Saturday, January 23, 2010

Maple Blueberry Coffee Cake

A delicious, wholesome coffee cake with a interesting flavor twist. Adapted from this post on Food Loves Writing - Shannalee calls it "a sparkling blueberry coffee cake, the kind that is dense, with sweet crumbles all over the top and chock full of dark blue berries that stain all the dough they touch, creating bursts of almost-purple throughout." I used frozen Maine blueberries that my roommate picked last summer. Yum!

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3 tablespoons rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
scant 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
pinch of chopped dried thyme
pinch of chopped dried rosemary
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup maple syrup, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
zest of one lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/3 cups fresh wild blueberries (or other berries)

for topping:
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut 1/4-inch cubes
1/3 cup brown sugar
pinch of chopped dried thyme
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
a couple teaspoons sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees, with the rack in the middle. Butter a nine-inch round cake pan or something similar, and line it with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, thyme and rosemary, and set aside. In a separate large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer or by hand until light and fluffy. Drizzle in the maple syrup and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times. Beat in the egg, lemon zest and vanilla extract, scraping the sides again.

Add half of the flour, stir just a bit, now add a splash of the buttermilk, stir again a little. Add the rest of the flour and stir, and now the rest of the buttermilk. Stir until everything barely comes together and then very gently fold in one cup of the blueberries. Scrape the batter evenly into the prepared cake pan and set aside.

Make the streusel: whir the flour, butter, brown sugar, thyme and walnuts in a food processor, pulsing about 20 to 30 times until the mixture has gone past crumbly/sandy to slightly moist, like the beginning of a dough. Crumble 2/3 of it over the cake batter, sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup berries on top of that, and then add the last of the crumble. Barely pat in place with your fingertips.

Place the coffee cake in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. When it is almost finished, sprinkle sugar all over the top to give it that extra sparkle. Let the cake cool for five minutes and then remove it carefully from the pan to cool on a rack.

Serves 12 – 16 modest slices.

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