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.