Blueberry sauce is swirled into tender butter cake and topped with a generous layer of New York-style crumbs for a blueberry crumb cake that's perfectly at home at the breakfast table, next to your afternoon mug of coffee or tea, or sliced up and served for dessert after dinner.
Is this blueberry crumb cake best eaten at breakfast, as a mid-afternoon snack, or for dessert? For Easter or Mother's day brunch? On lazy Saturday mornings? As a late night snack?
This blueberry crumb cake is one of those unique treats that feels appropriate pretty much any time of day or night. Is it a coffee cake? Snack cake? Dessert cake? Whatever you want it to be, that's what it is.
The problem, as I see it, with many blueberry cake recipes, is that whole blueberries don't hold up well to a long baking time. They end up tasting a bit soggy. Also, if the blueberries you're using aren't perfectly ripe and sweet, you end up with forkfuls of cake studded with soggy, bland blueberries.
To avoid this situation, I started out by cooking some blueberries with a bit of sugar and lemon into a thick blueberry sauce before swirling it into butter cake batter. Then, I topped it with a lot of rich, buttery crumb topping.
The result is a tender, moist cake, flavored with swirls of slightly sweet, flavorful blueberry sauce, and plenty of buttery crumb topping on every fork full.
Big, Fat, Buttery Brown Sugar New York Style Crumbs
I'm a sucker for a good crumb cake - "good" being defined as a whole lotta crumb in proportion to cake. Also, I feel strongly that there should be a lot of butter and brown sugar involved.
My other preference is to top cakes with big, fat crumbs that are practically the size of small cookies. To get those big crumbs, just squeeze the crumb topping together in your hand as you add it to the top of the cake batter. If you prefer a delicate, loose crumb topping, just break the crumbs up as you sprinkle them on the cake. That's good too.
FOR THE BLUEBERRY SWIRL:
- 1 tablespoon (12.5 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups (250 grams) fresh or frozen blueberries
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
FOR THE CRUMB TOPPING:
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon table salt (OR ¾ teaspoon kosher salt)
- 10 tablespoons (141 grams) salted or unsalted butter, melted and still warm
- 2 ¼ cups (270 grams) cake flour (see note below for substitution)
FOR THE CAKE:
- 1 ¾ cup (210 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons (14 grams) cornstarch
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 9 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter cut into 9 pieces, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- ½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Make the Blueberry Swirl:
- Add all the blueberry swirl ingredients except the vanilla extract to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, smashing some of the berries against the side or bottom of the pan with a fork or pastry cutter.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture is thickened. If you drip some onto a plate, the blueberry sauce should hold its shape. (If using frozen blueberries this might take a few extra minutes.)
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Scoop into a bowl and allow to cool completely before using. (The blueberry sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.)
MAKE THE CRUMB TOPPING:
- Add both sugars, cinnamon, salt, and melted butter to a medium size bowl and whisk vigorously to combine.
- Add the flour to the butter and sugar mixture. Using your hands or a rubber spatula, rub the flour into the butter until completely moistened. Cover and set aside.
MAKE THE CAKE:
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F (163 degrees C). Prepare a 9 or 10-inch springform pan as follows: Coat the inside with vegetable shortening or butter, fit the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper and coat the top of the paper with more vegetable shortening or butter. Shake some flour around inside the greased pan until the sides and bottom of the pan are coated. Shake out the excess flour and set aside. (More about how to prepare cake pans so the cake won't stick.)
- Add the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking soda, and salt to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low just to combine.
- With the mixer running on medium-low speed, add the butter, piece by piece, mixing until the butter is completely incorporated into the flour and the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
- Add the eggs and egg yolk, buttermilk, and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 1 minute to combine.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared springform pan and smooth it into an even layer. Drop spoonfuls of blueberry sauce all over the top of the cake batter. With a butter knife, swirl the blueberry sauce into the cake batter. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the top of the cake, squeezing it in your hands as you do to create large pieces of crumb.
- Bake the cake for 60-70 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without any raw batter on it.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before removing the sides of the springform pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. The cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
- For softer crumbs: The crumb topping for this cake produces crumbs that are on the crunchy side. If you'd prefer softer, more cake-like crumbs, increase the amount of butter to 14 tablespoons, the granulated sugar to ¾ cup, and the brown sugar to ½ cup.
- If you can't find any cake flour use 2 cups all-purpose flour mixed with ¼ cup cornstarch.
- I usually use salted butter for both the crumb topping and the cake batter because I like a relatively high level of salt in baked goods. But if you're sensitive to salt, use unsalted butter.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1/12th of the cake
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 455Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 428mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 2gSugar: 28gProtein: 6g