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Blueberry Crumb Coffeecake

By Chef Megan Joy / March 15, 2012

Yesterday I drove out to Wolcott with my friend Matt to practice shooting. It’s totally a boy thing, as evidenced by the remnants of television sets, propane tanks, and a lone a high heel.

But besides shooting to learn proper gun handling, there is also a feeling of triumph you feel when you make a really big noise. Kind of like you are a little kid again.

It’s been deliciously warm out here the past week, and after I returned home I sat out back in the sunshine for awhile to soak it all in. I know better than to think that this is it for our snowfall this winter. In the mountains it will snow in June if the temperatures are right.

When I returned inside, I decided to put my discount pint of blueberries to use. Sometimes you can find berries at the grocery store for $3.00 or less, and that’s when I snatch them up. They are not the best tasting, but when baked or cooked their flavor dramatically sweetens.

The best berries are the kind you find growing wild. A few years ago I was hiking near Asheville, NC, with my brothers and we came across a wild blueberry patch. We probably stayed there for a good half an hour, picking and popping the berries into our mouths with delight. A good memory for certain.

But back to the cake. This is a recipe I adapted from The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri. I was so impressed with how beautifully it came out. The base is a tender, yellow cake that is covered in purple, plump blueberries and topped with sweet crunchy crumbs.

It’s great for breakfast but it would also work perfectly as an afternoon pick-me-up with some tea, or as a light after-dinner dessert. Raspberries, huckleberries, blackberries, or cranberries would all work well in place of the blueberries.

Blueberry Crumb Cake (adapted from The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri)

Crumb Topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 tablespoons butter, melted

4 oz unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries, washed and picked through

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease and line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.

For the crumb topping: combine all of the ingredients and set aside.

For the cake: in the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, salt, and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. You may need to stop the mixer a few times and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Follow with the vanilla.

Combine the flour and baking powder. In another bowl, combine the milk and egg yolk. Beginning with the flour mixture, add to the batter, alternating with the egg yolk-milk mixture, until the batter is just mixed.

Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan. Cover with the blueberries, and crumble the topping over the blueberries. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is lightly golden and set in the middle. Cool on a baking rack for 10 minutes, then invert. Some of the crumble with fall off the top but you can sprinkle it back over. Peel off the parchment (at high altitude cakes tend to stick more to their pans, so parchment is used as a precaution). Revert onto a serving plate and enjoy.

About the author

Chef Megan Joy

Ramee Hyde - June 23, 2013

I have made this many times and everyone loves it. I’ve also used the crumble topping on my regular muffin recipes.

Beth - July 11, 2013

Do you think I could use frozen blueberries?

Beth - July 13, 2013

Hi Megan,
I’m at 9850 ft. Do I decrease the baking powder in the cake batter?

Elaine - January 27, 2014

I made this last week. It wasn’t very good. I actually ended up throwing about half of it away. The topping made way too much. I felt the flavor of it also overtook the cake part. I also had to bake it an hour! When I took it out of the oven at recommended time it wasn’t near done. I live at about 7500 feet.

    Chef Megan Joy - January 27, 2014

    Sorry to hear this didn’t come out well for you Elaine. I know many people who have made this recipe and loved it, but everyone has different tastes! Thanks for trying this recipe.

Maria - July 17, 2014

I made this coffeecake twice now (Boulder ~5420ft and Pocatello ~4450ft) and both times I had to increase the baking time to nearly 1 hour, with frequent checking to ensure the batter was cooked thoroughly. Even though I had to increase the bake time, the coffeecake turned out fantastic! I added more blueberries (1/4 more) the second time I baked it for more flavor and moisture, which still tasted wonderful and I thought even better. I agree that the crumble topping made more than required; however, I used a 9-inch round cake pan instead and did not put all the crumble topping on the cake. It all worked out well and I made slight alterations to suit my taste the second time around. Regardless, this recipe is awesome and my fellow testers loved it and asked for the recipe as well. So, thank you for the beta tests!

Nancy Milligan - March 3, 2015

This was a major fail at 5280 elevation. Despite baking it longer, it never turned into cake…just a mushy mess. I think it needs more flour. I have recipes with similar amounts of liquids but way more flour.

Cyndi - May 10, 2015

Thank you for the delectable (high altitude adjusted!)recipes that you have shared with us. I made this last night for this morning’s Mother’s Day breakfast and it was fantastic and so yummy.

Wendy - January 15, 2016

Hey Chef Megan!
I live nearby in Blue River at 10,100 feet. I have worked in three bakeries, and a chocolatier, all at sea level back in New England, so this is my first attempt at altitude changes.
First time making this, I added about 1/4 cup flour, and 1/4 cup almond milk (substitute of choice) to the cake using some high altitude recommendations from the King Arthur site. Reduced sugar to 1/3 cup, reduced the bp to about 1/2 tsp, and zested a lemon on top of the blueberries. I used half the crumb mixture, but kept the butter cold, and cut it in with a pastry blender. Beautiful results.
Today, I did the same exact same things except used the whole crumb recipe, and it’s coming out slightly different. I’ve had to bake it for 65 minutes, and last time it was done at 50. Only thing I can think of is the blueberries were larger, and maybe held more moisture? And we are expecting snow too, so maybe there is a tad more moisture in the air. The micro climates are crazy up here. Things can be different from day to day, and just a mile down the road. Keeps you on your toes!
Tragically, the first time I made this, I had to leave for work five minutes before it was out of the oven!! I had my roommate pull it, and he sent me a picture later with a piece missing, and a message saying I nailed it. Torture to leave the house smelling so good. Thanks for recipe! Excited to try a cranberry orange combo next time.

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