Pecan Coffee Cake with a Cranberry Pecan Topping


Having this cake at our Christmas brunch this year was a way of honouring my Dad, who passed away ten years ago, and keeping his memory close. “Oh,” said one of my daughters in delight when she saw it, “That’s Petje’s cake!”

In one of my earliest posts, I wrote about the Cinnamon Loaf Coffee Cake that I used to make when Dad was coming over. It was always one of his favourites. Lately I’ve been adapting that recipe to come up with a variety of different coffee cakes.

For Christmas, I used sour cream to enrich the cake, and baked it in a bundt pan with a sweet pecan filling and a cranberry and pecan topping.

No matter how much I play with the recipe, one thing remains constant: coffee cake reminds us all of Dad.

Pecan Coffee Cake With a Cranberry Pecan Topping ⎮ © Life Through the Kitchen

Pecan Coffee Cake with Cranberries

Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. Generously butter a bundt pan (I don’t flour it in case it changes the appearance of the topping – I guess I should check that out some time).


  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup fresh cranberries, picked over and rinsed


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream (I use 14% fat)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp baking powder


  • approximately 18 pecan halves
  • 1 tbsp turbinado sugar (or cane or brown sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

First, prepare the topping. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup together in a small saucepan. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the cinnamon, pecans and cranberries. Evenly pour the mixture around the bottom of the bundt pan.

Next, stir together the turbinado (or other sugar of your choice) and the cinnamon, and set aside, along with the pecan halves.

For the cake, stir together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar. Blend in the eggs and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Since this is a special cake, this would be a good time to add some love. Then stir in one-third of the flour, followed by half of the sour cream, and repeat until it’s all incorporated and the batter is smooth. Don’t over-mix as this could toughen the cake.

To assemble, spoon about half of the batter over the topping. Gently smooth to the sides of the pan, trying not to disturb the pecan and cranberry mixture.

Arrange the pecans on the diagonal in a track, so to speak, around the middle of the cake. Then spoon the sugar mixture directly over the top of the pecans.

Dollop the rest of the batter all around the pan, smoothing gently and doing your best not to disturb the filling.

Bake for for 50 minutes to an hour. A toothpick inserted will come out clean when the cake is done.

You’ll see in my photos that some of the cranberries look, ahem, a little overdone. I realized partway through the baking that I had the oven set on convection bake, which intensifies the baking process. My advice to you is not to do that.

Pecan Coffee Cake With a Cranberry Pecan Topping ⎮ © Life Through the Kitchen


  1. How wonderful that baking this recipe brings back such wonderful memories of your dad, I think it would be comforting to be able to do that. I didn’t notice the topping was a little overdone.. it looks perfect to my eye. I think a nice thick wedge of this with tea on a snowy afternoon would be heaven!xx

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