Are you guys settled into the new year? Recovered from the holidays yet? I always find it can take a little time to get back into the swing of things after all the cookie craziness during the holidays, so I wanted to make the transition back into reality a little easier with cake! Cake always helps, and this cranberry orange crumb cake has got it all going on. It's full of bright flavors, easy to make and topped with an epic amount of crumb. And I can't even handle that glaze!
I always try to make sure that the first recipe I roll out in January is one that is vibrant, comforting and one that will become a staple in your house! I feel like it kind of sets the tone for the year and this crumb cake definitely meets all the standards.
The cake itself is incredibly tender and the big secret to what makes it so good is the addition of creme fraiche. You can use sour cream in place of it, but the creme fraiche really makes it luscious and that's what I had on hand!
I added a good dose of fresh cranberries to the batter, which lend a fresh burst of flavor to the cake, cutting the sweetness beautifully. A little orange zest in the batter goes a long way in the flavor department, and plays so well with the cranberries. I used a regular orange, but once blood oranges are in season, that's totally the way to go!
I'm all about the crumb topping and there's a sweet amount of it parked right on top. My tip for the topping is to make it first and then set it aside while you mix the cake batter. It's important that the dry ingredients have time to absorb the butter before we park it on top of the cake batter.
The crumb cake is great with a simple dusting of powdered sugar, but I decided to take it up a notch with a Grand Marnier glaze. I feel like the glaze dresses it up a bit and it's also an opportunity to add another pop of flavor. The orange liqueur enhances the orange zest in both the cake and glaze, and complements the cranberries beautifully.
I think it looks really festive too!
I should probably warn you that this is one of those cakes where you cut a little slice and a few minutes later find yourself back at the counter cutting another little slice...
As you start to cut into it, you'll notice that some of the crumb topping sinks into the cake a bit, creating these pockets of brown sugar, crunchy goodness that take the classic bake over the top.
Cranberry Orange Crumb Cake
- 1 cup AP flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3.5 ounces (7 Tablespoons) unsalted butter-melted
- 5 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- zest of 1 orange
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract
- 8 ounces creme fraiche OR sour cream
- 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1&1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tbsp. orange liqueur
- Zest of 1 orange
- In a medium size bowl, mix together flour, sugar, dark brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
- Add melted butter and mix together so crumbs form. Set aside.
Cranberry Orange Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8" pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a medium size bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and orange zest until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add eggs and vanilla extract, mixing until combined.
- Add dry ingredients alternating with sour cream in three additions, starting and ending with the dries.
- Stir in cranberries.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and top with crumb topping.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes, rotating once halfway through. Cake is done when top is set and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, orange liqueur and orange zest.
- Drizzle over completely cooled cake.
- For glaze: If you find it too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it's a little too thick to drizzle, add an additional teaspoon of liqueur.
- You can replace the orange liqueur with fresh orange juice for the glaze.
- Store cake at room temperature wrapped well in plastic wrap. Cake is good for 4-5 days.