With two whole cups of red currants, and lemon zest, this Currant Coffee Cake tastes tangy, sweet, and very refreshing. With a sweet walnut crumb topping, this is one cake that should be served with a hot tea or coffee.
It’s been almost two years since we bought an old home in eastern, rural Ontario. We took ownership at the very beginning of summer. Nothing had bloomed yet. As summer progressed, we were surprised to find apple trees, rhubarb, and my favourite, red currant bushes. I’ve been baking recipes like this Currant Coffee Cake ever since!
I pick as much as we can eat, but for the past two years, there are so many that we have to leave behind. I did freeze some last year; just enough to try, so that I could determine whether freezing them is worth it. They were in the freezer for seven months.
I thawed them out, they kept their shape, and still tasted vibrant and fresh. Previously frozen currants were used in this recipe, but you can use fresh picked as well. This year, I will pick them all and freeze a lot more. No more wasting and rotting left behind red currants!
CURRANT RECIPES GALORE!
So, I have been really busy with developing currant recipes for the past two harvesting seasons! There are no shortage of red currant recipes here! So, if you’re lucky enough to have currant bushes, don’t let those berries go to waste. Use them up or pick them and give them to someone who loves to bake. They will certainly appreciate it!
Let’s see, I had to make Red Currant Jam. I don’t mind the seeds, John.e on the other hand, doesn’t care for them. So, you can make jelly instead of jam. Next, I made these lovely Red Currant Crumb Bars. These are a great way to use up the jam if you happen to make too much.
All of these recipes, including this Currant Coffee Cake, can be prepared with fresh currants or frozen. In fact, you can use red or black currants, and even similar berries like gooseberries too.
RED OR BLACK CURRANTS, GOOSEBERRIES TOO!
If you don’t have access to red currants, you can use black currants. Because currants and gooseberries are very much alike and often mistaken for each other, you can use gooseberries too.
If you don’t know the difference, there’s one very easy way to tell if you have a currant or gooseberry tree. Where red and black currant bushes are thorn-free, gooseberry bushes are not. They have small thorns, so you need to be a little careful when harvesting. Wearing gloves and a long sleeve shirt will keep you from getting scratched.
Gooseberries are often larger than currants. This will depend on many things such as exposure to the sun, how old the bushes are, how fertile the soil might be, etc. Gooseberries also have a little brown stick-like tail at the bottom of each berry. Those usually fall right off when you wash the berries.
You will get 12 decent sized pieces from this cake. If you can’t eat it all, don’t worry. Simply cover the pan with plastic wrap and keep it on your counter top. It will keep fresh for at least three days.
Alternatively, you can keep the cake in the fridge. Again, cover it well and it will last 5-7 days. I do find that the refrigerated version looses some of it’s moistness. But, it still tastes good!
Lastly, you can freeze this cake. Cut it and remove it from the pan. Transfer it to a freezer-friendly container. Make sure it has a tight lid. You can freeze it for up to 3 months. To defrost, remove the desired amount from the freezer and transfer to a wire cooling rack. This will allow air to circulate and the cake will taste just like the day you made it! Enjoy!
Currant Coffee Cake
For the Cake:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup salted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 cups red currants
For the Crumb Topping:
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons salted butter, softened
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line a 9×9 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Add the flour, sugar, and baking powder to a mixing bowl. Whisk together.
- Next, add the beaten egg, softened butter, milk, and lemon zest. Beat until just combined. Batter will be very thick.
- Add the currants and use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix the berries through the batter.
- Transfer batter to prepared baking pan. Spread the batter out until level.
- Next, add all of the crumb topping ingredients to a bowl. Use a mixer to beat in the butter. This mixture will be crumbly.
- Evenly distribute the topping over the batter.
- Bake for one hour. Depending on your oven, the cake may bake faster. Check at the 50 minute mark. Insert a wooden toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, close the oven door and bake for 10 minutes more. Test with an unused toothpick once again.
- When done, remove from oven and allow to fully cool in the pan.
- Slice into 12 squares and serve. Cake can be stored, covered, for 3 days.