Blueberry Coffee Cake

Blueberry Coffee Cake

I remember the first time I tried coffee very clearly.

A friend and I had agreed to ditch our college classes for a day and drive four hours away with one of our professors to a conference to hear a Nobel laureate give a speech. Because we were skipping out on a day of work, we pulled an all-nighter to try to finish the homework we'd miss the next day. When you happen to be a physics major, there unfortunately aren't many breaks from the books. At 7 am, we hit the road, incredibly exhausted.

I remember very little of the conference. We arrived, food was involved, and an incredible amount of scientific information went completely over my head. In my zombie-like state, my only focus was on a nice warm bed.

Late afternoon, it was the big event. The moment we'd all been waiting for. The Nobel laureate in physics was going to give a speech. As a future scientist, I was very lucky to even be sitting in the audience. This man was going to give us his secrets. Even so, I was falling asleep standing up. This is when my friend and I decided to take drastic measures—we'd drink the free coffee in hopes of staying awake.

Blueberry Coffee Cake

This was a big deal. Even though we had reached our 20s, coffee had somehow eluded both of us until this moment. We decided to share (as one will do when they are fearful of what is in the cup). Nearly 1/4 cup of sugar was poured in. Cream colored the coffee nearly white. We were afraid of the acidic, bitter drink so we tried to mask it as best we could. And then, we drank.

I had never tasted something so awful in my life.

After one sip, it was clear we both had enough. Yet, the speech was going to begin and this was the whole reason we got ourselves into this mess in the first place. We figured, after this much work, we might as well be awake to hear what this man had to say so we took the coffee with us.

Each time one of us would nod off, we'd have to drink. These were the rules. It was a terrible game we played. Though our efforts were valiant, every single word of this man's speech was completely lost on me. I had no idea what he even talked about. I couldn't tell you the vaguest details about what his Nobel was even for. But I did learn this: it is possible to actually fall asleep sitting up perfectly straight on a set of bleachers.

Also, coffee tasted like gasoline. Possibly worse.

Nevertheless, I did eventually come around to coffee (and it really does taste better if you don't put in so much sugar). It's a good thing too because otherwise I would miss out on the wonderful world of coffee cake. By definition, coffee cakes are destined to be served with coffee (or tea) and this coffee cake is no exception.

Blueberry Coffee Cake

This blueberry coffee cake is lightly sweetened and stuffed full of blueberries. The cake is partially made with whole wheat flour to give it a healthy spin. The cake is tender and light, but the crumble really helps this cake truly shine. Almonds, brown sugar, and cinnamon come together to give this cake some much deserved crunch. If you're looking for a coffee cake to enjoy for breakfast or dessert, this may be exactly what you have been searching for.

Blueberry Coffee Cake
Adapted heavily from The Eating Well Dessert Cookbook

1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (alternatively, you could use all-purpose)
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a bundt pan.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the egg, buttermilk, yogurt, oil, and brown sugar until completely combined. Gently fold in the flours, baking powder, and salt until just mixed. Do not overmix or it will result in a tough cake! Fold in the blueberries. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Almond Crumble
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sliced almond
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients until mixed. Sprinkle over the top of the batter.

Bake for 20-25 minutes (or 30-35 minutes if using frozen blueberries), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and let cool for 10 minutes in pan before flipping onto a plate. Serve hot or room temperature.

Blueberry Coffee Cake


Kristin Rosenau

Photographer, writer, and baker of all things sweet.

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