Friday, April 23, 2010

All Happiness Depends on Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake . . .

"All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast." -- John Gunther

What befits an unhurried breakfast on a sunny spring morning more perfectly than a slice of fresh homemade coffeecake? A relaxed breakfast can be just the gentle launching pad one longs for at the start of such a day.  

Best enjoyed in a quiet cozy nook with someone you love, or lounging alone in the most pleasant corner of your own backyard, this is the kind of meal that leads you to appreciate morning's finest attributes.

"Full many a glorious morning have I seen." -- William Shakespeare, Sonnet XXXIII

Adapted from Margaret Fox and John B. Bear's book, Morning Food, this recipe isn't complicated, but it does take time to assemble. By necessity, I made a few minor changes to the original formula, though nothing that radically altered the intended character of the finished product.

Instead of using yogurt, I subbed in sour cream with a little milk; instead of using apple juice in the mixture with the berries, I used strained orange juice with a smidgen of added sugar. I also omitted lemon zest from the batter, because I didn't want a strong citrus factor. And, as usual, I reworded the instructions here and there.

The resulting coffee cake was pretty darn delicious, I must say. Not too sweet, not too cream cheesy. And the thin, crunchy almonds in the topping? Well, let's just say "yum" and leave it at that.

Oh, yes--one more thing I must divulge. You know the kind of recipe that, once completed, impels you to express deep and abiding love for your high-capacity dishwasher? Well, I won't lie to you, this is one of those. Mmm hmm, it's a bit of a dirty-dish factory.

That, however, is not sufficient reason to avoid making this treat. Often, the end justifies the messy means, and that's more than true in this case. So, go get yourself some blueberries--fresh or frozen will do--and pull out your springform pan. And have yourself a lovely breakfast.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

(For a printable version of this recipe, click here!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour, or spray with baking spray, a 9" springform pan.

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I used frozen Maine blueberries; they're tiny and very sweet.)
1/4 cup orange juice, strained to remove pulp
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. water
2 and 1/4 cups All-Purpose flour (I used unbleached)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt (I actually used slightly more than this, but less than 1/2 tsp.)
3/4 cup sour cream (I used regular)
3 Tbsp. milk (I used 2 percent)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup sliced almonds

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring to a boil the berries, orange juice, and 2 Tbsp. sugar. Over very low heat, simmer for 3 minutes, stirring periodically.

Combine the cornstarch and water in a little bowl. Add 2 Tbsp. of the blueberry mixture into the bowl and stir, then pour this back into the saucepan. Continue to simmer and stir for about 1 minute, until the mixture is reduced to about 3/4 cup; set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, place the 3/4 cup of sugar and the flour; pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add in the cold butter chunks, and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.

Separate out 1 cup of this mixture and set it aside in a small bowl; this will be used later for the topping.
Dump the rest of the flour mixture from the food processor bowl into a large mixing bowl. Into this, stir the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In another small bowl, by hand, mix together the sour cream, milk, the beaten egg, and vanilla. Pour this  into the flour mixture in the large bowl, and stir to combine. The batter will be quite thick.

Using a small offset spatula, spread the batter evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan and then up the sides about 1/2 an inch or so; you want to create a shallow well.

Pulse the cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, egg, and lemon juice in the food processor until smooth. Spread this on top of the batter to within about 1/4 inch of the sides.
Now pour all of the blueberry sauce on top of the cream cheese mixture. Use the spatula to spread it around; it needn't reach too close to the sides of the pan.

Into the bowl with the reserved flour mixture, add the sliced almonds and toss them around to combine. Sprinkle this all over the blueberry sauce and the exposed batter edge; the top should be completely covered.

Set the springform pan on top of a sheet pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the filling seems set, and the cake is topping is light golden. Cool the cake in its pan, on a rack, for 10 minutes.

Remove the sides of the pan and let the cake cool the rest of the way on the rack. When it's cool enough, slide it off the bottom of the springform pan onto a serving dish.

"To him whose elastic and vigorous thought keeps pace with the sun, the day is a perpetual morning."  -- Henry David Thoreau

(If you'd like to comment on this post, or to read any existing comments, please click on the purple COMMENTS below!)


Rambling Tart said...

Lovely, lovely! I do so like a leisurely breakfast. :-)

Marie said...

Oh my goodness, that looks some tasty. I miss wild blueberries over here. We do get the cultivated ones and I am grateful for those, but what I wouldn't give for a nice bucket of wild blueberries!

Chele said...

I used to make something similar to this but I've not made it in a while. Thank you for reminding mine. Your version looks fab though so I think I'll need to try this recipe too and compare the results ;0)

Chef Dennis said...

what a fantastic recipe...such great step by step photo's too!! The cake looks so very tasty...could really use some now with my espresso!

Stella said...

Gosh Jane, do you take all those photos while baking? They really are beautiful. Have I asked you what kind of camera you use (not that great photos are only a result of a camera-smile)?

My childhood favorite pie is a layered pie with cheesecake and congealed blueberries-it was so delicious, so I know this is extra satisfying with the cake layer.
By the way, my Dad loves Thoreau. He talks about him constantly!

Anonymous said...

I make a similar blueberry cake - time consuming, but oh so worth it. Nothing beats cake for breakfast!;)

Susi said...

Jane, what a beautiful looking coffee cake. Wish I could have a piece right now to enjoy with breakfast. I will have to make note of this and make it when blueberries are on sale the next time :o) said...

Oh Janie, that looks like hands down THE BEST recipe you've done yet! (You'll have to make some and bring it over for coffee!!) :D

Tuty @Scentofspice said...

Lovely cake and step by step photographs.
BTW, the recipe ingredients listed "1/4 orange juice". Did you mean 1/4 cup orange juice?

Jane said...

Hi Tart,
So do I!
Thanks so much,
Jane :)

Hi there Marie,
Do you mean to tell me there are no wild blueberries growing in England at all?? I had no idea! :( Good heavens.
You have all my sympathy!
Jane :)

Hello Chele,
I'd love to hear how yours turns out, should you make one soon! :)
Keep on baking,

Hi Chef Dennis--
So pleased you think so! Yes, it's a very good cake with tea, coffee, decaf, espresso, or even a little cup of milk--you name it.
Thanks very much,
Jane :)

Dear Stella,
Yes, I take all the photos while I'm doing the baking. (I must admit that occasionally I get carried away with taking the photos and end up forgetting something important in a recipe! I hate it when that happens.) I use a DSLR called the Canon Rebel EOS. We've had it since Christmas, and I really, really love it. Before that I just used a tiny little Canon that was completely automatic. The Rebel can be used completely automatically too, and often I use it that way as I'm very slowly trying to learn how to successfully use it's more complicated features (I think I need lessons, though, from a real human).
The pie you mentioned, that you used to have as a kid, sounds utterly wonderful, Stella. I'm a sucker for anything sweet that involves a cream-cheesy factor!
Thanks so much.

Hi iheartcakes,
I agree! Very worth it indeed. I just visited your blog and think it's beautiful. You have great photos, too!
Thanks so much,

Hello there Susi,
Yep, do keep an eye out for those on-sale blueberries!
Thanks again,
Jane :)

Hi Cindy,
Thanks so much! We will have to do that!
:) Jane

Dear Tuty,
Thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me know about that omission in the recipe!! I am so glad you told me. I fixed it in the post. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your nice comments.

Cherine said...

Gorgeous cake! This looks SOOOO good!

Silvia said...

Jane, I'm definitely putting this to my must to do list. It reminds me of one cake that I've eaten in Germany maybe 8 years ago and still trying to make it with no significant success.

Katrina said...

this is sooo pretty! I love coffee cake :)

Anonymous said...

Blueberry cake in and of itself is wonderful. I really like the recipe you provided for this coffee cake. I will make it next week. Keep up the great work with your articles and please stop by my health blog sometime. The web address is

Helen said...

I love a leisurely breakfast so much that I get up really early on weekdays so that I can enjoy it and not rush before work! Your cake looks amazing, I am going to add that book to my Amazon wish list straight away!

grace said...

the sliced almonds are definitely key here--the crunch, the flavor, the appearance. very awesome.

Paris Pastry said...

I love the name of this post!! It looks gorgeous! My blueberries always sink to the bottom :(

HanaĆ¢ said...

How lovely is that? That's a pretty elegant breakfast :o) I love the almond topping and the cake itself looks wonderful. The blueberries are almost jam like. Yum! One more thing, anyone who subs sour cream for yogurt gets a big high five from me (I do that ALL the time, I love sour cream!) :o)

Mags said...

What a delicious looking coffee cake. Cream cheese definitely takes any coffee cake over the top, doesn't it?

Your photos are beautiful.

My Casa Bella said...

It looks divine!! Love blueberries. I just made a Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake and put a picture of it on my last post. I should attach the recipe. I got it from the Food Network website, Tyler Florence, it was absolutely one of the best cheesecakes I've ever made. Anything with blueberries is delicious, I think!

Emily Ziegler said...

Oh how gorgeous! If this is what your breakfast is like each day, I'll be over tomorrow :-)

Pam said...

Hi, you need to write a top 10 best recipes, because I want to try them all...hehe.


Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

Oh this looks so sinful. It makes me lament not having blueberries even more!!

Micah - Coffee machine said...

With a cake like this for breakfast, there'll be more reasons to look forward for another day!

Bethie said...

Uh-oh, I have a whole huge bag of frozen blueberries. I am in trouble now, oh yum! Thank you for visiting my little blog. I see you are in Detroit, my hub's family lives in Port Huron.

Beth Ayotte

Damian - Coffee Beans said...

What a pretty cake you presents, very tempting!

Filippa H. said...

What a wonderful cake! I just cant wait to bake it!
I was just looking for some delicious recipes of something new, that I hadn't tried yet, and - here it was! Thanks google, haha - and thanks to you; very nice and useful blog, and beautiful pictures!