Every year in the middle of July there’s a spike of traffic on my red currant posts – these red currant crumb bars are particularly popular. And I get so excited, because it means that there are other people out there who like these beautiful berries as much as I do! We get a bumper crop of red currants every year around the second week of July: they are easily the most productive, easiest crop in our little garden. We transplanted one small bush 3 years ago when we moved in, and this year we picked almost four pounds of currants from it.
Four pounds of currants is quite a few. Thankfully, they freeze very well. But I also try to come up with at least one new red currant recipe every year. Judging by the search traffic on my other red currant recipes and your comments on this post, I can tell that lots of you are still wondering what to do with these sour little berries. And it’s a good question! There aren’t a ton of recipes out there, as these berries are still relatively uncommon in the US.
This year I made an easy Red Currant Coffee Cake to use up some of our bounty. Coffee cake is such a great American recipe. Of course, like most American things, it originated somewhere else – Germany in this case. But 150 years on, I think it’s fair to say that there’s a distinct American tradition of coffee cake that has evolved from its German roots. There’s something so satisfying about a crumbly-topped, cinnamon-scented slice of cake eaten with a mug of tea or coffee. It isn’t dainty like British tea-time snacks, it’s unapologetically just… cake for breakfast. And when packed with red currants, it has a great sour, juicy tang to counter some of that over-the-top sweetness.
I managed to cram two cups of berries into one cake (making cake for breakfast feel almost virtuous) but we still have loads of currants to use up. If you’re in the same boat and looking for more inspiration, why not try out some of my other red currant recipes, below!
More Red Currant Recipes…
Red Currant Coffee Cake
A simple Red Currant Coffee Cake – moist cake, sweet crumb topping, crammed full of sour red currant berries.
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 50
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 8-10 1x
For the cake:
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 stick softened butter
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups (12 oz.) fresh red currants, tossed with 2 tsp flour
For the streusel:
- 3 TBS butter, room temperature
- 3 TBS brown sugar
- 3 TBS white sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter and lightly flour a 9 inch cake pan or springform pan. Tap any excess flour out over the sink. Set prepared pan aside.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Add the softened butter and the sugar to the bowl of a mixer and beat on medium until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating just until they are incorporated, then stopping the mixer. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter-sugar-egg batter and beat just until incorporated. Now add the milk and beat on low just until incorporated. Add the remaining half of the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer – you’ll do the rest by hand.
- Stir in the vanilla extract until it is evenly mixed into the batter. Add the flour-coated currants (the light flour coating helps prevent them from sinking when mixed into the cake) and gently stir until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter. Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan. Smooth out gently so the batter is level.
- Make the streusel: In a small bowl, use your fingers to mix together the butter, brown sugar, sugar, flour, and cinnamon until it forms a crumbly mixture with pieces the size of peas. Sprinkle over the top of the cake batter.
- Bake the cake: Transfer the cake to the pre-heated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top of the cake is golden brown, about 50-60 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan, slice, and serve warm.