Sweet Sundays: Blueberry Crumb Cake

I recently caught an episode of Barefoot Contessa where Ina Garten made an absolutely incredible-looking blueberry crumb cake. I happened to have some blueberries on hand and I am *always* looking for easy brunch recipes, so I just had to give it a try.

First, I buttered a 9-inch springform pan. I sprinkled flour inside, rolled it around to coat the buttered surface, and then tapped out the excess. The recipe says to use a 9-inch round baking pan (not a springform pan, specifically), but I have no idea how you’d get the cake out in one piece without the springform release mechanism. The cake magically went from pan to counter during a commercial break when I was watching the episode, of course.

To make the streusel, I combined 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of lightly packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg in a medium bowl. I stirred in 1 stick of melted unsalted butter, followed by 1 1/3 cups of flour. Once everything was well mixed, I set the bowl aside.

To make the cake, I creamed 6 tablespoons of room temperature unsalted butter with 3/4 cup of sugar until it was light. (This took 5 minutes at high speed using my stand mixer with the paddle attachment.) I reduced the mixer speed to low and added 2 large eggs (one at a time), followed by 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon zest, and 2/3 cup of sour cream (reduced-fat is fine). In a separate bowl, I sifted together 1 1/4 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of coarse salt. With the mixer on low speed, I slowly added the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. I turned the mixer off and folded in 1 cup of fresh blueberries with a spatula.

I spooned the batter into my prepared springform pan and smoothed the top. With my fingers, I crumbled the streusel topping over the batter. (It’s better to make the crumbles small to avoid any large, too-crunchy pieces; I spent about 3 minutes finely crumbling the mixture.) My cake came out perfectly after exactly 40 minutes at 350F; a toothpick inserted in the center was clean except for a few tiny moist crumbs. I cooled the cake on a wire rack for about an hour. When we were ready to sample it, I ran a knife around the inside of the pan and unmolded the cake to serve.

There is only one word to describe this cake: DEADLY! I think it might just be the best cake I’ve ever made. Ever. Dr. O actually said “whoa” after he took his first bite. It was perfectly moist with a hint of lemon, and the topping was “just right” crunchy. It cut beautifully with a serrated knife, so serving it was a breeze. I have to say I was thankful that Dr. O took most of it to work the morning after I baked it… I can just hear this one calling my name. My only boo-boo is that I forgot the sprinkle of powdered sugar before serving. (Terrible, I know!)

TIPS: Ina Garten always uses extra-large eggs in her recipes. I really only buy large eggs, though. Two large eggs worked well with this recipe; here’s an egg size conversion chart if you’re interested.

Also, don’t worry if your streusel mixture isn’t crumbly until you physically crumble it over the cake batter. It won’t have coarse texture like an oatmeal topping for a fruit crisp might.

A final tip: Always toss fruit (or chocolate chips, or whatever) with a bit of flour before you fold the ingredient into a batter. I tossed the blueberries with about 1 tablespoon of flour before I added them to the cake, which ensured that they didn’t all end up at the bottom of the pan. (Discard any excess flour that doesn’t cling to the ingredient you’re adding.)

Recipe link: Blueberry Crumb Cake

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