June 18, 2012

Blueberry Coffee Cake

It's almost the first day of summer, and that means a lot of things. The days get shorter, the weather gets hotter, and berries get even better, so my family goes berry picking. It really makes me appreciate where food comes from, and it makes whatever I cook that much more special. This year, we picked 18 pounds of berries, so I decided to make this delicious treat bursting with fresh blueberries.

This recipe has three layers: a moist, light cake, a layer of sweet blueberries, and a crumbly topping. Well, it started out with three layers. I found that mine marbled together when the cake rose, but it made everything taste even better. Each bite had a little bit of everything, and the flavors complemented each other perfectly. If you are concerned about keeping the layers separate, let the cake cook part of the way before adding the blueberries and crumble topping. Either way, it will taste fantastic!

I have found that most of my favorite cakes have a liquid component that is thicker than just milk or water, like cream cheese or, in this case, sour cream. It adds texture and moisture in addition to a slight tang, so it really is a great ingredient.

Whenever I use add-ins like fruit, chocolate chips, or nuts, I like to toss them in flour or cornstarch. It coats whatever I mix in and prevents them from sinking too much. In this recipe, the blueberries would sink to the bottom of the cake instead of marbling throughout. The juices would also burst out of the berries while the cake bakes and turn the whole thing purple. I don't want all the berries at the bottom or a purple cake, so I make sure to toss it in some flour. In this recipe specifically, I use the flour mixture that I mix into the cake.

As for the streusel, I wanted it to have a slight cinnamon flavor, but not so much that it would overpower the berries or the cake. I add just enough to give the cake some warmth without being a primary flavor. After mixing the streusel together, I keep it chilled so that it crumbles more easily. When I break it into chunks, I try to keep them small so that I don't have lumps of streusel on top. It does melt together a bit so it's not a huge deal, but its so easy to do that I make the lumps small anyway.

I love this recipe because it is a great breakfast, snack, or dessert. It is so fresh, and it captures all the great flavors of summer.

3 Cups Flour
1 1/4 Cups Sugar
1/3 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 + 1/8 tsp Salt
7 T Butter, Melted
10 T Butter, Softened
1 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1 3/4 Cups Fresh Blueberries
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
2 Eggs

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 tsp sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp salt. Add the melted butter and stir until crumbly. Chill.

Heat oven to 350F and line a 9" square pan with parchment; grease.

Whisk the remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Toss the berries with 2T of the mixture. Combine the sour cream and vanilla. Beat the butter and remaining sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Add the flour in three additions, alternating with the sour cream in two additions.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Spread the blueberries on top, sprinkle with the crumb topping, and bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through. Alternatively, spread the batter into the prepared pan, bake for 10 minutes, top with the blueberries and crumb topping, and bake for 35 minutes or until cooked through.

Makes 1 9" Square
Recipe Adapted from Tish Boyle

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