Gluten Free Cranberry Buckle (or coffee cake) makes the perfect holiday breakfast, simple holiday dessert, or brunch addition. It has a tender crumb and light texture, spiced with warm winter spices, loaded with fresh cranberries, and topped with a buttery brown streusel topping.
This recipe for Gluten Free Cranberry Buckle is the perfect way to use up any cranberries you have hiding in the back of your fridge or freezer. It comes together in no time with simple ingredients you most likely have in your pantry. This recipe is for an 8x8 pan but can easily be doubled for a 9x13 pan.
If you aren't a fan of Cranberries or they aren't in season right now, please make sure to also check out my Gluten Free Blueberry Cream Cheese Buckle.
- Recipe Ingredient Notes
- What's the difference between a Buckle and Coffee Cake?
- How to make Streusel Topping
- How to make a Cranberry Buckle
- How to assemble and bake a Gluten Free Cranberry Coffee Cake
- Frequently Asked Questions for Gluten Free Cranberry Buckle
- Baking in grams
- Note about Ovens and Oven Temperatures
- Substitutions and Modifications
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
Recipe Ingredient Notes
Gluten Free Flour: I have made this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure and my own Gluten Free Flour Blend. Both flour blends work great. They do already contain xanthan gum. This recipe should work with every multi-purpose gluten-free flour blend on the market. Please be aware that the batter made with Cup4Cup may be on the gummy side.
Cranberries: To make gluten-free cranberry buckle, you can use fresh or frozen cranberries. Just make sure they are not spoiled (or canned cranberry sauce)
Orange Zest: For the orange zest, I recommend using, if possible, an organic orange. Con Regardless of what orange you choose to use, please make sure to give it a good wash. If you don't have an orange on hand, you could use the zest of a lemon, lime, or even grapefruit. I recommend a microplane for this task. If you do not like oranges or citrus, feel free to leave out the orange zest.
Milk: I have tested this recipe for Gluten Free Cranberry Coffee Cake with whole milk as well as dairy-free milk. Both cranberry buckles came out delicious.
What's the difference between a Buckle and Coffee Cake?
A Buckle is a simple cake with fruit mixed into it and topped with a streusel topping. It gets its name from the way the topping "buckles" during baking. They belong to the family of dough topped fruit desserts which include cobblers, grunts, crisps, betties, boy bait, slumps, and pandowdies. Yes, there is a dessert called boy bait - it’s like a buckle but no streusel.
The difference between a buckle and a coffee cake is the fact that a buckle does contain fruit. A traditional coffee cake on the other hand is a simple cake (often made with sour cream and a cinnamon layer in the middle) topped with a streusel topping.
Both cakes are often served along with coffee - but a coffee cake does not contain coffee or caffeine.
And yes, it's okay to call this cranberry buckle a coffee cake.
How to make Streusel Topping
A basic streusel topping is made of brown sugar, flour, and butter. Sometimes you see streusel toppings with added oats and nuts. I like to stick with a simple brown sugar streusel for this recipe spiced with ground ginger and ground cinnamon.
Combine the dry ingredients (sugar, gluten-free flour, salt, ground ginger, and cinnamon) and with a fork or your hands work in the room temperature butter until it resembles crumbles. The butter should be around 65F - cold but workable. Store the crumble in the fridge until you are ready to use it. You can also make a bigger batch and freeze it. It's a great addition to quick breads or muffins like my Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins.
How to make a Cranberry Buckle
This recipe for Gluten-Free Cranberry Buckle can be made with a Stand Mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or a hand mixer.
- Preheat your oven to 350 F and arrange your oven rack in the middle. It's important to bake this cranberry buckle in the middle of the oven. This way it will not overcook on the bottom before the center is fully baked.
- Line an 8x8 or 9x9 pan with parchment paper and set it aside. Make sure to leave some overhang so you can remove your cake easily.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer combine the sugars, orange zest and butter and mix at a medium speed until light and fluffy for 2-3 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of your bowl and your paddle attachment and add the egg and vanilla extract and mix for 2 minutes until well combined. Your batter may look broken - this happens when the eggs and the butter are at different temperatures. Don't worry, once you add the dry ingredients this will smooth out.
- Alternating milk and dry ingredients, add them to your bowl and mix to combine after each addition. Start with ⅓ of the flour mix, add ½ of the milk, add another ⅓ of the flour, add the rest of the milk, and end with the rest of the flour.
- Make sure to scrape down the sides of your bowl.
How to assemble and bake a Gluten Free Cranberry Coffee Cake
To assemble the gluten-free cranberry buckle for baking, start out by transferring ⅓ (one-third) of the cake batter to the bottom of your prepared cake pan. With an offset knife or a spoon, evenly spread out the cake batter.
Since cranberries are heavy and will sink to the bottom, this plain layer will help to avoid any cranberries burning on the bottom of your buckle.
Fold in 100=130 grams of fresh or frozen cranberries in the remaining cake batter and spread out evenly on top of the plain buckle batter.
Top the gluten-free coffee cake batter with the remaining cranberries (and evenly top with the streusel.
Bake your cranberry buckle in the 350F preheated oven for 38-44 minutes. The streusel will be golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. To check the doneness of a cake with a toothpick, insert it into the center of your cake. If it comes out clean, or with only a few moist crumbs attached to it, your cake is done. If the toothpick comes out with wet batter stuck to it, the cake will need additional baking time.
Allow the gluten-free buckle to cool on a wire rack in its pan for 30 minutes before removing it. You may enjoy the cake warmly or allow for it to cool completely before serving. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. The cake will actually be moister on the second day (from the cranberry juices)
Frequently Asked Questions for Gluten Free Cranberry Buckle
What’s the best way to store my buckle?
I recommend storing it uncut in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Can I make this with a Cream Cheese layer?
Absolutely! If you love my Blueberry Cream Cheesebuckle, you will love this Gluten-Free Cranberry Buckle with the cream cheese layer. You find the recipe for the cream cheese layer and how to assemble it here: Gluten Free Blueberry Cream Cheese Buckle.
Can I make this with “regular” all-purpose flour?
Yes. Please use 70 grams of All-Purpose Flour for the Streusel Topping and 250 grams of All-Purpose Flour for the cranberry buckle.
I don’t like cranberries. What other fruits could I use?
I love using cut-up peaches, blackberries, and rhubarb or raspberries and a few white chocolate chips sprinkled in it.
Can I freeze the leftover Cranberry Buckle?
The best way to freeze the coffee cake is to place the cut pieces in an airtight container and freeze it that way. When you are ready to enjoy a piece, thaw it at room temperature (or microwave it 10-15 seconds or until it’s thawed)
Can I double this recipe?
Yes! This recipe for Gluten Free Cranberry Coffee Cake can easily be doubled and baked in a 9x13 pan. Make sure to adjust baking times accordingly.
Baking in grams
I share my recipes in grams and by weight since baking by weight is the most accurate way to bake. Digital Scales are very affordable and very affordable. You can purchase them on Amazon for less than a set of measuring cups. Measuring cups are very inaccurate and can cause significant errors when it comes to gluten-free baking or baking in general. Especially since I bake with gluten-free flours which weigh differently than “regular” flours. I do provide some ingredients like spices and leavening agents in measuring spoons. To learn more about Baking with a digital scale, make sure to check out my post about Baking by weight.
Note about Ovens and Oven Temperatures
All my recipes are tested and developed with a conventional oven. I always bake my baked goods on the rack placed in the MIDDLE of my oven. This way the heat coming from the bottom will not burn my baked goods.
If you are baking with convection (fan-forced), please adjust the recipes accordingly. Be also prepared that the convection oven can cause your baked goods to dry out quickly and still be raw inside. Be aware that it takes at least 15-20 minutes for a standard American Oven to be fully preheated. I highly recommend investing in an Oven Thermometer.
Substitutions and Modifications
Any dietary or ingredient modifications/substitutions to this recipe may alter the end result in appearance and taste. I test my recipes several times as published in this post and The Gluten Free Austrian Blog is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe you find on our website.
For the Streusel Topping
- 70 grams brown sugar
- 90 grams Gluten Free Multipurpose Flour (contains xanthan gum)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (2 grams)
- 43 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the Gluten Free Cranberry Buckle
- 285 grams Gluten Free Multipurpose Flour (contains xanthan gum)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (2 grams)
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamion
- 100 grams brown sugar
- 50 grams granulated white sugar
- The zest of a small orange (or as much as you would like to use)
- 70 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 120 grams whole milk, at room temperature
- 175 grams fresh or frozen cranberries
How to make the Streusel Topping
- Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl, add butter, and with a fork or your hands crumble together until it resembles a streusel topping.
- Store in the fridge until ready to use
How to make the Gluten Free Cranberry Buckle
- Preheat your oven to 350F, line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl combine the gluten-free flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt and set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer combine the sugars, orange zest, and butter and mix at a medium speed until light and fluffy for 2-3 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of your bowl and your paddle attachment
- Add the egg and vanilla and mix for 2 minutes until well combined. Your batter may look broken - this happens when the eggs and the butter are at different temperatures. Don't worry, once you add the dry ingredients this will smooth out.
- Alternating milk and dry ingredients, add them to your bowl and mix to combine after each addition. Start with ⅓ of the flour mix, add ½ of the milk, add another ⅓ of the flour, add the rest of the milk, and end with the rest of the flour. Make sure to scrape down the sides of your bowl.
How to assemble and bake a Cranberry Buckle
- Start out by transferring ⅓ (one-third) of the cake batter to the bottom of your prepared cake pan. With an offset knife or a spoon, evenly spread out the cake batter.
- Fold in 100-130 grams of fresh or frozen cranberries in the remaining cake batter and spread out evenly on top of the plain buckle batter.
- Top the gluten-free buckle batter with the remaining cranberries and evenly top with the streusel.
- Bake at 350F preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. The buckle is done when the streusel is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow the gluten-free cranberry buckle to cool on a wire rack in its pan for 30 minutes before removing it from its pan.
- Enjoy the cake warmly or allow for it to cool completely before serving. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. The cake will actually be moister on the second day (from the cranberry juices)
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 207