This Lemon Blackberry Coffee Cake is another recipe that takes advantage of fresh, summertime berries. I, obviously, used blackberries in this case. Blueberries are definitely more popular for muffins and coffee cakes than blackberries are, since they tend to hold their shape and not “bleed” too much juice into a baked good. But there are advantages to using bigger, juicer berries: the fresh blackberries give this coffee cake an almost cobbler-like feel to it – which makes this one coffee cake that is just as good for dessert as it is for breakfast. You can use frozen berries, tossing them in a teaspoon or two of flour before stirring them into the batter, but if you can get fresh berries you’re going to get the best results.
The cake batter itself is moist and buttery, enriched with both butter and buttermilk for a very flavorful base for the blueberries. Lemon zest is creamed into the butter and sugar, which releases even more of the potent lemon oil from the zest as it rubs against the coarse sugar. The lemon flavor does not dominate the cake, however, which allows the berries, buttermilk, vanilla and other elements of the cake to stand out without being overshadowed by tangy lemon.
Like so many other coffee cakes, this one is topped with streusel. To complement the lemon in the buttermilk coffee cake batter, I added some lemon zest to the streusel as well. The streusel doesn’t have a strong lemon flavor, but you can clearly taste the extra lemon when you’re eating the cake and that gives it a nice brightness, as well as adding a sweet and crunchy topping to the moist cake.
Lemon Blackberry Coffee Cake with Lemon Streusel
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/4 cup butter, chilled
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest
3 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
16-oz (approx 2 cups) blackberries
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9-inch square baking pan.
Make the streusel. In a medium bowl, whisk together all streusel ingredients except the chilled butter.
Cut chilled butter into several small pieces and rub into the dry ingredients until the mixture appears to have a sandy texture and no pieces of butter larger than a small pea remain.
Make the cake. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and lemon zest until mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract.
Stir in one third o the flour mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk. Stir in another third of the flour mixture, followed by the remaining buttermilk. Stir in remaining flour mixture, mixing just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Fold in blackberries.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Top evenly with streusel mixture.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Cool completely in the pan before serving.