I’m so excited to finally be sharing this recipe for my blueberry coffee cake. This is the best coffee cake I’ve ever had and, I venture to say, you’ll think so too. The blueberries are actually a recent addition and one I’m so glad I decided to try. This coffee cake is moist, it’s got a wonderful streusel-like topping, and it’s got an amazing blueberry sauce running through the middle. What’s not to love? Make this blueberry coffee cake and I promise you a breakfast treat you’ll want to make over and over!
It Started With Box Mixes
The first coffee cakes I made were from the Krusteaz Coffee Cake box mixes (in my opinion, the best store-bought coffee cake mixes out there). They were wonderfully easy to whip up on weekend mornings and I ate a lot of them.
But at some point I thought “Why not make one from scratch?” There was a recipe in my Southern Living Cookbook (the awesome 1987 printing I’ve mentioned in other recipes on this website). At first I made it as the cinnamon version, like the Krusteaz coffee cake I loved so much, and then I started making some changes to put my own spin on it.
Blueberries On Sale
After a really great sale at Aldi, I found myself with a lot of blueberries on hand. Probably a dozen pints of them (I don’t know how to not overbuy when I find sales with no limit on quantities). I had so many blueberries that I was looking for excuses to use them. The blueberry version of this coffee cake caught my eye and, for a while, it was my new favorite.
FYI, I’ve used frozen blueberries for coffee cake plenty of times when I didn’t have any fresh on hand. Now that I think about it, most of the time I’ve used frozen. I got into the habit of freezing my blueberries after those Aldi sales since blueberries are notorious for growing mold inside of a week of bringing them home from the grocery store. So don’t worry if you can’t find fresh ones because I can assure you frozen work great.
How To Combine Two Coffee Cakes
So for years I was switching back and forth between the cinnamon and blueberry versions of this coffee cake. But then I asked myself why I had to choose between the two. (As the Trak Kartel song says, I want it all.) So this is the best of both worlds — a cinnamon and a blueberry coffee cake together!
I debated how I was going to bring the cinnamon and blueberry versions together for this recipe. There are two ways I could have gone about it and both ways are equally delicious.
Add the blueberries to the batter and use the cinnamon mixture as both a topping and the middle of the cake. This is the faster method because the blueberries are used in their natural state, rather than being made into a sauce.
Make a blueberry sauce that is used as the middle of the coffee cake and top with the cinnamon mixture. This is the blueberry coffee cake version I selected for this recipe. It was a tough decision choosing between the two! But I really wanted you to experience this blueberry sauce because it is to die for.
Some Special Ingredients
The batter of this coffee cake is made with a couple ingredients that you might not be accustomed to using for cakes. I was curious as to what these do in a cake batter, so I did a little research to find out.
Sour cream adds moisture to cake batters without making them too runny. The fat contained in sour cream makes for a richer cake. It also helps ingredients like baking powder and baking soda do their jobs better because the acidity in sour cream activates leavening agents.
Sour Cream Substitutes
Buttermilk, while offering a similar sour flavor and acidity, is too runny to stand in for sour cream in this coffee cake batter. If you don’t have sour cream, a thick plain yogurt would make the best substitution for sour cream. Interestingly, I read that using Greek yogurt will give you a cake that is more “fluffy” than one made with sour cream.
Pure almond extract is made from almond oil combined with ethyl alcohol and it gives your baked goods the taste of almonds. It’s strictly for flavor and doesn’t serve any “chemistry” purpose.
Substitutions for Almond Extract
If you don’t have almond extract, there are a number of options you can use instead: almond-flavored liqueur, walnut extract, pecan extract, hazelnut extract, diluted almond essential oil.
If nut allergies are something you need to take into account, you can substitute imitation almond extract (no nut products of any kind in this), vanilla extract, and maraschino cherry juice. Or you can simply forgo the almond extract entirely. The amount in this recipe is small so the almond flavor is very subtle and leaving it out won’t drastically change the overall results of the finished cake.
Ideas for Alternate Versions
Blueberries are my husband’s second-favorite fruit. His favorite are blackberries, so the next time I make a coffee cake I’ll use blackberries instead of blueberries. Marionberries and huckleberries also seem like they’d work well in place of te blueberries.
Walnuts or almonds can substitute for the pecans — or you can have a nut-free coffee cake (I’ve done this a number of times).
Storing and Freezing Blueberry Coffee Cake
If you make your blueberry coffee cake ahead of time or it doesn’t get eaten up right away, you’ll need to be able to store it the best way possible so it stays just as delicious all the way to the last serving.
Because there is blueberry sauce in the middle of this cake, it doesn’t have quite the “life expectancy” of a fruit-less coffee cake. As a rule, it’s not ideal to store a cake in the fridge because refrigeration tends to dry out cakes. A coffee cake should keep at normal room temperature for 1-2 days — just be sure to wrap the pan with plastic wrap and then foil to keep it moist. Or you can store your blueberry coffee cake in an airtight container.
If, for some reason, you find that you do have to store your coffee cake in the fridge, make sure it’s wrapped well to keep in the moisture. Wrap the cake pan first with plastic wrap and then with foil (or place it in an airtight container) to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Your blueberry coffee cake will keep in the fridge for up to a week (but I guarantee you it will be eaten long before then!).
Blueberry coffee cakes can be frozen to enjoy later (but I’m scratching my head as to why anyone would — or could — wait until later to eat this). Wrap the coffee cake in several layers of plastic wrap and then foil. If you decide to cut the cake into smaller pieces that you wrap individually, after wrapping them in foil you can place them in freezer bags for even more protection. Your coffee cake will keep in the freezer for about 2 months.
Blueberry Coffee Cake, Start To Finish
If you’re using fresh blueberries, rinse them in cold water and make sure all stems are removed. Place your blueberries in a medium-sized pot with sugar and cornstarch.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened (about 3-4 minutes). Remove it from heat and allow the blueberries to cool while making the rest of the coffee cake.
In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, brown sugar, and chopped pecans. Set aside to use later.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar using an electric mixer. (I wasn’t able to use my electric mixer today, so I actually mixed this coffee cake up by hand — I just put some muscle into it!)
Add eggs, one at a time. Beat well after each egg is added.
In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. I had a bag of unbleached winter wheat flour that I used this time, but I’ve used all-purpose flour in the past. I feel like the finished results were the same.
Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the sour cream to the wet ingredients.
Stir in the almond extract. You’ll notice that this is a pretty thick cake batter — more like dough than batter, actually. Don’t panic. It’s going to turn out great.
Grease a 9×9 inch baking pan.
NOTE: You can also use a 10 inch bundt pan, which is what I used to make this in (I just don’t have a bundt pan at this time). The cinnamon mixture will just end up being on the “bottom” of your blueberry coffee cake servings.
Spread half of the batter in the baking pan.
Pour the blueberry sauce onto the batter and spread evenly.
Add the remaining half of the cake batter and spread it to cover the blueberry sauce layer. Because this batter is so thick, I dropped the batter onto the blueberry sauce in spoonfuls.
Then I used my fingers to spread the mounds to cover the sauce. It wasn’t a perfect job, but I feel like it went better than if I’d tried to use my spatula. Actually, if I’d sprayed my spatula with cooking spray, I bet it would have worked just fine. Something to note for next time.
Sprinkle the cinnamon mixture evenly over the top.
Bake at 350 for 50 minutes. Allow the cake to cool for at least 5 minutes in the pan before cutting it to serve.
I think I ended up letting mine cool for about 45 minutes because I got busy with some things. It was slightly warm when I finally cut it and it held together nicely.
Trust me, you’ll really enjoy this blueberry coffee cake and I’ll bet it makes repeat appearances at your breakfast table!
- 1 pint fresh (or frozen) blueberries
- ½ cup of granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ½ cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 8-ounce container of sour cream
- ¾ teaspoon almond extract
- Grease a 9x9-inch baking pan.
- Wash and rinse the blueberries, making sure all stems are removed.
- Place the blueberries in a medium-sized pot with ½ cup of sugar and cornstarch.
- Cook over medium heat until thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let the sauce cool while preparing the rest of the cake.
- In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup of sugar.
- Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat well before each addition.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In small batches, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, alternating with adding the sour cream. Start and end with dry ingredients.
- Once the dry ingredients and sour cream have been incorporated, add the almond extract.
- Spread half of the cake batter in the prepared 9x9 baking pan.
- Pour the blueberry sauce onto the batter and spread evenly.
- Drop the remaining batter by spoonfuls onto the blueberry sauce and carefully spread to cover the sauce.
- Sprinkle the topping over the cake and spread evenly.
- Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.
- Let cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes before cutting to serve.
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