June 17, 2010

Blueberry Coffee Cake

For someone who writes a blog called 'the Blueberry Files,' I'm not all that into blueberries. Strawberries, I go crazy for. But blueberries don't make me as excited (and sometimes the things people make blueberry-ified make me downright nauseous). The list of things I think are made better by adding blueberries is a short one: cheesecake (topped with blueberry sauce), pancakes (sometimes), and coffee cake. Otherwise, I'd usually just rather have strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries (in that order).

So why did I buy a ten pound box of blueberries last summer? I don't really know, but since this year's blueberry season is fast approaching, I figured it was time to use up the last of the batch in my freezer.

I set out to make a good coffee cake: moist, lots of streusel topping. But I had it in my head that making one was hard- like involving yeast or lots of waiting or some extensive technique. Nope. Like a lot of things in baking, a good coffee cake just requires following the directions and some patience.

I'm particularly proud of this rendition, because the first attempt turned out terrible (my fault- I didn't follow the directions). The second time around, I consulted Ina Garten who has yet to steer me wrong with a dessert recipe. I used her Sour Cream Coffee Cake and stirred in blueberries into the batter, as well as sprinkling some blueberries in with the middle struesel layer.

Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Adapted from Ina Garten

For the cake:
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream
2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising) *Note: to make cake flour, substitute 2 tablespoons of cornstarch for 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour for every cup you use. Sift well.
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

For the streusel:
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I would reduce this next time; struesel tasted a little flour-y)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

For the streusel topping: Combine sugar, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter. Pinch butter with your fingers until topping looks like a struesel topping. Stir in chopped walnuts.

For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch tube pan or a Bundt pan. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Add the vanilla and sour cream and continue mixing.

In a separate bowl, whisk to combine flour, soda, powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients gradually to sugar, egg, and butter mixture, mixing to combine. Finish stirring with a spatula to ensure mixing is complete. Gently fold in blueberries.

Sprinkle half of the struesel topping into the bottom of your pan. Add half of the batter and spread with a knife to level out. Sprinkle the remainder of the struesel topping and any additional blueberries you'd like. Add the rest of the batter and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes in the pan and turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Ina recommends glazing the cake with a syrup of 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar and 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Sounds like a real Maine idea to me!