The scrumptious aroma of fresh-baked coffee cake greets Dena Martin’s Thanksgiving Day guests.

"My children grew up with me in the kitchen," says Dena Martin of Sedro-Woolley, Washington. "I raised our six children on home-cooked meals. In fact, my oldest son Randy would come home for meals whenever he spent the night at a friend’s house because he said no one could cook like me," she chuckles.

"Now I share my passion for cooking with my nine grandchildren. During the holidays we are always baking breads, cookies, cakes, pies and making candies for gifts."

She recalls one afternoon during the holiday season. "I was watching my grandchildren while I was baking cookies and making peanut brittle and fudge. I had set up the banquet table in the family room--we often have up to 35 dinner guests. Chuckie, who was about 18 months at the time, wasn’t big enough to see the top of the table. But he didn’t want to miss out on all the goodies his brother Joseph was helping himself to, so he planted himself under the table. All you could see was his hand reaching up and searching for treats to gobble up."

Another treat that gets gobbled up at Dena’s house at Thanksgiving is her scrumptious Cranberry Coffee Cake. "I throw a couple of these into the oven before I begin working on the turkey…and everyone snacks on them throughout the day," she smiles.


Cranberry Coffee Cake

In Dena Martin’s home, it isn’t Thanksgiving without this delicious cake.


  • 8 oz. cream cheese or lower fat Neufchâtel cheese
  • 1½ Cups sugar
  • 1 Cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 1½ tsp. PURE VANILLA EXTRACT
  • 4 eggs
  • 2¼ Cups flour, divided
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. PENZEYS CINNAMON
  • ¼ tsp. GROUND NUTMEG
  • 2½ Cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
  • ½ Cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • ¼-½ Cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 10-inch tube or large fluted tube pan and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, butter and VANILLA until well mixed. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. In a small bowl, sift together 2 cups of the flour, the baking powder, salt, CINNAMON and NUTMEG. Add the dry ingredients to the batter, one third at a time, mixing well after each addition. In another small bowl, toss the cranberries and pecans with the remaining flour until well coated. Stir gently into the batter. Pour into the pan and bake at 350° for 55-65 minutes, until the cake is lightly browned. Do not over-bake. Let stand about 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Sift powdered sugar lightly over the warm cake.

Prep. time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 55 to 65 minutes
Serves: 20-24

Nutritional Information: Servings 24;
Serving Size 1 piece (61g); Calories 210; Calories from fat 110; Total fat 12g; Cholesterol 55mg; Sodium 170mg; Carbohydrate 23g; Dietary Fiber <1g.

Cranberry Coffee Cake



Order the Spices for this Recipe:

Description Price Quantity
Penzeys Cinnamon Ground 1.7 oz. 1/2 cup jar $6.65
Single Strength Vanilla 4 oz. Bottle $13.99
Nutmeg East Indian Ground 1.0 oz. 1/4 cup jar $4.25