When I was fifteen, I used to listen to my parents’ old comedy tapes. Yes, the NSYNC and Christina Aguilera obsession would come years later as I was a late-bloomer in every regard. On my favorite tape, Bill Cosby famously boasted about the nutritious benefits of chocolate cake for breakfast (EGGS!!! MILK!!!! WHEAT!!!), and I have taken it to heart as wisdom and truth. If a decadent, gooey chocolate cake is satisfactory for breakfast, then certainly a Blueberry Crumb Cake has to be even better, because it has fruit! FRUIT!
Like a lot of my favorite recipes, I made this cake on a whim. My mom needed a dessert for a party at work and didn’t remember until the last minute. I went through the cabinets and found I had all of the ingredients to make this cake, and it was in the oven twenty minutes later (I cannot make a decent layer cake from scratch to save my life, so if I can make this and share it with you all, you can do it too!).
My mom later told me that the cake was gone in less than fifteen minutes after she sat it out. After I had a decent slice, I understood why. The cake is lightly sweet; the streusel is spicy and sweet and the blueberries provide a sharp tang. It’s the perfect contrast of taste, and it’s surprisingly light, making it perfect for breakfast or dessert, if you must to be traditional.
Blueberry Crumb Cake
For the streusel:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
For the cake:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (3/4 stick)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2/3 cup sour cream (full or reduced-fat)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
Confectioners' sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.
For the streusel:
Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and then the flour. Mix well and set aside.
For the cake:
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out with a knife. With your fingers, crumble the topping evenly over the batter. (NOTE: You probably won’t use all of the streusel topping. I’ve made this cake a few times, and always had a little left over. It does taste delicious, so feel free to use it all for an extra-crumby cake). Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and serve sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.