Don’t tell the other berries, but blueberries are my favorite. I’m a big fan of both their flavor and texture. I can get a bit weird about the texture of other berries. It’s a long-standing thing that I stopped trying to rationalize a long time ago. Anyway, last week, I was very excited when I picked up a big box of beautiful fresh blueberries from our CSA.
Of course, I think blueberries and cream cheese are a pretty perfect match. Combine that in a coffee cake, and I knew I had to bake this sooner rather than later. I love coffee cakes. They are so versatile. This particular one is great for brunch, an afternoon treat, as well as a lovely summer dessert.
The combination of flavors is really quite exceptional. The cake is soft and buttery. The cream cheese layer is not overly sweet, which lets the tartness of the cream cheese come through. Then, of course the blueberries offer a big burst of flavor. The almond topping adds a nice crunch. With the layers staggered a bit over the cake, each bite is just a bit different.
Don’t be put off by the long-ish recipe. There are a few separate steps, and you’ll use many, many bowls. But, each step is really quite simple. You just might want to make sure that your dishwasher is empty and ready to go before you get started.
I must say that this is one beautiful cake. I love the way the different toppings are layered on top of the cake. It looks fancy-schmancy but still a bit rustic. This is definitely a cake designed to impress.
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons water, divided
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
To make the blueberry topping:
Combine blueberries, 1/4 cup water, and lemon juice in a 1- to 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils. Lower heat and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally. Simmer until blueberries have split and released their juices (about 3 minutes).
In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and 2 teaspoons water. Add to blueberry mixture. Stir until thickened (about 1 minute).
Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9- or 10-inch springform pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour and sugar. Add butter and mix with a pastry blender or a fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Remove 1/2 cup of mixture and set aside to use for the topping.
Add lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to remaining flour mixture. Mix just until combined.
In a separate bowl, mix yogurt, egg, and vanilla until blended and smooth. Add to flour mixture and mix just until combined.
Transfer batter to prepared pan. Spread evenly.
To make the topping and assemble the cake:
Beat cream cheese, sugar, egg, and lemon juice until smooth. Spread mixture over cake batter, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges.
Spread cooled blueberry mixture over cream cheese mixture. Leave some of the cream cheese mixture visible around the outermost edges.
Stir almonds into reserved cake mixture. Sprinkle over cake, placing most of the mixture around the outer edges.
Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and the center of the cake barely jiggles when the pan is gently shaken.
Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then, release the pan's latch and remove the sides of the pan.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Recipe adapted from Sunset.