Monday, September 5, 2016

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Here’s one more summer fruit recipe before things get all apple-y and pumpkin-y and cranberry-y. I had plenty of blueberries that I froze earlier this summer, and I wanted a quick and easy cake to stir them into. I thought this favorite Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake might be adaptable, so I tried it out.

In my first attempt, I left the cinnamon in the cake, and found it, while good, not quite as welcoming to the blueberries as I would like. I tried it a second time with lemon zest in the batter instead of cinnamon and it was a hit. Deliciously sweet and fruity, fragrant with lemon, and moistened by just enough blueberries.

I used a different streusel topping for this blueberry cake than I did for the apple cinnamon cake. I wanted a richer, crumblier one, like the one I used on these muffins. In fact, it’s exactly like that one with just a pinch of cinnamon in place of the ginger. It was just as fabulous on the cake as it was on the muffins.

Not only do I have a simple blueberry cake to add to my brunch repertoire (and afternoon snack arsenal as well), but I also now know how easy it is to adapt this recipe for whatever fruits or spices are in season. I can’t wait to make it with orange zest and cranberries, or Pumpkin Pie Spice and dried fruit. It was tough to snap a few photos of this cake before we ate it all, and I think I can come up with some variations that present the same problem.

Blueberry Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Crumble Topping
Frozen blueberries are just fine in this cake. Do not thaw them before stirring them into the batter.

For the topping:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch fine salt

For the cake:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 large egg
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1. To prepare the topping, combine the 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, cold butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and pinch of salt in a small bowl. Work in the butter pieces with a fork or with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly and forms clumps when squeezed together. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (This can be made a few days ahead.)

2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan or dish with cooking spray or grease it with butter or oil.

3. To make the cake batter, melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Set aside to cool.

4. In a medium-size bowl, combine the 1 ½ cups flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Whisk together to combine well. Set aside.

5. In another medium-size bowl, lightly beat the egg. Slowly whisk in the melted butter. Whisk in the milk and vanilla extract.

6. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until most of the dry ingredients have been moistened. Stir in the blueberries.

7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the top.

8. Bake at 350 F for 40-45 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool on a wire rack until cool enough to cut and enjoy. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 9-16 servings.

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