Yield: 9″ cranberry almond crumb cake // Total Time: 1 hr. 20 min. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links. // Recipe updated 11/19/23
Light, orange vanilla butter cake topped with a homemade cranberry orange jam and almond streusel.
cranberry almond crumb cake
The perfect winter crumb cake is here. It starts with a light, vanilla butter cake (the same you see in my chai apple crumb cake), but this time, it’s also flavored with orange zest. Then, it’s topped with a homemade cranberry orange jam which is slightly tart, slightly sweet. That’s all topped off with an almond brown sugar streusel, and of course, an orange glaze. The best part though? Those GORGEOUS layers!
weigh your ingredients
Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. Not weighing your ingredients can lead to adding too much or too little of an ingredient which can lead to the recipe not turning out properly. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend purchasing a kitchen scale. This one is super cheap and worked well for me when I was starting out!
get more flavor out of your zest
Because we often can’t put a lot of citrus juice directly into our bakes because it will throw off the texture, we need a way to maximize that citrus flavor. A little trick you can do is to rub the zest with the sugar, which will release oils from the zest into the sugar, and therefore, will release more flavor into the batter. We’ll do this with the cranberry jam and with the butter cake!
line your pan tall with parchment paper!
This cake is not one that you want to flip upside down to get it out of the pan. Butter your pan, and get out a sheet of parchment paper. Crinkle up the parchment paper, then un-crinkle it and place it in your buttered pan, pressing the parchment up the sides of the pan. This will give you a way to lift the cake out of the pan (plus I happen to enjoy the little crinkles it puts in the sides – it’s a little rustic almost!)
mix the batter carefully
It is super important to not overmix the cake batter or you end up with a tough and chewy cake rather than a light and moist cake. When alternating between adding the wet and dry ingredients, be sure to only mix just until the ingredient is fully combined and no more.
room temperature ingredients
It is important for the ingredients to be at room temperature so that they properly incorporate with each other. If you have ever had your batter look curdled, it is most likely due to the ingredients separating from being at different temperatures. Take out the egg and buttermilk at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hr 30 min. before starting the recipe OR follow these methods for room temperature ingredients FAST:
- Fast room temperature eggs. Place the egg in a bowl in the sink and continuously run hot water over it for one minute. And there you go – one room temperature egg! Alternatively (and less waste-fully) fill a bowl with warm water and let the egg sit in it for 5 minutes.
- Fast room temperature buttermilk. Microwave the buttermilk in 5 second intervals until it is no longer cold (but not hot!). And there you go – fast and easy room temperature buttermilk!
- Fast room temperature butter. Slice the butter into 1 tbsp. slices and place them flat on a plate. Microwave in 5 second intervals, until you can easily push into the butter.
keep an eye on the cake while it bakes
Baked goods love to go from underbaked to overbaked in what seems like a split second. Start checking at the cake with a toothpick around 40 minutes. The cake is done when only a few moist crumbs stick to the toothpick.
ingredients and substitutions
For the cranberry jam:
Cranberries: the star of the show! I used fresh but you can easily substitute in frozen.
Granulated sugar: for sweetening the cranberries. I recommend tasting the jam and adjusting the sugar as needed, not all cranberries are the same level of sweet!
Orange: we’ll use some orange zest and orange juice here for flavor.
Cornstarch: to thicken up the jam.
For the streusel:
Unsalted butter: the base of the streusel, really what makes it buttery and delicious. You can use salted butter here as well!
Light brown sugar: sweetens and adds flavor to the streusel. In a pinch granulated sugar will work here as well.
Orange zest: for flavor.
All purpose flour: adds structure to the streusel.
Sliced almonds: for texture and flavor.
For the butter cake:
All purpose flour: the structure of the cake. I would not recommend using cake flour as the cake is already super fluffy and tender using the all purpose.
Baking powder: for helping the cake rise.
Salt: for balancing and bringing out the sweetness of the cake.
Unsalted butter: for tenderizing the cake and giving it that classic buttery taste. You can substitute in salted butter, just omit the extra salt from the recipe.
Granulated sugar: for sweetening the cake and keeping it moist. The sugar also helps aerate the butter to give this cake it’s rise and keep it light and fluffy.
Orange zest: for flavor.
Eggs: for moisture, structure, and binding the batter together.
Vanilla: for flavor.
Buttermilk: for tenderizing the cake and adding moisture. I highly recommend using buttermilk but I know it can be hard or annoying to purchase, especially if you don’t plan on using it for anything else. It won’t be completely the same, but you can make a homemade buttermilk substitute. For this recipe, I would combine 45g of sour cream with 105g milk for a substitute.
For the orange glaze:
Powdered sugar: the base of the glaze.
Orange juice: from a fresh orange. You could of course use pre-made orange juice, but you do need zest for the cake and jam.
how to make cranberry almond crumb cake
Below are some photos of the process of making this cranberry almond crumb cake. You can find the full recipe at the end of this blog post!
- Cook the cranberry jam, then set it aside.
- Combine all of your streusel ingredients, then set them aside.
- Rub together the sugar and orange zest to bring out the essential oils in the zest. Then, beat in the butter until it’s light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
- Alternate mixing in the dry ingredients and buttermilk.
- Spread the cake into an even layer in a lined 9″ cake pan.
- Top the cake with an even layer of the cranberry jam.
- Top the jam with the streusel and more sliced almonds. Bake, top with the orange glaze, serve, and enjoy!
cranberry almond crumb cake q&a
what size cake pan do I need?
You’ll need a 9″ cake pan for this cake. You could also use a 9″ square pan. A 10″ cake pan would work as well, just note that it may take a few less minutes to bake. I do not recommend trying to bake this in a 8″ cake or square pan, as the batter will probably overflow from the pan while baking. Please note that the times I list for baking include using an oven thermometer to make sure my oven is at the correct temperature, and using a metal baking pan. I recommend against using glass pans, but if it’s all you have, please note that the bake time will be longer.
can I double this recipe?
Definitely! Simply double all of the ingredients in this crumb cake then split evenly between two 9″ cake pans.
how to store cranberry almond crumb cake
Like most baked goods, this cake will taste best served on the day it is baked. However, it can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
why do you measure in grams?
My recipes are all written in grams because it is the most accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements and therefore can not guarantee your recipe will come out how mine did. Here is my favorite kitchen scale.
a note on oven temperature
Ovens vary and fluctuate in temperature and aren’t always at the temperature they claim to be. If you love to bake like I do, I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer. They are super helpful for letting you know when your oven might be lying to you! I use this one.
tools and ingredients
You can find all my favorite tools and ingredients that I use on my Amazon Storefront page, here!
did you make this cranberry almond crumb cake?
If you made this cranberry almond crumb cake I would love to see it and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!
Cranberry Almond Crumb Cake
- 125 g granulated sugar (½ c. + 2 tbsp.)
- zest of ½ orange
- 280 g cranberries (~3 c.)
- 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice divided
- 1 tbsp. corn starch
- 70 g unsalted butter (¼ c. + 1 tbsp.)
- 90 g light brown sugar (¼ c. + 3 tbsp.)
- zest of ½ orange
- 120 g all purpose flour (1 c.)
- 60 g sliced almonds (⅔ c.) divided
- 190 g all purpose flour (1 ½ c. + 1 tbsp.)
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 170 g granulated sugar (¾ c. + 2 tbsp.)
- zest of 1 orange
- 125 g unsalted butter room temperature (½ c. + 1 tbsp.)
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 150 g buttermilk room temperature (⅔ c.)
- 60 g powdered sugar (½ c.)
- 1-2 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Generously butter a 9" cake pan. Crumple up some parchment paper, then un-crumple it and place it into the buttered cake pan, making sure it sticks to the bottom and sides. Set aside.
- Add the sugar and orange zest to a medium sized saucepan. Rub the zest into the sugar, then add in the cranberries and 1 tbsp. orange juice.
- Set the mixture over medium heat, stirring ocassionally until most of the cranberries have softened and popped open.
- At this point, taste some of the cranberry jam to see how sweet it is. If it's way too tart, add in another 1-3 tbsp. of granulated sugar, depending on how sweet you'd like it to be.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and 1 tbsp. orange juice, then mix it into the jam, stirring until it thickens. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl, melt the butter. Add in the brown sugar, orange zest, flour, and 30g (⅓ c.) of sliced almonds. Use a fork to mix the ingredients together until you have formed clumps of dough. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Add the sugar and orange zest to a medium sized mixing bowl. Use your hands to rub the orange zest into the sugar until the sugar is fully coated and slightly orange.
- Add in the butter, and beat for 3-4 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in both eggs and the vanilla, then beat until well combined (~1 min.)
- Add in half of the flour mixture, and mix by hand just until the flour is incorporated. Add in all of the buttermilk and mix until combined. Add in the rest of the flour, and lightly fold the mixture together just until all of the flour is incorporated.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth out the top. Gently spread the cranberry jam into an even layer over the cake batter. Top with the streusel, followed by the remaining 30g (⅓ c.) of sliced almonds
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs. Let the cake cool in the pan until it's no longer too hot to touch, then use the parchment to lift the cake out of the pan.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and orange juice. Add more juice for a thinner glaze if desired.
- Once the cake has cooled to room temperature, drizzle the glaze over the top. Serve and enjoy!