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cranberry pecan crumb cake in red baking dish

Cranberry Pecan Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: serves 10
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


This cranberry pecan cake is tender and buttery with a brown sugar cinnamon pecan crumble blanketing each bite. Fitting for breakfast, brunch, snack, or dessert. See recipe notes about best baking pans.



  • 1 and 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp; 113gunsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk or orange juice, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (250g) fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw)
  • 2/3 cup (90g) roughly chopped pecans

Crumb Topping

  • 1/3 cup (67g) packed dark or light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (63g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 Tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 2/3 cup (90g) roughly chopped pecans

Icing (Optional)

  • 3/4 cup (90g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons (22ml) milk, heavy cream, or orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (skip if using orange juice)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a 2-quart baking dish. (See note below for recommendations on best pans to use.)
  2. Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  3. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until creamy and combined, about 2 minutes. On medium speed, add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and sour cream. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula and beat again as needed to combine. (Mixture may appear curdled—that’s ok.) With the mixer on low speed, pour in the dry ingredients and milk/orange juice and beat until smooth and combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be thick. Fold in the cranberries and pecans. Spread into prepared pan. Set aside.
  4. Make the crumb topping: Combine the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or a fork (or even with your hands) until the mixture is crumbly. Mix in the pecans. Sprinkle evenly over batter.
  5. Bake for 40-55 minutes. Baking times vary greatly depending on the pan you’re using. A thick ceramic pan (as pictured) will take longer than a metal springform pan. Keep an eye on yours. The cake is done when the edges are browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you find the top of the cake is browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire cooling rack to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Make the icing: As the cake slightly cools, you can make the icing by whisking the icing ingredients together until smooth. Add more milk/cream/orange juice to thin out if needed. Drizzle icing over cake while it’s still warm. Slice and serve.
  8. Cover and store leftover cake at room temperature for up to 1 day or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


  1. Freezing Instructions: Bake the cake as directed, cool completely, and then freeze for up to 3 months (with or without the icing). Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature to serve or you can slightly warm by baking at 300°F (149°C) for 15 minutes. Drizzle icing on cake, if it’s plain, before serving.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): 2-quart Baking Dish (see note below for more options) | Glass Mixing Bowls | Whisk | Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Silicone Spatula | Pastry Blender | Cooling Rack 
  3. Baking Pan to Use (affiliate links): Use a baking dish that holds 2 quarts, such as a 9-inch square baking dish, 9-inch springform pan, 10-inch springform pan, or an 11×7-inch pan. I do not recommend a 9-inch regular round cake pan because there is so much batter and even though it will fit, the batter will rise quite high and won’t bake evenly. The pictured red ruffled baking dish is by the brand Emile Henry and comes in a set with others.
  4. Sour Cream: If you don’t have sour cream, you can use plain regular or Greek yogurt instead. I don’t suggest subbing the sour cream with a liquid.
  5. Cranberries: If using dried instead of fresh or frozen, reduce down to 1 cup (140g) dried cranberries.
  6. Optional Icing: The icing is optional. Feel free to skip it completely and leave the cake plain. Or you can dust the warm cake with confectioners’ sugar using a fine mesh sieve.

Keywords: cranberry pecan cake