• Suzanne Yearley

My Favorite Coffeecake

September 14, 2018

Suzanne Yearley

I am suddenly obsessed with baking. You would think that 20 loaves of challah in ten days would be enough flour for at least a month, if not longer. But in fact the opposite has occurred, and I can’t seem to get enough of creating baked goods. I promise to get back to dinner soon, but in the meantime, please bear with me as I get the cookies, cakes, breads, and pies out of my system This recipe is one that I have been making for years. It is delicious as part of a summer breakfast (think of impressing house guests) but is also particularly appropriate at this time of year with the traditional Yom Kippur break fast around the corner.  

The rich, almost-custardy cake-base is the perfect foil to many types of fruit. My favorite is blueberries, but using peeled and sliced fresh or frozen peaches; sliced but unpeeled plums, nectarines, or apricots; raspberries; or a combination; also makes for a superb option. Over the years, I have made a few tweaks to Susan Purdy’s fantastic recipe. I eliminated the sifted flour in the original recipe finding it too fussy for such a rustic cake. I increased the amount of fruit from 1½ cups to 2 ¼ cups and finally, I amped up the streusel. Less is more is definitely not the case here. 

Secrets for Success:

  • Flour doesn’t need to be sifted but should be measured properly.  Either weigh using a scale or gently pour flour from a scoop or second measuring cup into the one that you are using for measuring and then level the top with a knife. (See illustrations below.)

  • The butter for the cake should be room temperature so it can be easily creamed with the sugar.

  • For the streusel, use colder butter, cut into even pieces, and combine with your fingertips, to prevent the butter from becoming a melted mess.

  • Wash the fruit and drain well before adding to the cake.

  • DO NOT OVERMIX. Once the flour is added only mix on the lowest speed and stop when just combined.

  • For best results, cool cake before cutting.

  • By lining your pan with parchment paper, the cake can be removed from the pan and easily cut into neat squares.

  • This cake freezes well or keeps in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. 

Blueberry Coffeecake 

Adapted from Susan Purdy


1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar 

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons sour cream

1/3 cup milk

2 1/4 cups fresh blueberries or other fruit, washed, picked over, and drained well.

Crumb Topping:

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar 

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Butter an 8- or 9-inch square pan. Fit the inside with a piece of parchment paper with the sides overhanging and butter the paper. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well and scraping the bowl after each addition. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix well. With the mixer on the lowest speed, alternately, add flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Spread fruit evenly on top of the batter. Cover fruit with remaining batter and spread the top as even as possible. Some fruit will show through.

Prepare the crumb topping: In a medium-size bowl, combine all topping ingredients and pinch them together with your fingertips to blend, making crumbs.  Spread the crumbs over top of the cake. Place pan in oven and bake for 50 to 55 minutes until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake top is golden brown. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack. When cool, transfer the cake from the pan to a cutting board by lifting the corners of the parchment paper.  Cut into squares and serve immediately.

This cake freezes well or keeps in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. 

Serves 9, generously.






lunch box

Family Meal





freezes well

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