I needed something quick and easy that would use the blueberries I recently purchased. How about a coffee cake? I looked through various recipes in search of what I could adapt and found one that used ingredients I already had in the house. As with most baking recipes, I had to adapt the ingredients for high altitude (and I will include that in the recipe) but I also decided to add a cinnamon streusel topping to the coffee cake, and I can tell you that was the best accompaniment to the recipe. This coffee cake takes no time to put together and judging by how it was devoured when I took it to work, it’s a great way to have something homemade, sweet and delicious without a lot of fuss.
Here are my lessons learned when making this:
Lesson Learned 1 – Don’t be afraid to trust your gut: As I mentioned earlier, I adapted this from a recipe I found in a Taste Of Home magazine. I new I would have to adapt the recipe for high altitude, but I also think there may have been a misprint in the recipe as it did not, in my estimation, include enough milk. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of milk. When I added that, along with the butter and egg mixture, the batter was still very dry and even slightly powdery. I knew that wasn’t right. So I began adding more milk and testing the consistency of the batter. I suggest at sea level you start with 3/4 cup of milk and check the consistency of the batter. You can always add a little more but you can’t take it away.
Because I added 4 additional tablespoons of flour (2 for each cup, a standard high altitude adjustment) I knew I might have to add a little more milk. As it was I had to double the amount of milk (I used 1 cup) and that shouldn’t be the case. So I am writing the recipe with the suggestion of using 3/4 – 1 cup of milk. As you can see the cake turned out beautifully, but would not have if I didn’t make the adjustment and trust my gut. So don’t be afraid to adjust the milk if you think the batter doesn’t look right.
Lesson Learned 2 – The egg, milk and butter mixture will look lumpy, and that’s ok: I am including a picture of what the egg, milk and butter mixture looks like before you add it to the dry ingredients. It looks lumpy and that’s the butter. Don’t let that bother you. It is supposed to look that way. If you don’t want to drag out your hand mixer, you can actually combine all of these ingredients at one time by hand using a whisk, which is what I did. Just make sure the butter is at room temperature before you combine all of them. It won’t work if the butter is not soft. If you choose to use a hand mixer, beat the butter and egg together first and then add the milk. Either process will work.
Lesson Learned 3 – Making a streusel: I’ve always struggled with making a streusel. Most recipes say to either use a pastry cutter and cut the cold butter into the flour, or use two knives and do the same thing. I’ve never mastered it with knives and it seemed that every time I used the pastry cutter the butter would just stick to the blades. What I learned this time is, with patience, (what a concept) the pastry cutter actually works. The first few times I had to scrape the butter off the blades, but after a short while the butter became more incorporated into the flour and soon I was cutting the butter into the flour and got the desired pea-sized consistency necessary for a good streusel. So be patient. It actually works.
If you want something sweet that is quick and easy to make this is the recipe for you. Enjoy!
Blueberry Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake
2 cups flour (plus 4 Tbs. for high altitude)
3/4 cup sugar (2/3 cup for high altitude)
2 Tbs. baking powder (1 Tbs. for high altitude)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 extra large or jumbo egg, room temperature
3/4 – 1 cup milk (start with smaller amount and add more if needed)
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup fresh blueberries (if using frozen add to batter frozen)
2/3 cup pecans, chopped
Vegetable shortening to grease the pan
1/2 tsp. flour for dusting the blueberries (if using fresh blueberries)
CINNAMON STREUSEL TOPPING:
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbs. ground cinnamon
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed.
Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a 9 x 9 baking pan with shortening. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and butter. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Slowly add small portions of additional milk to the batter if the the consistency of the batter appears too dry.
Dust the fresh blueberries with a small amount of flour and stir until the berries are slightly coated. Fold the blueberries and pecans into the batter. Spread batter into the prepared pan.
For the streusel, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon into a bowl. Cube the cold butter and cut it into the flour/sugar mixture until the mixture reaches a pea-sized consistency. Sprinkle the streusel over the batter.
Bake 35 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for at least one half hour. Cut and serve.