Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Tuesday, 5th March 2013
When I was out in the working world, it wasn’t unusual to receive a late afternoon call from my sister and she would ask, “Coffee Time?” My answer – an emphatic yes! We both stopped what we were doing, hopped in the car, and headed to moms. We were greeted with the wonderful aroma (so intense and inviting) of fresh percolated coffee, pizzelle, Italian cookies and coffee cake.
It was no coincidence that our other siblings often joined us. One pot of coffee became two or three and at times, coffee time was busier than Starbucks in the morning. I miss coffee time! It was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with one another and spend quality time together as a family.
My mom’s typical coffee cake doesn’t have a streusel topping and although I’ve used one in this coffee cake the flavours and textures still remind me of my mom’s cake. Fresh fruit was always in abundance and my mom used it often in her cakes. Nuts are a staple in Italian baking, and my mom would usually incorporate a nut meal in the batter or nuts were sprinkled on top.
For this Blueberry-Streusel Coffee Cake, I prepared the cake batter with the addition of cream cheese. The cream cheese creates a tender, moister crumb. A bountiful layer of jam and fresh, juicy blueberries divides two layers of batter. Each brings something slightly different to the party.
The slightly acidic flavour of the fresh berries is balanced by the jam’s delightful sweetness. In hindsight I wish I would’ve added some lemon zest to the batter, blueberries and lemon go really well together.
Usually my cold room shelves are stocked full of preserves but my supply of homemade goodies has been dwindling. Usually I prepare enough to get me pretty close to berry season, either I miscalculated or we’ve gone through more than usual. My freezer stock is low too. I was completely out of blueberries luckily the market stocked some very tasty blueberries this week.
For the streusel topping, I used coarsely ground almonds, brown sugar and my new, favourite spice, Vietnamese cinnamon. (Like lemon, cinnamon pairs really well with blueberries too.) The combination is mouthwatering, nutty, crunchy, sweet and spicy. The brown sugar caramelized while baking adding a wonderful caramel flavour too.
One thing to keep in mind when preparing this coffee cake, if you plan to use a round baking tin rather than a tube pan, I would recommend reducing both the jam and fresh berries by half otherwise the cake may sink slightly in the centre.
If you’re anything like me you’ll prefer the generous helping of sweet jam and fresh berries and either sacrifice presentation or bake in a tube pan (cakes rises beautifully when baked in a tube pan).
I love coffee cake, it’s simple to make and you can incorporate so many wonderful flavours.
Blueberry-Streusel Coffee Cake
Makes one 25 cm (10-inch) cake (tube pan) or one 23 cm (9-inch) cake
- Streusel Topping
- Coffee Cake
- Blueberry Jam
- Fresh Blueberries
- Milk Glaze (optional)
- 113 g (½ cup) unsalted butter, cold
- 76 g (¼ cup + 2 tablespoons) golden yellow sugar (light brown sugar)
- 75 g (½ cup) almonds, toasted and coarsely ground
- 75 g (¾ cup) cake flour
- Heaping ¼ teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon
- In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat all the ingredients together at medium speed until mixture is crumbly, do not over mix.
- Transfer the topping to airtight container; chill in the refrigerator until needed.
Special Equipment – 25 cm (10-inch) or 12-cup capacity tube pan or coffee cake pan (preferred) or regular 23 cm (9-inch) round baking tin
- 252 g (2 cups + ½ tablespoon) bread flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 113 g (½ cup) unsalted butter, soft but not warm
- 150 g (½ cup + 2 tablespoons) cream cheese, soft but not warm
- 225 g (½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 100 g (½ cup) golden yellow sugar (light brown sugar)
- 2 large eggs
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) whole milk
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Using fine mesh sieve, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt onto a sheet of non-stick baking paper.
- In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together butter, cream cheese and sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
- Add the eggs one-at-a-time, beating to just combine after each addition.
- Gradually add the flour, beating to just combine (do not over mix the batter).
- Add the milk and vanilla and beat until smooth.
- 125 g (1 cup) confectioners’ sugar
- 30 ml (2 tablespoons) milk
- In small bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. (Use immediately.)
Assembling Blueberry-Streusel Coffee Cake
If you would prefer to use a 23 cm (9-inch) round baking tin, I would recommend reducing the amount of jam and berries by one-half otherwise the cake may sink in the centre (still tastes amazing) but if you’re like me and want more of the blueberry flavour, the tube pan yields much better results.
- Unsalted butter, room temperature, for greasing
- Coffee cake batter
- 120 ml (½ cup) blueberry jam
- 226 g (8 ounces) fresh blueberries
- Streusel topping
- Milk Glaze, optional
- Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F). Using pastry brush, grease base and sides of 25 cm (10-inch) round tube pan or coffee cake pan (12-cup capacity) with softened butter.
- Spoon one-half of the cake batter into the baking tin; using small offset spatula (or back of spoon), smooth batter to edges.
- Transfer jam to small pastry bag. Pipe (or spoon) the jam evenly over the batter, leaving 6 mm (¼-inch) border around the edges.
- Arrange the blueberries in a single layer on top of the jam.
- Spoon the remaining batter over top of the blueberries and using offset spatula (or back of spoon), carefully and evenly smooth batter to edges of tin.
- Top with streusel (making sure it is evenly distributed).
- Bake until golden and cake tester inserted in the centre of the ring comes out clean, about 55 minutes.
- Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack. Allow cake to cool in the tin, 15 minutes. Carefully turn out cake and then stand upright (streusel side up) on wire rack. Let stand until cooled completely.
- Transfer to cake stand or plate. If using glaze, spoon glaze over cake letting it drip down the sides.
- Buon Appetito!
Tags: after school treat, afternoon tea, almonds, breakfast, brunch, cake, cake toppings, cakes, coffee cake, coffee cakes, cream cheese, dessert, desserts, desserts for entertaining, entertaining, food, food photography, food photos, fruit, streusel, streusel topping
Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Cakes & Cheesecakes, Dolci alla Frutta, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Fruit Desserts, Recipes, Ricette di Base, Torte