Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake

7/10/2012 03:45:00 PM

Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake

Last weekend I finally ticked off one of the items on my never-ending "to-do" list, and cleared out and did a stocktake of the freezer. Exciting times, am I right? Apart from the expected - endless baggies of egg whites, some suet, a baggie of crumble, sausages, ice-creams, veggies and herbs - I was surprised to find a huge selection of frozen fruits: cherries, blueberries, raspberries and some random tropical fruits, which I'm sure are at least two years old. Oops! My freezer is actually tiny, and I'm not sure how it all got lost in there!

Anyway, now I've typed up a list and stuck it to my freezer, and am making an effort to actually use the food in there, rather than just letting it die a slow, icy, frostbitten death.

This little cake was something I whipped up for an indulgent late-morning breakfast, to use up the crumble and blueberries. I love any sort of crumble cake, and on this occasion I wanted an American-style coffee cake, with a soft, buttercake base, tart blueberries and a crunchy topping.  The crumble topping in question is the same one from Nigella's strawberry and almond crumble (which you would have read about in my Nigella Flashback post), and I adapted the base recipe from from the big crumb coffee cake on one of my favourite blogs, Smitten Kitchen.  I made a few changes: using a wooden spoon instead of an electric mixer (less washing up!), as well as substituting the sour cream for Greek yogurt and adding a little spice.  My complete, adapted recipe is at the bottom of this post.

The entire cake is quite easily put together, needing no more than a little light rubbing to make the crumble, and a bit of stirring to make the cake base. (Of course, it's even easier if, like me, you have the crumble pre-made in the freezer!)
Cake base
You'll see I used quite a bit of baking paper - the overhang is to help you lift the cake out of the tin once it is baked. As there's a crumble topping, you can't turn it out onto a cooling rack, and I don't like slicing cake while it's still in the cake tin, especially as this one is non-stick!

The base was quite thin, and I didn't want the final cake to get waterlogged, so I only used a single layer of blueberries, which was about a cup.
Covered in one cup of blueberries
However, as you can see in the final pictures, the cake rose a lot, so I think it could easily accommodate a thick layer of blueberries. In my recipe, I've specified two cups blueberries (double the amount in the picture above) but use as many as you dare!

Covered in crumble
The cake takes forty-five to fifty-five minutes in a 160C oven. I was super hungry and impatient while it was baking, but the low temperature is important as the almonds burn quite easily.
Baked cake

Baked cake
And see? The cake was easily transferred to a cutting board using the baking paper. Ta-dah!

I know I should have waited a little while for it to cool down before digging in, but I was starving, so sliced into it as soon as it was baked. You can see the steam coming off the cake below!
Steaming cake

Baked cake - more blueberries next time!

The cake was so gorgeous! The base was soft, buttery and tender, with a gentle warmth from cinnamon and ginger, a tart flavour contrast from the blueberries, and a texture contrast from the crunchy crumble. Beautiful! It was all I could do not to eat the whole thing. A thick slice of this crumble cake with a nice cup of coffee made a perfect indulgent breakfast. Definitely worth making even if you don't have a freezerful of crumble and blueberries to use up!

Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Big Crumb Coffee Cake and Nigella Lawson's Strawberry and Almond Crumble
Makes one 20cm square cake, serves 8


For the crumble topping
55 grams plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
40 grams cold butter, diced
50 grams flaked almonds
40 grams demerara sugar

For the cake
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
90 grams very soft unsalted butter
1-2 cups frozen blueberries, to taste (I like lots of blueberries and would use the higher amount)

Preheat the oven to 160C. Line a 20cm square baking tin with baking paper, leaving an overhang. (This will make it easier to remove the cake once it is baked).
To make the crumble, place the plain flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl, and rub in the butter pieces between your thumb and fingertips until the butter is incorporated into the flour and the mixture resembles coarse sand. Stir in the almonds and demerara sugar and set aside.
For the cake, combine the Greek yogurt, egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Set aside.
Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices into a large bowl. Add the butter and beat with a wooden spoon until the butter is incorporated. Add the Greek yogurt mixture in three batches, beating until combined.
Scrape the mixture into the lined tin and spread out evenly with a spatula.  It will only be a thin layer, but don't worry, it will rise well when baked. Scatter the frozen blueberries over evenly, followed by the crumble mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, until the cake is cooked through when tested with a skewer and the crumble is nicely browned on top.  Allow to cool slightly (if you can wait!), before using the baking paper to lift the cake onto a separate board. Slice into thick pieces and serve warm with coffee.

Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake

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  1. Dont you love ticking things off the list :) I loooove blueverries in cakes. Even better with the crumble top!

  2. I always forget to use baking paper to help me with moving things after I've baked them. Thanks for the reminder :)

  3. I do love a generous crumble topping like this! And I really need to do a freezer clearout too! :D

  4. Man you need to start offering me these things you bake! It's too much of a tease!

  5. Anonymous8:18 PM

    Yay for freezer stocktake! We started putting a list in front of the freezer a number of years ago and it means we know exactly what we have and what needs to be used up first. Just make sure you keep it up to date!

    The cake looks amazing. I love anything with crumble too.

  6. Nic - Blueberries make cakes healthy, don't you know! ;)

    Sophie - I *never* bake without baking paper, makes things so much easier!

    Lorraine - I bet you'll find heaps of great stuff if you clean out your freezer - great inspiration for cooking / baking!

    MsIHua - Potential blogger meet up??

    April - Ooh, I think there a couple of things I haven't crossed off/added to the list: thanks for the reminder!

    xox Sarah

  7. urgh I need to clean and stocktake the freezer. There is a whole shelf of butter that is preventing me from freezing more things though.

    Love the look of this crumble. Might do the same with my frozen berries :)

  8. Michele I think that's a very good excuse to cook with more butter! For the sake of "cleaning the freezer", hehehe. :)

    xox Sarah



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