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Best Low Fat Cranberry Coffee Cake Recipe

Updated on March 4, 2015

Cranberry Harvests in New England, Ohio and Michigan

Cranberry bog in harvest season.
Cranberry bog in harvest season. | Source

The cranberry is a fruit that has been harvested by Native North Americans for thousands of years. A staple food, it is often mixed with other ingredients like honey and nuts in such foods as pemmican. Dried cranberries as food helped the Native Americans to survive harsh winters and today, we call them "Craisins."

A Great Blue Heron flies over a full cranberry bog.
A Great Blue Heron flies over a full cranberry bog. | Source
5 stars from 1 rating of Low Fat Cranberry Coffee Cake

Cranberry Coffee Cake Recipe With Some Sugar Alternatives


  • 1 Number 10 size can (14 to 16 oz) whole-berry cranberry sauce, lo-sugar if available *
  • 1 Cup low fat margarine or butter substitute, at room temperature
  • 1 Cup white sugar or Sugar Twin
  • 2 Whole Eggs (or 3 egg whites)
  • 2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Cup low fat sour cream
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • ½ Cup chopped walnuts

GLAZE INGREDIENTS (optional, but very tasty)

  • 1/3 Cup confectioners sugar - some markets carry a powdered sugar substitute.
  • 5 tsp water
  • ½ tsp almond extract

* In the autumn, you can buy a couple of bags of fresh cranberries in your local produce department at the supermarket and freeze them for use in the spring. This provides a fresh fruit type of experience at Easter or during other spring celebrations. At the same time, you can use fresh berries to make your own cranberrie sauce in the autumn and winter and this coffee cake recipe is also great for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Make your own cranberry sauce by putting one bag of the berries (12-16 oz) in a pan on the stove top with 1 cup of water and sugar to taste. I like to use some honey instead of sugar and add a sweet apple peeled and chunked up. Cook over medium high heat until most of the berries have popped and remove from heat and cool. Then serve or use in the coffee cake recipe.


  • Using a large mixing bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar by using a pastry creamer or a fork.
  • Beat the eggs slightly in a smaller bowl and add these beaten eggs to the creamed mixture. Combine completely, mixing well.
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl and add these dry ingredients carefully to the creamed mixture, stirring in a little at a time and mizing well.
  • Next, add the sour cream a little at a time, until well mixed.
  • Add the almond extract and mix thoroughly.
  • Place 1/3 of this coffee cake batter into a cooking-sprayed 9-in square baking pan to form Layer One.
  • Top the batter layer with 1/3 of the cranberry sauce and spread evenly to make Layer Two.
  • Repeat layers One and Two, twice, for a total of 6 layers of batter and fruit.
  • Sprinkle walnuts over the top of the last layer.
  • Bake the coffee cake at 350 degrees F for 50 - 60 minutes, or until a paring knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove the coffee cake from the oven and place on cooling rack.


  • For glaze, combine all of the glaze ingredients and mix, then drizzle the glaze over the cake after it has been turned out onto a serving plate. An alternative is to drizzle a little honey over the coffee cake. Orange blossom honey (my favorite) is especially flavorful and a good combination with cranberries. If you use this bit of orange, then you might garnish the top of the coffee cake with some freshly grated orange zest.

Some States are Lush with Cranberries

Massachusetts, USA

get directions

New Jersey:
New Jersey, USA

get directions

Ohio, USA

get directions

Cranberry Bog State Nature Preserve is located at Buckeye Lake, east of Columbus, Ohio.

Michigan, USA

get directions

Wisconsin, USA

get directions

Cranberry Cooking Anytime

Cranberry Trivia

Cranberries grow around the Great Lakes Region of Canada and Northern USA. Centuries ago, Native Americans and First Nations (in Canada) dried cranberries to use as food during long winters in which they sometimes could catch no game animals to eat.

The Native Americans made a type of jerky out of deer meat and cranberries, mashing these two ingredients together into somethng like a cake or loaf that they called "pemmican." They also discovered that the mashed berries helped to treat arrow wounds quickly, preventing infections. For the decoration, the native peoples used the red juice from the cranberry for dyes for their clothing and artworks.

Eastman Johnson - Cranberry Pickers, Nantucket


Health Benefits of Cranberries

© 2008 Patty Inglish MS


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