Cherry Coffee Cake is an easy brunch dish that your guests will love. It’s simple to make, thanks to a little help from a can of cherry pie filling. Best of all, it tastes really similar to a cherry pie!
I love having guests over for brunch. It’s easier than a dinner party, little ones can be running around, and it just feels more laid back to be serving no-fuss dishes like eggs and pastries.
This Cherry Coffee Cake is a great example of a no-fuss dish. It’s made with a can of cherry pie filling as a shortcut, and you can make it ahead. When you’re ready to serve it, just cut it into squares and it’s done!
– A can of cherry pie filling is the star of this recipe. You can find it in the baking aisle at your local grocery store.
– Yep, that’s 2 sticks of butter and 4 eggs. This recipe makes 15 servings, at least, and we need both of those ingredients for a light and fluffy coffee cake!
– Almond extract adds great flavor to the dough, and it complements the cherries perfectly.
– We’ll make a glaze with powdered sugar to drizzle on top.
How to make cherry coffee cake
Start by preheating the oven to 350°F.
Then, cream together the butter and granulated sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract, and beat until combined.
Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt with a spatula until the mixture forms a soft dough. Take care not to overmix the dough, as that can make it tough. Reserve 1 cup of dough for the topping.
Spread the remaining dough into a greased 11×17 inch pan. An 11×17 inch pan is often used in vintage recipes, but that size is getting harder and harder to find. I used one that belonged to my grandma!
Feel free to use one that measures close to that size. You just may need to adjust the cooking time slightly if it’s larger (reduce the cooking time) or smaller (increase the cooking time).
I find that an offset spatula is easiest for spreading the dough into the pan. It takes a bit of patience to get it spread all over the pan (at least it did for me, haha). Another trick is to use my hand inside a greased plastic bag. It’s the same trick that I use for marshmallow treats (see a photo of how to do it here).
Spread the cherry pie filling over the dough, and then dollop tablespoons of the reserved dough over the top.
Bake for 30–35 minutes in the 350°F preheated oven. The edges will begin to turn golden brown.
Once the coffee cake has cooled, make the icing by whisking together the powdered sugar and milk. Transfer the icing to a small resealable plastic bag and cut a very small corner off of it with kitchen scissors. Drizzle the icing through the corner of the bag and onto the coffee cake.
I forgot to soften the butter. What can I do?
Try these instructions for softening butter in the microwave. Or, to speed up the process on the countertop, cut the butter into small pieces and leave it on the countertop for 30 minutes.
Can I make this without a hand mixer?
Yes! Use a stand mixer, if you have one, or you can do it by hand. If you’re doing it by hand, make sure that the butter is very soft so that you can combine it thoroughly with the sugar.
Can I make this ahead?
The coffee cake can be made and left on the countertop for up to 4 hours before serving. You can also make it the day before. After it cools, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and leave it on the counter. When you’re ready to serve it, make the icing and drizzle it on top, then serve.
What to serve for brunch
Every brunch needs something savory and something sweet! Since this coffee cake basically tastes like cherry pie, here are a few savory options:
I like to serve either bacon or sausage at brunch for the meat eaters. This Praline Bacon flies off the table. Or if I’m short on time, frozen sausage is an easy alternative. I like the Jones brand of maple pork sausage—it has just the right amount of maple and it heats up perfectly in the microwave.
Cherry Coffee Cake
For the coffee cake:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1¾ cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling
For the icing:
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 3 teaspoons milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 11x17 inch pan with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy using a hand mixer. Add eggs, almond extract, and vanilla extract, and beat until combined.
- Stir in the flour, salt, and baking powder just until combined.
- Reserve 1 cup of dough. Spread the remaining dough in an even layer in the greased 11x17 inch pan. I find that an offset spatula helps to do this easily.
- Pour the cherry pie filling on top and spread it evenly over the dough.
- Take tablespoons of the reserved dough and dot it over the top of the pie filling.
- Bake for 30–35 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges and cooked through. Let sit until cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk. Transfer it to a small plastic storage bag, and snip off a very small corner of the bag with a pair of kitchen scissors to create a makeshift pastry bag. Drizzle the icing over the coffee cake using the pastry bag. Serve right away!