Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Insanely Easy Cherry Streusel Coffee Cake for Mother's Day from Cleo Coyle

Cleo Coyle, who aspires to
wear purple, is author
of The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Happy Mother's Day!

(A little early.)

I'm putting on the coffee and
baking up a favorite...

Shirley Hunt Jackson,
Red Hat Queen

Courtesy of a beautiful mom
and grandmom, 
who wrote to me two years ago
and shared this recipe.

Thank you to Red Hatter...

Shirley Hunt Jackson 

Insanely Easy
Cherry Streusel Coffee Cake

Courtesy of Shirley Jackson

Note from Shirley: "I made this coffee cake for the first time at Pam's home in Houston for a group of Red Hat friends. This coffee cake tastes just like a yeast bread that has taken you a long time to make. Sure does make your kitchen smell cozy."

Note from Cleo: "Shirley is absolutely right about the yeast and the coziness of this coffee cake. Over the years, I've seen many cake recipes with a cake mix as starter. I've seen many 'pie-filling-over-cake-mix' recipes, too. But I've never seen yeast used as an ingredient (have any of you?). The use of yeast in this recipe gives the streusel a sweet bread-like flavor and texture, but without kneading or rising time. It's also fantastic chilled, so it makes a great summer cake, too. Thanks again to Shirley!"

To download this recipe in a PDF file that you can print, save, or share, click here.


For dough base:
1 package yellow cake mix
1 cup all-purpose flour, unsifted
1 packet (1/4 ounce) dry yeast
2/3 cup very warm tap water
2 eggs

For topping:

5 Tablespoons butter (salted is fine)
1 can (1 pound 5 ounce) cherry pie filling
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Step 1 - Make dough base: First preheat your oven to 375° Fahrenheit and coat a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with cooking spray (or grease and flour it to prevent sticking). Then, in a large mixing bowl, measure out 1-1/2 cups of the dry cake mix. (You are reserving the remaining mix for the topping.) Add the flour and dry yeast. Now add the 2/3rds cup of very warm tap water. Allow the yeast to come alive and bubble for a minute. Finally, add the 2 eggs. Beat everything for 2 minutes at medium speed, scraping bowl often. Dough will be thick. Using a rubber spatula or back of a spoon, spread it across the bottom of your coated baking pan.

Step 2 - Make streusel topping: Melt butter in a saucepan and pour it over the remaining cake mix. Mix the butter in well with the dry mix. It should be lumpy and crumbly. (See photo.)

Step 3 - Assemble coffee cake: Spoon the cherry pie filling evenly across the top of the dough in the baking pan. Sprinkle sugar on top of the filling. Finally, using your fingers, crumble the streusel topping over it all. (There is quite a bit of topping in this recipe. I decided to hold back some of mine so the bright redness of the cherries would really show through.)


Step 4 - Bake and glaze: Bake the coffee cake for 30 minutes in your preheated oven (375° F). Cool the coffee cake on a rack (to allow air to circulate under the hot pan bottom). When the top is fairly cool, drizzle with glaze. See my Quick Glaze recipe below. After cake is served, refrigerate leftovers to keep fresh. This cake is also delicious chilled!



Cleo's note: Shirley's cherry streusel coffee cake glaze used corn syrup, water, and powdered sugar. With her indulgence, I am giving you my favorite butter glaze instead, which is what I use when I make this cake. Here is the simple recipe...


2 Tablespoons butter (salted is fine)
2 Tablespoons whole milk (cream or half-and-half)
1 cup confectioner's (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

Over medium heat, warm butter and milk in a saucepan. Do not let this mixture brown, burn, or boil or you will have a scalded taste in your glaze. As soon as butter has melted, stir in the sifted confectioner's sugar, a little at a time, until it is completely melted. You must work with the glaze quickly, while it is still warm. Using a rubber spatula or spoon, drizzle the warm glaze over the coffee cake. If the glaze hardens up on you, place the saucepan over the heat again and whisk until liquefied and smooth once more.


Happy Mother's

~ Cleo Coyle, author of 

To get more of my recipes, enter to win
free coffee, or learn about my books, including
my bestselling 
Haunted Bookshop series, visit my online coffeehouse: CoffeehouseMystery.com

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 

The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.


  1. Cleo, isn't this just the easiest? My mother made the same but without the extra flour and yeast and it was heavenly every time. Cake mix, butter, cherries and drizzle. Oh, yum. This brings back memories!


    ~Avery aka Daryl

    1. The yeast does make a nice difference here, and it was a lot of fun to bake (not to mention eat). Thanks for dropping by the Kitchen today, Avery. I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  2. I think my mom would LOVE this cake--I guess I need to go visit, and bring the ingredients!

    1. Wendy - Not too many ingredients, either, so the tote bag will be light, lol! It's a wonderful breakfast cake. And you can still take Mom out for dinner and a decadent dessert. :)

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  3. The coffee cake looks delicious, but I really, really love the red hat!

    1. I know! Isn't that hat fun? Love it. :)

  4. Sounds amazing!

    Cleo darling, can I make a request/suggestion? ;) I popped over for recipe ideas (I'm sitting down doing my shopping list for the week) and was thinking how much I would love if I could search the recipes by desserts, drinks, side dishes, and main courses (i.e. meats).


    1. Juju - Lovely to see you in the Kitchen! We do have a recipe index. Just scroll to the top of the site and look in the left column. Or paste this into your browser...


      I hope that helps. Thanks again for dropping in and have a lovely Mother's Day!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  5. This sounds great! Wonder how I could work some cream cheese into the filling....

    1. CindyD - LOL! Everything's better with cream cheese. (Or bacon.) Well, almost everything. Okay, cream cheese...I think it could work.

      Maybe whip up 8 ounces of cream cheese with a bit of sugar and a little vanilla then dollop it onto the base layer and swirl it into the batter using a butter knife? That might work -- can't be sure. The swirl may interrupt the proper baking of the base layer. OR it could provide a surprise little creamy extra when you bite into the finished coffee cake. Worth an experiment.

      Thx for suggesting it and for dropping by the Kitchen today. I hope you enjoy Mother's Day weekend!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  6. I was thinking one could use fresh fruit, like peaches, in season instead of the cherries. Not as colorful, but I bet it would be yummy.

    1. It would be yummy, Libby, I agree. I also prefer to use fresh fruit when I have the time. This is a quickie dessert for sure. No cutting or pitting or steps where filling must be pre-cooked and sweetened. I think it's an especially nice recipe for children to make (to surprise Mom on Mother's Day morning. Hint, hint).

      Thx for dropping by the Kitchen today -- and lending us the peachy suggestion. :)

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  7. Is it too obvious that I am printing this out and hanging it on the fridge with a big red note: "MOM WOULD LOVE THIS ON SUNDAY!!" Perhaps if I buy the ingredients and leave them on the counter might help??

    Looks wonderful and I am certain that it tastes the same!!! Thanks, Cleo!

    1. Tell you what, Nanc, if young Chef Connor doesn't get the hint, I'll eat my red hat. And then fly up to Mittenland to bake it for you. :)

      XOXXOXO and...
      Happy Mother's Day!

      ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
      Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  8. Helena GeorgetteMay 9, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    My son wanted to know what I wanted him to bake on Mother's Day. This looks like a winner! The recipe reminds me of a overnight danish recipe I have except MUCH easier :)