Brown sugar. It’s cooler than plain white sugar. Especially when it’s a topping for a cake. When I see a baked concoction come out of the oven and there is a crumble of brown sugar on the top, it calls to me. So when I saw this recipe, and the picture of this thick slice of spongy cake with a heavy dose of brown sugar topping, I had to make it. Plus, who doesn’t love a good coffee cake? Now my kids have discovered the marvels of brown sugar and its yumminess, so I decided to make this cake for them (and me!). When they found out I was going to make it, they doubted my abilities, which is completely understandable. They vividly remember, and continually point out to me and anyone within earshot, that my last dance with blueberries was my sad attempt at making simple blueberry muffins. I took them out of the oven and then this wave of disappointment came over me. They came out like green swirly blobs. My kids just laughed and grabbed a Nutrigrain bar and went and watched iCarly. Nothing new to them – it’s always an adventure when mommy bakes. I guess I wasn’t supposed to dump the blueberries in and continually stir to combine. Lesson learned. But that didn’t happen this time. My cake came out perfectly – minus the chunk of brown sugar I picked off the corner.
blueberry coffee cake (from Bon Appetit)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 TB dark brown sugar (packed)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
3 TB chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4″ cubes
Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 TB cornmeal
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup plus 3 TB sugar, divided
6 TB unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 TB cinnamon
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries
1 TB panko breadcrumbs
get started on the crumb topping:
Whisk flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in nuts. Add butter. Using your fingertips, work butter into dry ingredients until large, moist crumbs begin to form. Set topping aside.
get started on the cake:
Preheat oven to 350. Coat an 8x8x2 pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and set aside. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat 3/4 cup sugar and butter in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until mixture is pale and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes longer. With mixer at low-speed, add dry ingredients to bowl in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Pour half of batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Whisk remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over batter in pan. Spoon remaining batter over and smooth the top.
Toss the blueberries with panko in a small bowl. Scatter evenly over batter. Sprinkle crumb topping over blueberries. Bake cake until top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean about 55-65 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Store airtight at room temperature.