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Black Currant Cake with Crumb Topping

This easy black currant cake recipe is a simple vanilla coffee cake topped with fresh black currants and a crunchy streusel crumb topping. If you don’t have black currants you can also make this cake with blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries!

Slice of black currant cake in front of the entire cake on a stand

We have a wide variety of eccentric berry bushes growing in our backyard. I shared pictures of some of them with my Blueberry Peach Cobbler recipe. In addition to the usual raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries, we also have gooseberries, champagne currants, huckleberries, and black currants. These last four are difficult to find in my area so a couple of years ago I decided to just grow them myself! All I need to add to my berry garden is a black raspberry bush and then my collection will be complete. 🙂

Of course, the drawback to growing so many berries is that you need to use them as quickly as possible. Homegrown produce does not last as long as storebought. That’s where this black currant cake comes in. This simple vanilla coffee cake is studded with juicy black currants, then topped with a crunchy crumb topping. The whole thing comes together in about 10 minutes. It’s perfect with a dollop of whipped cream and a cup of coffee. If you’re feeling fancy, you can even make a homemade gingerbread latte to go with it.

Top view of a black currant cake with streusel topping

What Are Black Currants?

If you haven’t heard of black currants before – or currants for that matter – it’s not surprising. Growing black currants was banned in many parts of the United States for almost half a century because the early 1900’s variety spread a fungus that threatened trees used for timber. However, modern varieties are disease-resistant so the ban was repealed in 2003. Slowly but surely, farmers and hobby gardeners have started growing them again. They grow especially well in New York, Connecticut, Oregon, and Vermont, where the natural climate seems to encourage the bushes to thrive. They are self-pollinating so you only need one plant to grow a nice harvest of berries.

Black currants are full of antioxidants, including anthocyanins, which give them their dark color. This means they are great at fighting free radical damage, boosting immunity, reducing inflammation, and even supporting eye health. They are tart berries though, so unlike blueberries or blackberries, which you can just eat off the bush, I usually use black currants in jams, syrups, or as part of a dessert like this cake. I personally like the contrast between tart berry and sweet cake in every bite.

White bowls with cake ingredients

What if I Can’t Find Black Currants in My Area?

If you can’t find black currants you can easily substitute raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries. You could even use a mix of all these berries! Just keep the overall amount of berries the same. I only have access to currants during the summer months when they are growing in my garden, so I have made this cake with the above kinds of berries many times. During the winter months, you can also use frozen berries for this cake.

How to Make Black Currant Cake

This is a simple coffee cake with a tender, vanilla base and a crunchy crumb topping. Here’s how to make it:

  • Prepare your tools. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch springform cake pan and set aside.
  • Mix the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • Mix the wet ingredients. In a different bowl, whisk together yogurt, eggs, olive oil and vanilla.
  • Combine. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix well until combined.
  • Pour into pan and add the currants. Place the batter into the prepared pan and cover with black currants.
  • Bake the cake for 30 minutes. After this amount of time has passed, we’re going to add the crumb topping and finish baking the cake.
  • Make the struesel. While the cake is in the oven, in a small bowl combine the streusel crumb topping ingredients.
  • Add the topping. After 30 minutes in the oven, take the cake out and sprinkle the streusel crumb topping on top.
  • Continue baking. Return to the oven and bake for 30-35 more minutes, or until the streusel crumb topping is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. (Clean = no wet batter, crumbs are fine.)
  • Cool. Remove the cake from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then remove and let cool on a wire rack.
Black currant cake on a stand with slices taken out

Tips for Success

This black currant cake is pretty easy to make, but there are a few tips:

  • You can also use sour cream. If you don’t have Greek yogurt on hand, you can also use sour cream or regular yogurt.
  • Grease your pan well. It’s important not to skip this step or the sides of your cake can stick to the pan.
  • Use a springform pan. A springform just makes it much easier to remove the cake from the pan. If you don’t have one, you can use a regular cake pan as long as it is the same size.
  • Let it cool. If you try to remove the cake from your pan immediately after baking it will break more easily. Give it 10 minutes to cool down, then gently run a butterknife around the edges and remove it from the pan.

How to Store Homemade Coffee Cake

You can store this cake on the counter for up to 2 days. I like to place it on a glass plate and then loosely cover it with saran wrap. A cake stand with a glass cover also works well. If you want the cake to last a bit longer, you can also store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Make sure it is airtight though or the cake will dry out.

Can I Freeze This?

Yes! You can freeze this black currant cake whole or in slices.

  • To freeze the entire cake: Wrap the cake in cling wrap, then wrap it in aluminum foil, then wrap it again in cling wrap. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. To defrost, place in the fridge overnight or on the counter for a few hours.
  • To freeze slices: Wrap each slice in a couple layers of cling wrap, then place in a freezer-safe ziploc bag. These will keep for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge or for a few hours on the counter.
Slice of black currant cake with whipped cream on a plate
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Black Currant Cake with Crumb Topping

This easy black currant cake recipe is a simple vanilla coffee cake topped with fresh black currants and a crunchy streusel crumb topping. If you don’t have black currants you can also make this cake with blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries!

  • Author: Rustic Family Recipes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 68 slices 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale

For the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups black currants

For the streusel crumb topping:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

Instructions

Make the Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch springform cake pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a different bowl, whisk together yogurt, eggs, olive oil and vanilla.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix well until combined.
  5. Place the batter into the prepared pan and cover with black currants.
  6. Bake the cake for 30 minutes, then add the crumb topping.

Add Crumb Topping & Finish Baking

  1. While the cake is in the oven, in a small bowl combine the streusel crumb topping ingredients.
  2. After 30 minutes in the oven, take the cake out and sprinkle the streusel crumb topping on top.
  3. Return to the oven and bake for 30-35 more minutes, or until the streusel crumb topping is golden brown.
  4. Remove the cake from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then remove and let cool on a wire rack.

Notes

  • If you don’t have greek yogurt on hand, you can also use sour cream or regular yogurt.
  • Keep the cake on the counter for up to 2 days, or store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. For any leftover pieces, you can store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Tightly wrap the slices in cling wrap and store in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag.

Keywords: black currant cake recipe, crumb coffee cake, easy coffee cake

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