I’m willing to bet you know who Ina Garten is and why her modern day comfort food recipes are so popular. Uncomplicated and reliable are the main two reasons. I’ve admired Ina for many years and grew up going to The Barefoot Contessa, her well-known speciality food store in the trendy East Hampton beach community. And in honor of my four year blog-aversary, this is what I’ll be making tomorrow.
Garten sold Barefoot Contessa to two of her employees — the manager and one of the cooks — in 1996. Ina has many well loved recipes, but perhaps one my all-time favorites is Ina’s blueberry coffee cake. Loaded with brown sugar streusel topping and packed with fresh blueberries, honestly, what’s not to love?
Although the original recipe is perfect the way it is, I make a few tweaks, such as yogurt instead of sour cream, I skip the nutmeg and and I prefer to bake it in a slightly smaller 8-inch cake pan to give this beloved coffee cake extra height and a bit more strudel per bite. Sour cream is often described a “secret ingredient” in baking, and trust me, it has its place. I stand by it in my blueberry muffins, but actually prefer greek yogurt in this recipe because the yogurt gives the cake a slightly lighter crumb. To me, a lighter crumbs allow for a better balance with the heavier brown sugar strudel topping. As I’ve mentioned before, baking is all about balance.
The Baking Benefits of A Streusel Top:
- Brown Sugar: Adds sweetness and a rich flavor to the streusel topping due to the molasses present in it. The brown sugar also helps to add moisture to the topping.
- Granulated Sugar: Adds more sweetness and helps the streusel topping crisp up slightly once it is baked.
- All-Purpose Flour: Is used in a small amount to help bind the mixture together and give it a crumbly texture.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon’s only function is flavor and can be left out completely or substituted with other spices if desired.
- Butter: Coats the mixture in fat to help create the crumbly texture by adding moisture. Without the fat, the streusel mixture would be extremely dry.
Although I’ve made my changes, I still refer to this as Ina’s blueberry coffee cake and it remains a favorite go-to weekend breakfast cake in my house. Like my Bisquick coffee cake, I’ve been making this recipe for years with no intentions of stopping.
Ina's Blueberry Coffee Cake
- For the Streusel Topping:
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- For the Cake:
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 2/3 cup whole fat greek yogurt
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- Step 1 For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch round baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease. Set aside.
- Step 2 For the Streusel: in a small mixing bowl add the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, melted butter and flour. Mix well to incorporate and set aside.
- Step 3 For the cake: In the bowl of a kitchen mixer, such as a KitchenAid, fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar and beat on high speed for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, and yogurt.
- Step 4 In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.
- Step 5 Spoon the batter into the prepared pan ands a rubber tip spatula to spread it out evenly. Using your hands, crumble the streusel topping evenly over the batter. Place in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and serve.