As I mentioned before, one great food blogger I follow is Helen Fletcher. She is an expert baker, and also a natural teacher. Each of her posts is a detailed tutorial that allows even the most insecure baker (Sally raises her hand…)  to feel comfortable to face a little baking challenge. A few months ago she blogged on a Blueberry Coffee Cake that had a nice twist to it, the inclusion of a crumb topping.  I was intrigued. It turned out as a delicious, moist and tender cake, one that prompted Phil to grant me an unexpected compliment: “this is exactly the type of cake my Aunt Mildred would bake and we loved so much!”  Can you grasp the full impact of those simple words put together? Me and his Aunt Mildred, joined in the same level of cake baking.  I had to hold myself on the side of the counter top, my knees went a bit weak as my blood pressure dropped from the sheer shock of it. And then… then I could not stop smiling.

(from Pastries Like a Pro)

for the cake:
2 + 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (315 grams)
1 cup sugar (200 grams)
3/4 cup butter, cold (170 grams)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
9 ounces frozen blueberries (255 grams)
for the lemon glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar (130 grams or 4 1/2 ounces)
3 tablespoons lemon juice (plus more if needed)

Heat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9″ cheesecake pan or springform pan and set aside.

Combine 2 cups flour and sugar in the bowl of a mixer. Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the bowl. Mix on low at first until most of the butter has been cut in. Raise the mixer and continue to mixing until crumbs form. Aim for fine, not large crumbs.

Remove 1/3 of the crumbs (about 210 grams) and set them aside. They will be used for the topping.

Add the remaining 1/4 cup flour, baking soda, egg and buttermilk to the remainder of the crumbs in the bowl. Beat on low to bring it together then on medium to smooth it out. Stir half of the frozen blueberries into the batter. Spread it evenly in the pan.

Place the second half of the blueberries over the top of the batter. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs over the blueberries. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes until a tester comes out clean. The crumbs will be light in color. My cake took a little more than 1 hour in the oven.

Let cool before removing from the pan.

For the glaze, combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and stir until smooth and with the right consistency to be drizzled. Place the cake on a rack over waxed or parchment paper for easy clean up. Drizzle one way,turn the cake and drizzle in the opposite direction. Allow the glaze to set before serving.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: for a step by step tutorial, make sure to stop by Helen’s site using the link I provided under the recipe’s title. Once you pour the cake batter in the pan, it will seem as if it’s not enough.  Don’t worry, just go on and follow the recipe as specified. I suppose my glaze could have been slightly thicker so that it would stay more as a drizzle, but even if a bit thin, the taste was not compromised.

As usual, this was shared with our co-workers on a Monday morning. It is one of my favorite things to do, bake something on Sunday and share with our departmental colleagues. The cake was gone before 9:30hs, which is an excellent indication of approval. But, truth is, I could not ask for a better compliment than that of my beloved husband, the resident cake-critic, the one who was raised by bakers probably as talented as… Helen Fletcher!

Helen, thanks so much for another great recipe, I now need to take a deep breath and make your Portokalopita! If anyone is puzzled by the name, go visit her site, it is a cake that uses phyllo dough in the batter!  Can you imagine that?  Mind blowing!

ONE YEAR AGO: Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Bundt Cake

TWO YEARS AGO: Quinoa Salad with Red Grapes and Avocado

THREE YEARS AGO: Strawberry Coffee Cake

FOUR YEARS AGO: Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

FIVE YEARS AGO: Mascarpone Brownies

SIX YEARS AGO: Salmon Tacos

SEVEN YEARS AGOCinnamon Turban Bread

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Summertime Gratin















King Arthur promised and delivered again: a coffeecake so easy to make that even a cake-challenged as myself can do it without problems.  One of the things I loved about this recipe was the fact that I could prepare the cake the day before, stick it in the fridge, and bake next morning. By the time our lab meeting started, the cake was at its peak, barely warm, very moist and tender.

(adapted from King Arthur Flour’s blog)

12 tablespoons (1 + 1/2 sticks) butter (plus a little more for greasing the pan)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup low-fat yogurt

For the topping:
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup chopped walnuts  
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Prepare a baking pan (9 x 13 inch) by lightly greasing it with butter. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the softened butter, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract, mixing until smooth.  If you are starting from very cold butter, place it in the microwave for 20 seconds, and proceed with the recipe, it will be perfect to mix with the dry ingredients.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour and the yogurt (one third at a time, alternating flour and yogurt),  stirring to combine after each addition. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Make the topping by combining  the brown sugar, nuts,  and ground cinnamon in a small bowl, stirring to combine. Sprinkle the topping over the batter in the pan, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Next morning, take the cake out of the refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap, and bake it in a 350 F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden brown on top, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool it briefly before serving.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The original recipe called for a bit more brown sugar in the topping (3/4 instead of 1/2 cup), and also the optional addition of 1 full cup of chips (chocolate, butterscotch, or cinnamon).  I am glad I reduced the amount of brown sugar (and omitted the chips) because the cake was at the limit of my tolerance for sweetness.  If you have a real sweet tooth, go for the kill and follow the recipe as published.

The King Arthur’s blog is an amazing source of information for all things baking: cakes, breads, muffins, pies, cookies…   If you don’t know that site yet, I highly recommend a visit.  Followed by a bookmark, and many return visits!   😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Swedish Limpa

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