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Cranberry Coffee Cake

I love coffee cake and I don’t discriminate. What I love most about coffee cake is how many different variations there are, from fruity, to crumbly, the combinations are limitless. I enjoy making coffee cakes that align with the season, as is the case here with this lovely vanilla cranberry coffee cake. Simple, flavorful, festive, and bursting with cranberry flavor.

cranberry coffee cake

Love them or hate them, no one knows for sure how or why cranberries became such an essential part of the Thanksgiving meal, but we do know they were popular among Native Americans and the Native Americans were the ones who first introduced cranberries to the pilgrims all those many years ago.cranberry coffee cake

Interestingly, Native Americans used cranberries in various dishes they made, but they also used them in other ways, such as to dye clothing, rugs, and blankets. They also used cranberries as a medicine to treat common indigestion.

cranberry coffee cake

Where Do Cranberries Come From?

Cranberries are one of the few fruits native to North America. Many people mistakenly believe that cranberries grow in water. Not true. Cranberries grow on bushes and long vines in sandy marshes called bogs“. Bogs are one of North America’s most distinctive types of wetlands, an unusual ecosystem characterized by alternating layers of sand, peat, gravel, and clay.

When cranberries are ripe (usually in the fall when they turn a deep red color), farmers flood the bogs and the ripe cranberries float to the surface allowing harvesting machines to remove the berries from the vines easily. The floating cranberries can then be gathered in one area to be removed for processing.

Cranberries are a sought-after crop because they’re versatile and packed with nutrients and antioxidants. To meet the global demand, farmers must take extensive measures to keep their cranberry bogs in pristine condition to keep their crops strong. When done correctly, vines can last indefinitely.

cranberry coffee cake

Coffee Cake Fun Facts

Because I love coffee cake and history so much, I had to include some coffee cake fun facts.
  • Coffee cake was not invented, it evolved from different types of cakes which have been around since biblical times.
  • Historically, there are references/traces of coffee cake that can be traced back to the 17th century.
  • In Europe, it became customary to enjoy a delicious sweet, yeast bread when drinking coffee.
  • German and Scandinavian immigrants are believed to have brought coffee cake to America.
  • Pasteurization in America following World War I is what led to the creation of sour cream-based coffee cakes.
  • The hole in the center of many coffee cakes is due to the 1950s innovation of the “bundt pan” which allowed heavier batters to get cooked evenly all the way through.

cranberry coffee cake

So if you’re a coffee cake lover like me, looking for something seasonal, or just looking for something tasty to make and nibble on in advance of the much anticipated Thanksgiving meal, this lovely cranberry coffee cake is sure to please just about everyone.

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

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