One of the women I work with loves when I bring in treats for the office. She always gobbles them up quickly and is very appreciative. So when I wanted to bring something in this week I let her pick. She told me she would love a coffee cake. Sure thing, I said, as I’d recently seen a great recipe I wanted to try and the only ingredient I didn’t have was sour cream. So I ran to the store during lunch and grabbed the sour cream. Of course, I subsequently forgot said sour cream at work in the fridge when I left that day. So began my search for another recipe that didn’t require sour cream. Dorie never disappoints so when I found this blueberry crumb cake recipe in my cookbook, I went with it.

Let me start by saying that this cake tasted amazing. It was moist and had just enough sweetness to make me happy. Everyone at work loved it too and it was gone in no time. That said, I had some problems with the recipe. The baking time is supposed to be 55 to 65 minutes but even after 75-80 minutes, the middle of my cake was still a bit gooey. Very weird given that almost all of Dorie’s recipes finish more quickly in my oven then they are supposed to. I was worried about drying out the rest of the cake if I continued to bake it beyond 75-80 minutes so I took it out and just threw away the part in the center that was too gooey. I guess I should have expected problems as I seem to have them with every blueberry recipe I try 🙂

Blueberry Crumb Cake
from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan

For the Crumbs:
5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I omitted these)

For the Cake:
1 pint (2 cups) blueberries (preferably fresh, or frozen, not thawed)
2 cups plus 2 tsp all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2/3 cup sugar
grated zest of 1/2 lemon or 1/4 orange
3/4 stick (6 tbsp) unsalted butter at room temp
2 large eggs, at room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter an 8-inch square pan and put it on a baking sheet.

To make the crumbs: Put all the ingredients except the nuts in a food processor and pulse just until the mixture forms clumps and curds and holds together when pressed. Scrape the topping into a bowl, stir in the nuts and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface. Refrigerate until needed. (Covered well the crumb mix can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)

To make the cake: Using your fingertips, toss the blueberries and 2 tsp of the flour together in a small bowl just to coat the berries; set aside. Whisk together the remaining 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Working in the bowl of a stand mixer or in another large bowl, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the butter and, with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the sugar with the butter at medium speed until light, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for about 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla extract. Don’t be concerned if the batter looks curdled — it will soon smooth out. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately, the flour in 3 parts and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients.) You will have a thick, creamy batter. With a rubber spatula, gently stir in the berries.

Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top gently with the spatula. Pull the crumb mix from the fridge and, with your fingertips, break it into pieces. There’s no need to try to get even pieces — these are crumbs, they’re supposed to be lumpy and bumpy and every shape and size. Scatter the crumbs over the batter, pressing them down ever so slightly.

Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool just until it is warm or until it reaches room temperature.

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