I have always loved baking in the mornings, especially in the colder months of the year. There’s just something about heating up the oven on a chilly morning and baking something for breakfast in my PJs.
Since Miss Madison arrived, though, I haven’t been doing as much early morning baking. Morning baking has been replaced with lots of snuggling (and I am certainly not complaining!). When I do find some time to do some AM baking, I have to use my time wisely. I rarely have a lot of free time all at once, so I’m usually looking for a simple recipe that I can put together in just a few minutes. Then, we can go about our morning routine while breakfast is in the oven.
This coffee cake recipe is perfect for busy mornings. It’s adapted from a recipe for “Cinnamon Flop” that was passed down to me from my grandmother. I remember my mom baking it for us on special occasions when I was a kid, and now I can see why. The recipe is quite simple, but it yields a moist and delicious coffee cake studded with a crunchy and sweet cinnamon topping. It was a favorite of mine growing up, and it’s becoming a new favorite all over again!
This time around, I decided to use some eggnog to jazz up the coffee cake just a bit. While I don’t really drink much eggnog, I always pick up a container of it at the grocery store this time of year for baking. The original recipe calls for milk, but I thought that some eggnog would make the cake extra rich and give it a bit of holiday flair. To pair with the creamy eggnog, I also added some chopped cranberries to the recipe. Not only do they add another layer of flavor, they also add some pretty color to the cake.
Even though this coffee cake is simple enough to make on a weekday morning, I think you’ll find that it’s perfect for entertaining, as well. It’s a great option for a Christmas brunch, as well as a nice sweet snack to enjoy with coffee or tea. Your holiday guests will be impressed, and you don’t have to tell them how easy it is to make. It’ll be our little secret.
Cranberry Coffee Cake
Makes one 9-inch cake, about 8 servings
For the cake:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup eggnog
- 1 cup chopped fresh cranberries
For the topping:
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch cake pan and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. (You can use a mixer, but I usually opt to just use a fork and mix by hand. That’s the way I remember my mom making it, and you really don’t need the mixer for this recipe.)
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture and eggnog alternately to the creamed mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Be careful not to over mix the batter, stirring just enough to incorporate the dry ingredients. Fold in the cranberries. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
For the topping, stir together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Spread the mixture over the batter in the cake pan. Use your fingers to press the topping down into the batter and then sprinkle the top with the small pieces of butter.
Bake the cake for until the top springs back when touched lightly, approximately 40 – 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before serving.