Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Coffee Cake

Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Coffee Cake is made with fresh Orange zest, orange juice, and tangy seasonal fresh cranberries in a delicious moist buttermilk cake batter topped with a sprinkle of sparkling sugar. It’s the perfect Holiday breakfast dish! 

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Several years ago I stumbled upon this amazing recipe on Pinterest. I’m not 100% sure of the exact origin or creator of this recipe, and there are several versions on the internet now… some say the original came from one blogger, some say another, one states that she found the blueberry version of this on an old photocopied piece of paper of her mother’s. Regardless, It has become a favorite seasonal recipe at this Nest!

This delicious moist & tender buttermilk coffee cake recipe is jam packed with fresh tangy cranberries and orange zest. One of my favorite Holiday flavor combinations! 

Slice of Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake

One of the best things about this recipe? Not a fan of cranberries and orange (We’ll get ya tested…sleep easy! It’s gonna be okay! lol) You can switch out the cranberries for blueberries, and the orange zest for lemon! Either is outstanding! For the sake of this post though…and all the photos I’ve taken…I’m gonna stick with the Cranberry Orange version!

Let’s make Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Coffee Cake

One reason I love this breakfast cake is how easy it is to make! It comes together quickly which is perfect for those busy Holiday mornings and family gatherings!

Begin by preheating your oven to 350°. Prepare a 9 x 9 square baking dish by spraying the bottom of the pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Tip: I like to use glass, but you can use a metal baking pan too. Both work equally well. 

In the bowl of your mixer add 1/2 cup softened butter and the zest of one orange.  The smell of orange zest is heavenly and I love my new zester! I’ve attached a link in the recipe card below if you’re looking for one!

zesting one orange into mixing bowl

Cream together until light and fluffy. (I’d like to be lighter…but I also like this cake!)

mixing butter, and orange zest till fluffy

Add 1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 egg. 

Adding sugar and egg to butter mixture

Beat until well combined and fluffy. The mixture should be a light & creamy.

mixture of sugar and eggs with butter

In a small bowl add 2 cups fresh cranberries, or thawed cranberries, with 2 Tablespoons of flour. Toss gently to coat the cranberries. 

TIP: The reason for coating the berries in flour is to help them stick to the cake batter better and prevent them from sinking to the bottom.

tossing cranberries with flour

In a bowl combine 2 Cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar batter. (butter, batter…say that three times fast my friends) alternating with the buttermilk.

At the end I toss in a 1/4 cup of orange juice…just fer fun! Plus we have that naked orange laying around…might as well use it! 

Adding flour and baking soda to butter sugar mixture

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for 1-2 minutes to make sure all the cake batter ingredients are well combined.

Go hunt down those beautiful floured orbs of tartness you set aside earlier! Better known as cranberries! Fold them into the buttermilk batter. 

folding in the cranberries.

Spread the cake batter into the bottom of your prepared 9 x 9 baking dish.

Don’t worry about making it all pretty and smooth on top! This isn’t that type of cake y’all. This is a splendid rustic cranberry cake! Let’s allow it to wallow in it’s charm!

placing cake batter in baking pan

I like to place a few extra fresh cranberries on top of the cake. Press a few here and there. Bakes up so pretty! I’m all about the pretty my friends. 

Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon of sugar…little bit of country “holiday glitter”, as I like to call it,  before baking!

Adding the cranberries to the top of the cake

Bake in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick. I find it generally takes about 45 minutes to bake this coffee cake. Oven temperatures vary so be sure to do the ol’ stick’em check first before pulling it out of the oven.

baked cranberry coffee cake

Cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.  Then just get out of the way of this cake and let it do it’s THANG! 

The lumps and bumps add delicious little nooks and crannies for flavor to hideout in. The cake is ultra moist. It practically melts in your mouth. The tiny sprinkle of sugar on top helps to take the edge off the tartness of the cranberries. The little bits of orange zest blend beautifully with the juicy cranberries. YUM!

cut cake

I make this cake every Thanksgiving and Christmas morning! It literally takes minutes to throw the ingredients together!

TIP: This cake batter can even be made the night before, covered, refrigerated, and baked in the morning. Wait to add the sugar until right before baking! 

This cake ALWAYS receives RAVE reviews! Cranberry lovers are going to fall in love all over again! Non-cranberry lovers are gonna fall in love. It’s THAT good! I know it’ll become a tradition at your Nest too!

Slice of Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Coffee Cake

I hope this Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Coffee Cake makes an appearance on your Holiday menu!

Here are some other Holiday Breakfast Recipes we enjoy!

I’d love to have you follow me on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook where I share all my favorite recipes, new and past, each and every day! 

I’m sharing this wonderful holiday recipe over on my favorite link party, Meal Plan Monday, Click HERE to join the fun!

As always, thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you enjoy this recipe at your Nest!

Happy Nesting!

Norine's Nest Signature

Yield: 9 servings

Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Coffee Cake

Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Coffee Cake

Cranberry Orange Buttermilk Coffee Cake is made with fresh Orange zest, orange juice, and tangy seasonal fresh cranberries in a delicious moist buttermilk batter topped with a sprinkle of sparkling sugar. It's the perfect Holiday breakfast dish! 

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 Cup, plus 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup or orange juice, use juice of zested orange
  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour, plus 2 Tablespoons
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Cups fresh cranberries (or thawed from freezer)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare a 9 x 9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Cream butter and orange zest together. Add sugar, egg and vanilla. Whip until light and fluffy.
  3. Toss fresh or thawed cranberries with 2 Tablespoons of flour. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl mix together flour, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Add orange juice, mix until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and mix for an additional 1-2 minutes making sure all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  6. Fold in prepared cranberries.
  7. Spread batter in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake 35-45 minutes. Check for doneness with toothpick. Cool 15 minute before serving.

Nutrition Information:


9 servings

Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 256 Total Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 48mg Sodium: 476mg Carbohydrates: 35g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 10g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 5g


  1. Julia | 6th Nov 19

    Wow! This looks amazing and has all of the wonderful flavors of the holiday season.

    • | 7th Nov 19

      Hi Julia!
      Thank you my friend. I love this breakfast cake…it’s one of my favorite recipes!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. R.D. | 7th Nov 19

    I have been making this exact recipe for many years. You should link to the original since it is not your original recipe. Here is the link.

    • | 7th Nov 19

      Let me be 100% clear. I did NOT claim this was my original recipe. This is what I wrote in my post…which I’m guessing you did not read. It was in the second paragraph. Let me share what I wrote…Several years ago I stumbled upon this amazing recipe on Pinterest. I’m not 100% sure of the exact origin or creator of this recipe, and there are several versions on the internet now. I’m extremely careful to not take credit for a recipe that is not mine. As you can see…I NEVER claimed this was my recipe. Not once through out the entire recipe did I claim this was my original recipe. I’d like to point out that Alexandra claims that this cake was from another recipe on her site…blueberry lemon cake…and in that post she states, and I quote…”On an old photocopied sheet of paper in my mother’s hand writing, I spotted a note: “Baby Boy’s Favorite.” So obviously this is not her original recipe either. So unless I can find out who wrote the original recipe on that old photocopied piece of paper, and perhaps you know who that is, I’m not really comfortable giving credit to someone for a recipe they didn’t actually create. Thank you though for your input.

  3. Angela | 9th Nov 19

    Can dried cranberries be substituted? Or possibly a combo of dried and fresh? Reason I ask is that I’m concerned about too much tartness….even tho’ I love cranberries.

    • | 10th Nov 19

      Hi Angela!
      I’m sure you could substitute dried cranberries for some of the fresh. I will tell you the fresh cranberries are not overly tart in this recipe. It’s a really great balance of ingredients that compliment each other. I hope this helps you out and please let me know how you like this recipe. It’s truly one of my Holiday favorites.
      Happy Nesting!

  4. Kay Little | 10th Nov 19

    Norine I love this recipe! I am a huge fan of cranberry and orange combo. Oh! And I love recipes that are written on a scrap of paper that is passed around…priceless!

    • | 12th Nov 19

      Hi Sweet Kay!
      Thank you my sweet friend. I love recipes on scraps of paper too. You just know it was one that Grandma loved because she took the time to write it down! You are the BEST my friend. Thank you so much for all your support!

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