Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs has long been one of my favorite Tuesdays with Dorie bloggers. She’s smart, creative, funny, and her recipe reviews are always spot on. Last month she celebrated her one year blogiversary and as part of the festivities she gave away a pair of vintage one pound loaf pans. And I won!
Nancy recommended all kinds of wonderful recipes worthy of my shiny new pans, but one stood out: maple blackberry coffee cake. I’m spending the summer in Maine, where the blackberries aren’t ready yet, but we are in prime wild blueberry season. Once Nancy told me the pans were in the mail, I gathered all my ingredients in anticipation. The package showed up, and I was chopping, mincing, and mixing the batter within minutes.
And let me tell you another thing about Nancy. She’s reliable. If she says a recipe is good, well, get in the kitchen and start cooking. This coffee cake is splendid. If you’re used to playing around with a coffee cake by substituting yogurt for sour cream or swapping almonds for pecans, or (go wild!) adding a vigorous grating of orange zest, well, get ready for this.
The recipe calls for maple syrup, berries (blueberries, huckleberries, blackberries, cranberries, or whatever you like), rolled oats, lemon zest, almonds, rosemary, and thyme. The combination is complex, sweet, savory, and sublime. A recipe worthy of my gorgeous new pans.
Thank you, Nancy, for such a wonderful gift. I’ll think of you every time I bake with these, and I expect that will be just about every week.
Maple Blueberry Coffee Cake Recipe
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
I used Nancy’s 1-pound loaf pan (size 10 1/4″ x 3 5/8″), but you could use an 8 or 9-inch cake or pie pan. Just check as it’s baking as the cooking time will vary. I’m not a fan of whole wheat flour (I know, I know….), so I substituted all-purpose unbleached flour. If you have real maple syrup, by all means, use it in the cake and the topping. If you have the fake stuff, use light brown sugar instead.
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour [I used all-purpose unbleached flour]
3 tablespoons rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup maple syrup, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
zest of one lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/3 cups fresh wild blueberries (or other berries), well picked over
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour [I used all-purpose flour]
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut 1/4-inch cubes
1/3 cup maple sugar (or brown sugar)
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 cup chopped pecans or almonds
special equipment: a 1-pound loaf pan
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees, rack in the middle. Butter a 1-pound loaf pan, and line with parchment paper. Alternately, you could just butter and flour the pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, thyme, and rosemary. Set aside. In a separate large bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer or by hand – until light and fluffy. Drizzle in the maple syrup and beat until well incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple times along the way. Beat in the egg, lemon zest, and vanilla extract, scraping the sides again. Add half of the flour, stir just a bit, now add a splash of the buttermilk, stir again, but not too much. Add the rest of the flour and stir a bit, and now the rest of the buttermilk. Stir until everything barely comes together and then very gently fold in one cup of the blueberries. Scrape the batter evenly into the prepared pan and set aside.
To make the streusel topping, place the flour, butter, maple sugar, thyme and almonds in a food processor and pulse 20-30 times or until the topping is a bit beyond sandy/crumbly. It should be moist-looking – on its way to being slightly doughy. Crumble 2/3 of it over the cake batter, sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup blueberries on top of that, and then add the last of the crumble. Barely pat in place with your fingertips.
Place the coffee cake in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool for five minutes and then remove it from the pan to cool on a rack (this way the cake won’t steam in the pan as it’s cooling).
Serves 12 – 16 modest slices.