Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake…

My life has been chaotic for the last six months and now that the dust has started to settle I’m trying to get myself back on track. One of the ways I see myself doing that is trying to post more often on my blog. I missed not doing my regular posts but dealing with health care issues was so much more important. Now I am trying to put one foot in front of the other in an attempt to establish my new normal and begin to incorporate some of the things that brought joy into my life before everything started. This blog is certainly one what to do that.

I made this recipe the other day and posted some pictures on Instagram and Facebook and got so many comments about sharing the recipe that I felt compelled to blog it faster than I thought I would. I made this recipe mainly because I had a ton of blueberries that I needed to use (Lord only knows why I bought so many) and I also had several bars of cream cheese.

I have to say that I was more than pleasantly surprised at the outcome. What I liked the best about this coffee cake is the addition of the cream cheese layer. It provides a nice moistness to the cake and really kicks the cake over the top. So let’s talk blueberry cream cheese coffee cake…

Lesson Learned 1 – This cake requires you to be organized: This cake has 3 separate processes, that being making the cream cheese filling, making the cake batter and making the streusel topping. It requires a little more equipment to get the coffee cake put together. I recommend you use a separate hand mixer and bowl to make the cream cheese filling. Then I recommend making the streusel topping so you are ready to top the cake once you’ve assembled the layers. Use your stand mixer to make the cake batter. Try to measure everything out for all three processes before you begin. That way the processes will run smoothly. It really isn’t a hard cake to make. It just has a few more steps than most.

Lesson Learned 2 – The cake batter is thick: This batter creates a nicely dense cake that is balanced out by the cream cheese layer. But a dense batter can be a challenge to spread around when it comes time to put it in a pan. I’ve learned over time that when you work with a dense batter it’s better to drop it in the pan in spoonfuls all around the pan. That way when it comes time to spread the layer most of the batter is already in place and you can spread the batter around more easily.

Lesson Learned 3 – Vanilla bean paste versus vanilla extract: When I’m making a recipe where I want to really kick up the vanilla flavor I use vanilla bean paste. The paste has a syrup-like consistency and it measures out the same way as vanilla extract. Vanilla bean paste is richer and more flavorful. It is also much more expensive. But if you can afford it I highly recommend using it. But only use it for special recipes. Using it in things like cookies doesn’t really make a difference. But using it in something like this recipe or a creme brulee really enhances the flavor of the dish.

Lesson Learned 4 – Arranging the blueberries in the layers: This cake requires two blueberry layers, one on top of the cake batter layer and one on top of the cream cheese layer. When putting in both layers be careful to not let any of the blueberries touch the sides of your spring form pan. If you do you’ll find it difficult to clean the sides of the pan after baking. If you don’t you can still clean the sides of your pan, it’s just a little more difficult even though the pan has been greased.

Lesson Learned 5 – Depending upon your oven, you may have to cook the cake longer than the allotted time: Now as you know I live in high altitude so everything tends to have to cook for longer periods of time and/or higher temperatures. This recipe calls for the cake to cook for 45 minutes. I had to cook mine for 1 hour. Just keep an eye on it after 45 minutes and you should be fine.

Lesson Learned 6 – Someone asked me if you could substitute raspberries for blueberries: I don’t see why not. Raspberries tend to cook just like blueberries. They release their juices in a similar way. So try it with raspberries. I bet it will be delicious.

And that’s it. I guarantee you will love this cake. Try it and let me know what you think…

Cake Layer

First Layer Of Blueberries

Cream Cheese Layer

Second Layer of Blueberries

Cake With Streusel Topping

Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake...

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: Medium
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INGREDIENTS:

Cream Cheese Filling:

1/4 sugar

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1 egg white

1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (you can substitute vanilla extract)

1 1/4 cup blueberries, divided

Coffee Cake:

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. table salt

5 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

3/4 cup sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste

Streusel Topping:

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

3 Tbs. butter, very cold and cut into chunks

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven for 350. Line the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan with parchment paper and grease the sides of pan. Set the pan aside.

Mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until creamy. Add egg white and mix just until combined. Set aside.

For the streusel topping combine sugar, flour and chilled butter in a bowl. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly and and the crumbles are pea sized. Set aside.

For the cake batter, stir together the flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar. Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla and mix until combined. Slowly mix in the flour mixture alternating it with the cream cheese finishing with the flour mixture. Take a spoon and transfer the batter in spoonfuls around the base of the pan. Smooth the batter around the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of blueberries over the batter. Spread the cream cheese filling on top of the blueberries (drop in spoonfuls just like the cake batter and spread) and top with the remaining blueberries. Sprinkle the streusel on top of the blueberries. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If the top starts browning too quickly cover the pan with aluminum foil.

Put the pan on a cooling rack and run a knife around the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes and then loosen the ring of the spring form pan. Remove the ring and let the cake continue to cool.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in remaining cake in the refrigerator.

 

 

 

Lemon Ricotta Cake…

No one will deny that we are currently living in unprecedented times. With the country being ravaged by the coronavirus and people scrambling to figure out how to shelter at home without losing their minds, it comes as no surprise that many people are turning to cooking. Cooking (and eating) has always been associated with comfort. And at this point in time we need all the comfort we can get.

We are under a stay at home order here in Colorado so venturing outside can only be done for essential things, like going to the grocery store. When I last visited my grocery store I found it fascinating that the baking isles were heavily picked over. It was hard to find flour or eggs. I laughed when I saw there were hardly any boxed cake mixes on the shelves. And try to find flour tortillas – well I guess people are indulging their taste for Mexican food during quarantine.

I’ve been trying to limit my trips to the store as much as possible so sometimes I buy larger containers of things that will last a longer period of time. The other day I was planning on making some stuffed shells (that recipe soon to be posted) and so I purchased a large container of ricotta cheese. I did not anticipate the amount I would have left and began thinking about how I could use the remaining ricotta. And this is how I used it…

So let’s talk lemon ricotta cake…

Lesson Learned 1 – Beat the ricotta into the butter/sugar mixture really well: Ricotta is rather thick and when using it in baking it can cause lumps unless you beat it well. I found that using whole milk ricotta is the best for this cake. Make sure you beat the mixture for at least 3 minutes or until you see the mixture is smooth and creamy. Also make sure you scrape the sides and bottom of the the mixing bowl. I found when using a stand mixer that a very small portion of ingredients tends to clump right at the very base of the beater. Don’t forget to scrape there as well.

What the ricotta batter should look like

Well Mixed Ricotta Batter

Lesson Learned 2 – Grease the sides and bottom of a spring form pan with butter and dust it with powdered sugar: I read about this trick online and it is a great way to add some additional sweetness to the outside of the cake. Even though you use 1 1/2 cups of sugar in this recipe the cake does not taste overly sweet. The lemon juice and zest balance out the sweetness quite nicely.

Lesson Learned 3 – Don’t make the mistake I made: Every cook makes mistakes, even the most adept ones. I went about making this cake the way I normally bake or cook, prepping all of the ingredients first and then following the process. I did really well until I put the batter in the prepared pan and then realized I didn’t incorporate the baking soda into the batter. UGHHH!

In my mind I had three choices – 1: Start all over again (which I did not want to do) 2: Bake the cake without the baking soda (baking soda is a leavening agent that makes the cake rise so I didn’t want to do that) or 3: Figure out a way to incorporate the baking soda (it was only a half of a teaspoon so I sprinkled it all over the top of the batter and mixed it in with a spoon stirring it well but being careful not to touch the sides or bottom of the prepared pan. To my amazement it worked beautifully). So keep in mind that even the best of cooks need to improvise when they make a mistake. Not all fixes turn out as well as this one did. I was lucky this time.

Lesson Learned 4 – Try using vanilla bean paste: I was made aware of vanilla bean paste during a cooking class and I love it. I don’t use it all the time as a jar can be quite expensive ($20 or so) but in dishes where I want a richer vanilla flavor I use the paste. I wouldn’t use it for making cookies but for cakes or custards it adds much more depth of flavor. It measures just like vanilla extract (a teaspoon for a teaspoon) but it gives a much richer vanilla flavor than extract. If you can afford it try it sometime.

And that’s it. Making the cake is very easy. The cake is creamy and not overly sweet. It’s great as a dessert or a breakfast treat. I know you will enjoy this one…

Lemon Ricotta Cake...

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

15 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)

1 large lemon, juiced and zested

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups flour

Powdered sugar for dusting the pan and the top of the cake

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a spring form pan with butter and dust the bottom and sides with powdered sugar. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer (you can use a hand mixer) cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the ricotta cheese and mix until smooth and creamy, at least 3 minutes or more.

Mix the eggs in one at a time. Add the vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix to combine. Stir in the baking soda and salt. Add the flour and mix until just combined (you can add all the flour in at once).

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Let the cake cool completely before dusting it with powdered sugar.

Right Out Of The Oven