Bring the bright flavors and colors of the holidays to your morning table with this “good-to-the-last-crumb” coffee cake. Flavored with cranberries, toasted pecans, and a hint of cinnamon, this coffee cake is also a good choice when hosting a brunch, served alongside a hot breakfast casserole,  or a late afternoon snack enjoyed with a cup of coffee. Even when baked up to two days in advance, this cake will stay tender; just store in an air-tight container on your countertop. This recipe, like many other coffee cake recipes, can be easily doubled. Make one cake for your family and give the other as a gift or take it to your office holiday potluck party. If you have leftover coffee cake, cut it into individual pieces, wrap securely in plastic wrap, then again in aluminum foil, then freeze. Just pop a piece of cake in the microwave whenever you need a quick treat.

Emily Nabors Hall


Credit: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe Summary test

25 mins
1 hr 15 mins
1 hr 10 mins
Serves 12


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Stir together pecans, cinnamon, 3/4 cup of the flour, 3/4 cup of the brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a bowl. Stir in melted butter. Freeze until hardened, about 20 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch tube pan with shortening; dust pan with flour. Pulse cranberries and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar in a food processor until finely chopped, 6 to 8 times. Transfer to a bowl; chill until ready to use.

  • Beat softened butter, remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, and remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Add eggs and yolk 1 at a time, beating well on low speed after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

  • Stir together baking powder, baking soda, remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Add flour mixture to softened butter mixture alternately with sour cream in 3 additions (beginning and ending with flour mixture), beating on low speed until just combined after each addition.

  • Stir 3/4 cup of the batter into chilled cranberry mixture. Spoon half of the remaining plain batter into prepared pan. Spoon cranberry-batter mixture over, smoothing into an even layer. Top with remaining plain batter. Crumble frozen pecan-cinnamon mixture into chunks. Sprinkle evenly over cake. 

  • Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes, tenting with aluminum foil after 35 minutes, if needed, to prevent excessive browning. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on rack, 1 hour.