Blueberry Buttermilk Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping

Coffeecake may just be my favorite breakfast treats.  I love to eat quick breads and muffins for breakfast, but it’s not that easy to find really good ones.  Some tend to be overly sweet for my taste.  Others are so greasy that after eating one, you feel bloated and nauseous for the rest of the morning.

Once in a while, I see these pastries sitting in the case at the coffee shop and my stomach growls, so I’m forced to choose one for hunger’s sake.  That happened to me at Starbucks, when I saw their new bountiful blueberry muffins.  I ordered one to try and actually liked the flavors.  However, the cake was a bit stale and cold, which I guess is inevitable when pastries are not baked on premises.

So then I went home and made this cake.  It’s quick and easy to whip up.  The resulting coffeecake is moist and tangy (because of the buttermilk), and packed with juicy blueberries.  By the way, blueberries and lemon are really a match made in culinary heaven!  I substituted lemon zest with orange zest one time and had no idea what I was thinking.  The orange taste was overpowering and completely masked the blueberries.  If blueberry is not your thing, you can use strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries.  But if you don’t have lemon zest, your best bet is to omit it.  There’s no better substitute.

Blueberry Buttermilk Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping
(makes one 8″ x 8″ cake)

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup buttermilk
2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Butter and flour a 8″ x 8″ baking pan or bundt pan.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in an egg, then lemon zest and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in three additions, alternating with a third of the buttermilk at a time, until all of the ingredients are incorporated into the batter.  Gently fold in the blueberries.  Pour batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer.  Sprinkle the top of the batter with streusel topping (see recipe below).

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before cutting it into desired sizes.

*You can also use frozen blueberries, but be very careful because they tend to bleed during mixing and baking (purple swirls can be pretty, but purple cake batter is a little unappealing). Let the frozen blueberries thaw thoroughly, drain the liquid, and instead of folding them in, here’s what you should do: spread a thin layer of batter on the bottom of the prepared pan, sprinkle a handful of blueberries over the batter, cover with another thin layer of batter, and repeat until all of the blueberries are embedded in the batter.

*I stored these in an airtight container in the fridge, but streusel topping loses its crunchiness with moisture, so these are definitely best eaten the day of.  You can also leave them on the countertop, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for a maximum of two days.

Streusel Topping

½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tsp cinnamon
½ stick cold, unsalted butter

Whisk flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl to blend.  Cut in butter with pastry blender or two forks until well combined and mixture becomes clumps.  Don’t overwork the mixture at this point.

*If you overwork the mixture (the butter will melt and the mixture will resemble wet sand), you can put it in the fridge for the butter to harden, break it up into clumps, and use the topping immediately.


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