This has definitely been the year of the crumb cake for me. Once I posted my Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake, I looked for every opportunity to make it again and again….and again. We LOVED it!!! Then, blueberry season arrived…I love blueberries. I love blueberry muffins. I love crumb cake. How could I not make a Blueberry Crumb Cake?
So I did. After all, I’d been buying blueberries 4 pounds at a time! I know. Crazy! But when beautiful organic blueberries arrive en masse…I’m all in!
Of course, even when blueberries weren’t plentiful, I still managed to post some recipes like Blueberry Pancake Cobbler, Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Dip and Lemon Blueberry Shortbread Bars. (Where there’s a will, there’s a way.)
So this cake. Here’s how it goes down. We talked about the importance of room temperature ingredients in my Chocolate Chip Cherry Cheesecake post.
Room temperature is also important in this recipe. But while I don’t cheat in the cheesecake recipe, you can cheat a little bit here. And I don’t mean cheat by not using room temperature ingredients. I mean cheat by speeding up the process. Here are my tips for getting ingredients to room temperature faster.
Tips to bring your ingredients to room temperature faster:
- Eggs– Before I begin the recipe, I simply put them in a bowl and cover them with very warm tap water. By the time I’m ready for them in the process, they are ready for me.
- Butter-Microwave the stick of butter at power level 1. I usually do this for a minute, check it and continue to do it in 1 minute increments until it is soft enough to press my finger into the side without too much pressure. Don’t forget to reset the power level to 1 each time you start the oven again. If you forget, you’ll get an oven full of melted butter. And yes…been there, done that.
- Sour cream and milk-Mix them together and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir, then check the temperature with your finger. We don’t want it to be warm, it should simply feel like it has no chill to it whatsoever.
Of course you can skip all of these tips if you remember to set your ingredients out to come to room temperature on their own. If you remember, great. If not, I’ve got you covered.
Now let’s make the crumbs. They’re super easy because we’re melting the butter! (Don’t have to worry about room temperature in this step :) Just melt the butter and mix it with the dry ingredients. Press the mixture firmly in a small bowl and stash it in the fridge while you make the cake.
I melted the butter to mix it with the dry ingredients, and now we’re chilling it to firm the butter back up again. You could skip this step, but this is what helps form chunky crumbs. Just stash it in the fridge while you make the cake. The butter firms up quickly and it will be ready when you are.
For the cake, you want to whip your butter, sugar and lemon zest until fluffy. If your butter is at a nice room temperature, this shouldn’t be a problem since it’s already soft and ready to incorporate some air through beating.
It’s important to add the lemon zest at this stage because beating it with the sugar helps infuse the flavor throughout the batter.
Then, add the eggs. If your batter is fluffy and your eggs are at room temperature, you are golden. They will incorporate easily.
If your eggs are cold, it will chill the butter and you’ll have little lumps of solid butter in your batter. The same will happen if your sour cream and milk are cold. If that happens, just keep going with the recipe. Your texture will likely be a little dense, but it will still be edible.
But hey, that’s not going to happen to you because you’re going to make sure everything is at room temperature. Right? Right!
Sinking Fruit: Myth or Fact?
Now let’s talk about sinking fruit. We’re about to add the blueberries, but we don’t want them to sink to the bottom of the cake. This cake batter is fairly thick, so it’s possible they wouldn’t sink.
I decided not to risk it and tossed the blueberries with a spoonful of flour before I added them to the batter. It took less than a minute.
I don’t use this method when I make Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins, but this was a whole cake. One that I didn’t want to make over if the berries sunk.
Theoretically, the flour helps the berries grab onto the batter and remain suspended. However, if you do a search on this method, you’ll find many who debunk the whole idea. You’ll see tests of muffin batter with and without tossing the berries in flour. Results show little difference.
So flour or no flour? I’m leaving it up to you. I hadn’t gone into this recipe planning to test out that theory. I had one goal…Blueberry Crumb Cake.
Once the berries are folded into the batter (naked or floured), just spread it evenly in the pan.
Get your crumb mixture out of the fridge because it’s ready for you, just like I told you. You’ll need a fork to break through what has become a solid mass of butter, sugar and yum. I like to break it into big chunks with a fork and then break it up into various sizes as I sprinkle it on top of the cake.
Once it bakes, you’ll have a lovely crumb topping a rich berry filled coffee cake. Go ahead and sprinkle it with some confectioner’s sugar. I love the way it looks on top of the chunky textured crumbs.
Or….make a lemon icing. Yeah, I didn’t think of that until I was typing the recipe up. I kept looking at that zested lemon and wondering if I should have incorporated the juice into the cake batter. But I think the lemon icing is an even better idea.
I added directions in the recipe notes for the icing. I think it would be lovely to drizzle that over the crumbs. And, it will add another bit of lemon flavor to the cake.
I fell hard for crumb cake this year. I don’t eat a lot of sweets for breakfast, but I will make an exception for Chocolate Chip Crumb Cake and Blueberry Crumb Cake. Oh yeah, and scones and umm….muffins…
Good thing I like to share ;)