something more interesting and exciting. This is one of the examples – very simple yet delicious coffeecake; perfect solution when you need a quick-fix dessert with a guaranteed result.

The recipe is adapted from the December issue of the “Gourmet”.

Makes one 9-inch round cake, about 12 servings


  • cups sugar, divided (do not decrease this amount, the sugar will be divided between the cake batter, filling, and the topping)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups (6 oz) fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (4 oz) softened unsalted butter plus 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting


Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 375F. Generously butter a 9- inch springform pan and dust with flour. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper and butter the parchment. Set aside.

Place the sugar into the bowl of the food processor. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the food processor bowl with a tip of a paring knife (reserve the pod for another use, if desired). Add the sugar and pulse to combine. Transfer 1 cup of the vanilla sugar into a small bowl or leave it in the measuring cup (this portion will go to the cake batter). Transfer ¼ cup of the sugar into another small bowl (this sugar will be used in the crumbly topping).

To the sugar (½ cup) remaining in the food processor add the cranberries and pulse until finely chopped (do not purée).

Blend ¼ cup of the vanilla sugar in the small bowl with the remaining tablespoon each of the cold butter, and flour using your fingertips until the crumbs form. Refrigerate.

Whisk together 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of the stand mixer or in a large bowl using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the 1 stick of butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup of the vanilla sugar beating on medium-high speed until well combined, pale in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the flour mixture and the milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with the flour, until just combined.

Spread a little bit more than a half of the batter in the prepared pan, then spoon the cranberries over it, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Top with the remaining batter (place the batter in dollops over the filling, starting near the edge to prevent the filling from the contact with the pan sides), then gently smooth the top. Crumble the refrigerated topping over the top of the cake. Place the pan onto a baking sheet and slide into the oven.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted into the cake (not into the cranberry filling) comes out clean and the side begins to pull away from the pan, about 45 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then unmold and cool completely on the rack.

The coffeecake can be made 1 day ahead and kept, tightly wrapped, at room temperature.

Dust with the confectioner’ sugar before serving, if you wish.

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27 Responses to “Vanilla Bean Cranberry Coffeecake”

  1. Looks simple, yet so elegant, and am in total agreement about the transformative powers of vanilla :)

  2. I think anything made with Vanilla Bean is delicious. I’m looking at your cake and I could not resist. Would be nice to be neighbors.

  3. This cake must be really yummy…

  4. A delightful cake! I love the filling!



  5. wow this looks so so nice and the cranberries look so nice .

  6. this is a lovely looking cake! it’s actually more than cake – it’s heaven!

  7. Beautiful cake. I love the res you see in thelayer.
    If i still see fresh cranberries in the shop i am gonna make them.

  8. Yes, vanilla does wonders! A really pretty cake! Love the layers.

  9. Vera, what a delicious treat. I absolutely love vanilla beans and they liven up any dessert, don’t they?

  10. I so want a slice of that right now! It looks just delicious!

  11. the contrasting colors are gorgeous, and the crumb on your cake looks amazing. this one’s a winner (not unlike ALL your other recipes…)! :)

  12. Oh, my… However am I supposed to keep to my lofty diet ambitions when you post the recipes for confections such as these?!?


    And thanks for your kind words on my post the other day regarding my work. :-)

  13. Mmm, that coffee cake looks scrumptious! It’s making my bowl of cereal look quite unappetizing this morning.

  14. Me me me…me wants a slice too. It’s yum & it’s singing to me Vera. *SIGH* no sign of any berries in our country!!

  15. This really looks delicious.

  16. That looks gorgeous — I love the idea of a cranberry-vanilla combo. Delicious!

  17. Gorgeous cake!! I agree with you on the vanilla beans part. It makes everything tastes better!!

  18. Beautiful!!! I have this recipe marked in “Gourmet”…it sounds SO good. I can’t wait to try it.

  19. What an elegant and beautiful coffee cake, great flavor combination. I would love a slice of this with my coffee tomorrow morning…

  20. Looks delicious, Vera. I love the tartness of cranberries. Will have to bookmark this recipe for sure!


  21. Y, thank you very much!

    Helene, thank you! It sure would be nice :)

    Selba, thank you! Yes, the cake was good :)

    Rosa, thank you!

    Meeta, thank you very much!

    Happy Cook, thank you! Frozen cranberries work as well here.

    Pigpigscorner, it sure does :) Thank you!

    Patricia, thank you! Vanilla beans certainly do that.

    Gretchen, I’d be so glad to share it with you :) Thank you!

    Grace, thank you very much!

    Kate, thank you for such lovely complement :)

    Elyse, thank you very much!

    Deeba, thank you! I’m so sorry about the berry-absence… Rehydrated dry cranberries will also work (soak them with the leftover bean pod).

    Eileen, thank you!

    CookiePie, thanks a lot!

    Christy, Celeste, Lisa, Hanaa, thank you very much!

  22. Looks simple and delicious : everything I like !

  23. Delightful looking cake, the colour is gorgeous.

  24. That looks very delicious Vera!

  25. Vera your things are always so gorgeous! And even when I’m not hungry – your blog makes me. Haha!

    Happy New Year to you!

  26. Love that perfect layer of filling in the middle. Coffee cakes are so fun to make and eat.

  27. Gosh, I have just found your blog, and I have spent ages going through all your posts, everything looks so delicious, and there are recipes so I can try too! I am so glad I found Baking Obsession :)

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