Cranberry Coffee Cake Muffins

Coffee cake has been one of my favorites ever since I was a kid. It was always a great treat. And, I loved the fact that my mom would make a cake, something typically reserved for dessert only, and serve it for breakfast!

Even though I’ve had a copy of my grandmother’s cinnamon flop coffee cake for years (the one that my mom always made), I never actually made it for myself. It always seemed like a simple recipe (and it is!), and I always opted for more complicated or sophisticated recipes.

But, today, I am here to tell you that I was wrong.  While the coffee cake recipe is quite simple, I think it’s much better than many of the other recipes I’ve made over the years.  It yields a moist and rich cake with a tender crumb…. And, you can’t beat the slightly crunchy cinnamon topping.

So, last week, I decided to play around with the recipe a bit… Not too much, just a bit.  I needed to make some muffins to take to the cafe at our church, but I couldn’t get coffee cake out of my head. So, I just combined the two ideas.  I had some cranberries in the freezer (I stockpile them every year when they first appear at the grocery store!), so I decided to add them to the coffee cake muffins for a bit of extra tang.

While coffee cake muffins on their own would have been fantastic, I was really pleased with the way my cranberry versions turned out. As far as I could tell, they were a big hit at the church, too.  And, I can tell you this… I’ll be making this coffee cake (in muffin form and in cake form) a lot more often!

Cranberry Coffee Cake Muffins
Makes 24 muffins

For the batter:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 12 ounces cranberries, roughly chopped

For the topping:

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper muffin cups, and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until the egg is completely incorporated.  Add in the orange zest, vanilla extract, and almond extract and beat to incorporate.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set the mixer to the lowest setting, and alternately add in the dry mixture and the buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.  Fold in the cranberries.

Scoop 1/4 cups of the batter into each cup of the prepared muffin pans.

To prepare the topping, combine the cold butter, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small food processor and blend until the mixture is the consistency of wet sand. (You could also use a fork or a pastry blender to combine the butter with the dry ingredients… But, the food processor method is much quicker!)  Divide the topping among the muffins, sprinkling about 1 rounded tablespoon onto each muffin.

Bake the muffins for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

18 Responses to Cranberry Coffee Cake Muffins

  1. They look delicious! Just wondering though, if I really have to haul out both the processor and stand mixer, or if both components can be done in one? If so, which would be better?

    • Hi, Bev – You could honestly do the whole thing by hand if you wanted to. I would probably opt to make the batter in the stand mixer and just mix the topping by hand (i.e. with a fork). You could try to do the topping in your stand mixer (in a clean bowl), but I think it’s overkill and might not be a large enough batch to really mix well. I used my mini chopper that I keep handy in my kitchen, but doing it by hand would be simple enough!

  2. These were fabulous! Great texture, loved the streusel topping. Had many requests for the recipe which I’m happy to pass on. Thanks for sharing!

  3. These remind me of my mother’s coffee cake. I loved hers and how the house smelled while it was baking. Adding the cranberries was a great touch. They look irresistible!

  4. These sound sooo good right now Jen! I love the thick layer of streusel on top, and I happen to have some cranberries in the freezer that would be happy to end up in muffins!

  5. Hi Jen,
    The muffins look so scrumptious. I can’t wait to whip up a batch. I was wondering, how did you make the paper cups for the muffins? It looks fancy and different from the standard paper cups you buy in the store. Could you show me how you made them or if bought, where did you buy them? Thanks!

    • Hi, Janis – It is possibly to fold parchment paper into the tulip shaped muffin cups, but I’ve never had much success with it (which is probably just a reflection on my poor craft skills). So, I bought the cups. You can find them at specialty baking shops, but I bought them at Simply Caked. Hope that helps!

  6. These are so delicious! I made them for a Thanksgiving morning treat and will be making them again this weekend for all the holiday festivities.