Cherry Streusel Coffee Cake
Cherry Streusel Coffee Cake

Did you blink? Well then, cherry season may have passed you by. I tell you, it is one short window of opportunity!! I was planning on going to pick cherries as a little fun activity but the farm we usually go to is all picked out already! Fortunately, where this cake is concerned you can use fresh or frozen cherries with great results!

I love fancy layer cakes with frosting, but more and more I find myself gravitating to simpler homier kinds of cakes. This is one of those--the kind that make your house smell amazing and the kind that if you leave out, anyone who makes their way into the kitchen, will cut off a little slice. So, unless you have virtually no kitchen traffic, this cake will be whittled down in no time! 

You start by putting together the sour cream based cake batter which gives the cake its wonderful moist texture and slight tanginess. Once it's in the pan you layer the cherries in the middle so that when you later cut into the cake there's a sweet surprise inside!

Then you cover the cherries with the rest of the batter and top the entire cake with a generous amount of buttery, brown sugar, cinnamon streusel. So crumbly and pickable!!

Once the cake has baked and cooled, you drizzle a milk glaze over the top for even more fun, letting it drip down the side in little rivulets (how I love that word!)

I don't know which part I like more, the crumbly streusel, the sweet cherries or the not-too-sweet, slightly dense cake. All of the elements work perfectly together! So break out that cherry pitter if you have one (or use a bag of frozen pitted cherries and cut your work time in half!) and thumb your nose at the shortness of the cherry season--hey, we can make this whenever we want! Game over! We win!!

Cherry Streusel Coffee Cake

Makes 10-12 servings

Prep Time:  20 minutes (plus more time if you have to pit the cherries); Bake Time:  40-45 minutes (plus time for cake to cool and glaze to be applied)


For the cake

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus a little extra for buttering pan
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup sweet or sour cherries, pitted (if you use frozen cherries make sure they're thawed and well-drained)

For the Streusel

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

For the glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons milk

The Recipe

1.  To make the cake:  Preheat the oven to 350ºF and butter a 9 or 10 inch tube pan and set aside.

2.  Into a medium sized bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

3.  Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar eggs and vanilla together for 2-3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the flour in 3 parts on low speed, alternating with the sour cream and beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape the bowl down as needed and only mix until blended.

4.  Spoon half the batter into the prepared pan. Top with the cherries in a single layer. Try not to have the cherries touching the pan as they may burn if not fully set into the batter. Top with the remaining batter and smooth it out evenly.

5.  To make the streusel:  Mix the flour, sugar cinnamon and salt together in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or two forks until large moist clumps form. (You can make this ahead and keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks). Sprinkle streusel all over the batter in the pan.

6.  Bake cake for 40-45 minutes or until top springs back when touched and tester inserted into the middle of the cake, comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Let cool for 15-20 minutes. Then remove from pan and cool right side up. While cake is cooling, make the glaze.

7.  To make the glaze:  Whisk together the sugar and milk in a small bowl. When cake is completely cool, drizzle the glaze over the cake so that it drips down over the sides of the cake. Let cake sit 10-15 minutes until glaze is set. Serve immediately. 

8.  Cake can be kept at room temperature for 4 days, wrapped in plastic wrap.


Note:  Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. I used fresh sweet cherries rather than frozen sour ones and also cut the streusel in half--original recipe makes way too much.



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