I think I could eat anything with a sweet crumb topping, but I especially love it when the crumbs are scattered over spicy blueberries. This moist cake is easy to prepare and quite versatile. If you prefer, you can replace the blueberries with 3 cups of any soft fruit, such as peeled, sliced peaches; unpeeled, quartered apricots or plums. or pineapple, which is great during the winter. I tend not to use apples or pears unless they’ve been cooked first. Raw apples sometimes don’t cook through by the time the cake and crumbs are fully baked, and raw pears are just too watery. Frozen blueberries work fine in this, too. Just add the frozen berries in step 6.
- 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter
- ¾ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 2 large eggs
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup low-fat buttermilk
- 3 cups blueberries, rinsed, drained, and picked over
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
1. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
2. For the cake batter, combine the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed until lightened, about 2 minutes.
3. Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest, then beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating smooth after each addition.
4. Quickly stir the flour and baking powder together, decrease the speed to low, and beat in half the flour mixture. Beat in the buttermilk until it is absorbed, stop the mixer, and use a large rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl and beater. Beat in the remaining flour mixture. Use a large rubber spatula to give the batter a final mixing.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and use a metal offset spatula to spread it evenly.
6. Top the batter with the blueberries, gently pressing them in.
7. For the crumbs, stir the butter and brown sugar together in a bowl. Quickly mix the flour, cinnamon, and baking powder together and use a rubber spatula to stir them into the butter mixture. Use your fingertips to break up the mixture into small crumbs. Evenly scatter the crumbs on the blueberries.
8. Bake the cake for about 55 minutes, or until it is well risen, the crumbs are a deep golden color, and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean.
9. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Invert the cake to a large plate and remove the pan and paper. Replace the pan with a cooling rack and reinvert. Lift off the plate and cool the cake completely.
SERVING: This is particularly good for brunch or tea. Or serve it as dessert following a very light meal.
Nutritional information is provided by the author.
Per serving: 203 calories, 11 g total fat (49% of calories), 6 g saturated fat, 4 g protein, 23 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 61 mg cholesterol, 89 mg sodium