What's Baking: Blueberry Crumb Cake

It snowed again last night, and while the tree branches caked with snow admittedly do look kind of lovely, I am so ready for spring to arrive and stay for the long haul.

So, instead of basking outside in the warm sunshine of spring, I am getting my springtime fix in the kitchen by baking this blueberry crumb cake and reliving memories of picking blueberries last summer in Bayfield.

For me, coffee cake is quintessential weekend food. My love for blueberry coffee cake can be traced back to the Sunday morning breakfasts of my childhood. While my Dad cooked up eggs ("a little bit leaky" for me, please!) and hashbrowns, I would help my Mom make a blueberry coffee cake. My job typically involved making the crumble topping, which I took very seriously. Particularly since, after the coffee cake was baked, I would attempt to surreptitiously pick off and eat all the giant crumbles. 

I still love those giant cinnamon-sugar crumbles, but I try to restrain myself from picking them off the top of my freshly-baked coffee cake. In addition to a tasty crumble topping, this cake is generously studded with juicy blueberries and gets a zing of citrus flavor from a generous amount of fresh lemon zest.

The cake tends to get moister as the days progress, but it is best eaten within three days of baking. 

Blueberry Crumb Cake (printer-friendly version)
makes 8-10 servings

For the topping:
5 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

For the cake:
2 cups minus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup organic 1% milk
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9" springform pan with butter or cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a parchment round. Set aside.
2. To make the topping, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Use a pastry blender, two forks, or your fingers to incorporate the butter into the flour mixture until large crumbles form. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the sugar, lemon zest, and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg until combined. Then beat in the vanilla.
5. Reduce the speed to low and stir in about 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by about 1/4 cup milk. Repeat, finishing with the flour mixture. Beat until just combined. Gently fold in the blueberries.
6. Spoon the batter into the prepped pan, and use the back of a spoon or rubber spatula to smooth out the top. Sprinkle evenly with the crumble topping.
7. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
8. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then insert a knife around the edge of the pan to gently release the cake from the sides. Carefully flip the cake over to remove the pan bottom and parchment paper. Set the cake right-side up on the wire rack and allow to cool completely.

(lightly adapted from this Smitten Kitchen recipe)