Cake for breakfast is always a treat. Now there are plenty of times were I treat myself to a slice of leftover layer cake from the day before with you morning coffee, but usually cake for breakfast means coffee cake. This Blueberry Lemon Brunch Cake is a moist cake packed with fresh blueberries and bright lemon zest, both flavors that are welcome at my breakfast table. And who doesn’t love a bit of extra fruit with breakfast – especially when it helps to justify an extra piece of cake!
The cake starts with a buttermilk cake batter that is flavored with lots of lemon zest. The lemon zest gives the cake plenty of bright flavor, more than you would get from juice alone. I did use two whole lemons (medium sized lemons) for the zest, so be sure to pick up two and save the zested lemons for juicing later on by storing them in the fridge. The blueberries are folded into the batter just before baking. Some may sink to the bottom of the cake because this is a light textured cake that has quite a lot of berries in it, but as long as you’ve greased your pan or lined it with parchment paper, the cake slices will come out neatly with the berries perfectly intact.
The cake is very moist and tender, much more cake-like than your average blueberry muffin. I topped the cake with a very generous sprinkle of sugar before baking to give it a nice crisp top crust and to add a little additional sweetness to the cake. If you have a favorite streusel recipe, you can certainly sprinkle that on top instead of the sugar to turn this easy cake into a slightly more traditional coffee cake.
As usual, you can use frozen blueberries in this cake recipe instead of fresh if fresh berries aren’t in season. If you are using frozen berries, I recommend using them from frozen and not letting them thaw before folding them into the batter. This will prevent the berry juice from running into the rest of the cake and turning the whole thing blue. Your cake might also need an additional minute or so of baking time, especially if you opt to be generous when you measure out the berries (as I sometimes am!), since cold berries will slightly chill the batter. Fresh blueberries are best when they are in season, so keep this recipe in mind the next time you buy a basket from your local grocery store or farmers’ market.
Blueberry Lemon Brunch Cake
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp lemon zest (2 lemons)
6 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 1/4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 tbsp coarse sugar, for topping
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9-inch cake pan or line with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and sugar.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and lemon zest. Add in dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour in melted butter and whisk until butter is completely incorporated. Fold in blueberries.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle the top of the cake with coarse sugar.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and the top springs back when lightly pressed. Allow cake to cool in the pan until almost room temperature (or at room temperature) before slicing.