Joy the Baker

Cranberry Orange & Pecan Coffee Cake

December 4, 2012

cranberry orange coffee cake

This weekend I found myself in one of those expensive clothing boutiques that I really… really had no business being in.  You know those stores: random things cost three hundred dollars and you have no idea why.  Yea…

I realized something crazy ridiculous while browsing around.  The only sizes displayed on the racks were sizes 0, 2, and 4.  I ran across the occasional size 6 but those were like seeing a unicorn in a coffee shop.

Um…. this business practice does not at all agree with my thighs.  Putting me through the discomfort of asking the XS sales girl for a larger-than-size-six-size is just not really that cool.  It doesn’t inspire me to spend hundred of dollars to treat myself to clothes I don’t really need.

It’s like… Ok, fancy boutique, I see the ways in which you glorify size tiny while simultaneously work to undermine my confidence… but I happen to be happy with this body that I inhabit and I would hope that you would respect that, and reflect my needs among your offensively expensive offerings.  No?  You need to ‘go see if there’s a larger size from the back’?  Wwwwhhhyyyy must we suffer through this exchange?  It doesn’t have to be like this… you know that, right!? Fine.  Whatever.  I’m going to Zara.

I’m outraged and appalled (ok… i’m totally being dramatic) and I would like for you to pass the cake.  Not because I’m eating my feelings, but because I actually eat cake and I’m totally ok with that.

cranberry orange coffee cake

First things first:  if you’re going to make one loaf of this coffee cake, you dang-sure might as well make two loaves.  They freeze and gift very well.

Done and done.  Good!

Now bust out that flour.  We’re going to need four cups.

cranberry orange coffee cake

This recipe doesn’t require a stand mixer or hand beaters.  Hallelujah!

In fact, this coffee cake is a bit quirky in that the butter is broken up into the dry ingredients like we’re making biscuit or pie dough.  Fingers work together the butter and flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal.  It’s just as easy as that!

cranberry orange coffee cake

We’re zesting orange peels and juicing oranges for fresh orange juice.

There are few things I love more than bright citrus on cloudy winter days.

cranberry orange coffee cake

One of the things I love about this cake is the unapologetic use of orange juice.  No buttermilk.  No cream.  Orange juice all the way.  Fresh (as always) preferred.

cranberry orange coffee cake

The architecture of baking.  Well greased and floured.

cranberry orange coffee cake

It is with great anticipation that I admire the ruby red cranberry studs.

cranberry orange coffee cake

Because enough is rarely ever enough, pecan streusel is sprinkled over the coffee cake just before baking.

cranberry orange coffee cake

Tenderly tart and crunchy sweet.  How do you like those for adjectives?

cranberry orange coffee cake

This is one of my absolute favorite winter quick breads.  Every holiday season my mom manages to knock my dad off of his pie-making high-horse (with love and respect) to make this cranberry bread.  It’s scented with orange and toasted pecans.  The tart cranberries bake up soft and sweet.  The crumb topping is an addition I’m trying to make a tradition… everyone knows that crumb topping makes everything better.

Note:  You can make this recipe dairy-free by substituting vegetable shortening in place of butter!  Win!

Put on the coffee.  Ooooh it is time.

Cranberry Orange & Pecan Coffee Cake

makes two 9×5-inch loaves

Print this Recipe!

For the Cake:

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cup granulated sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into medium chunks

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoon orange zest

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cranberries

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

For the Topping:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.  Line loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on each side.  Grease the parchment paper and dust with flour on all sides.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add chunks of butter and work the butter into the flour with your fingers.  Try to blend the butter into each bit of the dry ingredients.  The mixture will resemble a coarse meal.

In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract.

Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir together to incorporate.  Add the cranberries and pecans and fold into the batter.

To make the topping combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly.

Divide the batter between the two loaf pans.  Sprinkle each loaf with topping.  Place in the oven and allow to bake until the cake is golden brown and the center is cooked through.  Insert a skewer into the center of the cake to ensure that it’s cooked through, about 50 to 60 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Use the parchment paper to life the loaves from the pan and allow to cool further on a wire rack.

For the glaze I whisked together 1 cup of powdered sugar and just over a tablespoon of milk.  I drizzled it over the cooled coffee cake.

Cake can be stored, well wrapped at room temperature, for up to 5 days.  


242 Comments Add A Comment

  • Love this recipe. I’m going to give it a go for sure.

    Best wishes from a size 10 girl living in a size zero world across the pond.

    Kate
    x

  • Yes, it has been a while that I fit into a 0, 2 or 4 sizes and where do they come up with these sizes? I always thought that someone should come up with a boutique called thirty something like the show then follow with a forty something shop. O.K. how you know I am passed that age. But when I shop the racks are filled with cute little girlie clothes for the age of sixteen or for the age of the elderly. I am in between so on that note please pass the coffee cake. That should stop my rambling. Like the recipe. Paulette

  • I found myself in one of those fancy schmancy tiny lady stores too…i don’t know how I ended up there but I did and lets just say im nowhere near a size 4. I however did not have your confidence to leave without buying something…i was so embarrassed by the whole experience I bought stupid scarf that I’ve only worn like twice in the years I’ve had it just to prove to the tiny sales girl I could find something ..im a sad sad case. Pass the loaf please!

  • I know what everyone on my list is getting this Christmas. What a gorgeous looking cake. I think I’d struggle to give it away though!

  • I don’t know which part of this post I love more- the shopping part or the baking part! For the first:: I am living in Paris right now, which is totally awesome except for the shopping part. The boutiques hang just a few clothes out on the racks, in Barbie sizes, and then you pull one out and they give you the once-over to see what (enormous) size they need to bring from the back. So humiliating.
    For the second: This cake sounds perfect. When I get back to the land of cranberries and pecans, I am whipping this puppy out. Hooray!

  • This is what I call a serious and solid coffee cake. It has everything one wants about it.
    It’s definitely going in my next to-do list

  • Cranberries and oranges, perfect flavors. And it’s nice to know this is one of your fave quick breads. I can see why! I love the crumb topping and drizzle of glaze, too :)

  • What a gorgeous loaf! Cranberries and fresh orange juice sound simply irresistible! I thought it contained coffee too but I assume a coffee loaf is for consuming with a good cup of the dark stuff much like a teacake is generally for serving with tea? :)

  • Wow, looks so delicious and very pretty & festive too!!

  • Oh, how I hate those boutiques. At my smallest (when people were concerned that I might be anorexic) I was an 8, and I was down from a 50 lb loss. So deflating to go to a shop and realize you still can’t fit into anything because you are tall and have womanly features. I definitely couldn’t have eaten this delicious looking cake trying to maintain a size 8. And life is to short to forgo coffee cake.

  • Good for you – what’s with those places that set everyone that enters them up for totally false expectations about what size they should wear? I’ll take a slice of this cake and Zara any day over a $300 shirt!

  • cranberry and orange! delicious combo. And why are you not 5000 lbs?!

  • It looks like it would go perfectly with big foamy cappuccino. And psssh to the boutiques with only sizes 0-4. Don’t they know that beautiful and fit women can come in all sizes!? Whatever!

  • 2 things: Why is the parchment folded under the bread? And two, does this work with dried cranberries?

  • cranberry + orange is my favorite. add pecans plus that topping and i’m in coffee cake heaven!

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