Cherry Coffee Cake

Cherry Coffee Cake

Give your normal coffee cake a major upgrade with one simple ingredient: cherry pie filling. Coffee cake is traditionally a sweet cake with texture more like a muffin and topped with a streusel. In this version, the cherries add tartness, and a burst of fruit flavor. It’s finished with a cinnamon-spiced streusel topping for that classic coffee cake feel. 

All you need is large mixing bowl to whisk the batter together, then layer with the cherry pie filling. Streusel is crumbled over the top before it's all baked together until perfectly soft and crumbly. 

Cherry Coffee Cake is our go-to easy treat for brunch, dessert, or tea time. And of course, it’s even better when served with, you guessed it, coffee.

“The cherry pie filling not only added a pop of color, but also, a big pop of flavor! A really simple addition takes this coffee cake to the next level. You may think two cans of cherry pie filling is too much, but in-fact it is the perfect amount. ” — Tracy Wilk

coffee cake/tester image A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 3/4 cup salted butter, softened

  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 3/4 cup milk

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • Cooking spray

  • 2 (21-ounce) cans cherry pie filling

For the Streusel:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, melted

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Icing:

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar

  • 1/4 cup salted butter, melted

  • 3 tablespoons milk

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

Prepare the Cake

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make cherry crumb cake

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

  2. Spray a 9-x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Make sure to generously grease the sides as well as the bottom.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

    A grease 13 x 9 inch baking dish

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

  3. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Alternatively, use a large bowl and a hand mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.

    A bowl of mixed butter and sugar

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

  4. Beat the eggs in, one at a time, until each is incorporated.

    Eggs mixed into the butter mixture

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

  5. Mix in the vanilla extract, sour cream, and milk until just combined.

    Vanilla, milk, and sour cream added to the batter

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

  6. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl, then beat on medium-low until completely combined. Be careful to not overmix—you can stop mixing once there are just a few streaks of dry ingredients. Switch to a silicone spatula, scraping down the bowl and folding until the ingredients are well combined.

    A bowl of cake batter

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

  7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, spreading into an even layer.

    Cake batter in the prepared baking dish

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

  8. Pour the cherry pie filling across the top of the cake to evenly cover the top.

    Cherry pie filling on top of the cake batter

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

Prepare the Streusel

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make streusel

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. With a rubber spatula or your hands, fold the ingredients together until a crumbly mixture forms.

    A crumbly mixture of flour, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and vanilla extract

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

  3. Evenly distribute the streusel over the top of the cherry pie filling.

    Streusel on top of the cherry pie filling

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

  4. Bake until the streusel is browned and the cherry juices are bubbling, and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, 50 minutes to 1 hour.

    A cooked cherry crumb cake

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

Prepare the Icing

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make icing

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, melted butter, milk, and vanilla extract until the icing is smooth.

    A bowl of combined confectioners' sugar, melted butter, milk, and vanilla extract

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

  3. Let the cake cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Drizzle the icing all over the top of the cherry coffee cake. Slice and serve.

    A cooked cherry coffee cake topped with icing

    The Spruce Eats / Preethi Venkatram

How do you keep coffee cake moist?

  • Sour cream, as used in this recipe, helps keep the coffee cake moist.
  • Keep the coffee cake moist by storing it in an air tight container.

Recipe Variations

  • Add chopped walnuts or pecans to the streusel for a nutty finish.
  • You can use this recipe with any other pie fillings including, apple, peach, blueberry, or strawberry.

How to Store

You can store this cake at room temperature in a plastic storage container for up to three days. Or you can refrigerate for up to 6 days.

Is coffee cake and crumb cake the same?

Crumb cake is typically made and served in New York and has very large crumbs on top. Coffee cake typically has smaller crumbs. Crumb cake also has a large crumb to cake ratio. The crumbs make up about half of the complete cake, while the crumbs on top of a coffee cake are more like 1/4 of the total cake. Crumb cake also tends to be sweeter since crumbs are so sweet and they make up a good portion of the cake.

Why is my coffee cake so dense?

Overmixing and overbaking are the two biggest culprits for a cake that is overly dense. Make sure to just mix enough to combine after each addition. When baking the cake the sides will gently come away from the sides of the pan and when you insert a toothpick in the center it should come out with moist crumbs attached to it.

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