I came up with this recipe to use up some fresh blueberries that were going past their freshness date, but I didn’t want just another “blueberry lemon loaf” like I saw in recipes everywhere. I decided to get a bit creative and do a mash-up of a coffee cake and a lemon loaf, where instead of having the berries studded throughout the cake, they would instead be in a lovely little ribbon throughout the centre of the cake, along with a crunchy, sugary, almond-y top crust with the remaining berries showing off their ultimate destiny. After all, not all coffee cakes *have* to have cinnamon in them, and not all quick bread or cake loaves *have* to have icing-only toppings. There are some hard and fast rules in baking, I’ll be the first to admit, but that ain’t one of them. 😉
In addition, just because I happened to have a plethora of blueberries that needed using up doesn’t mean this recipe wouldn’t be equally as tasty with raspberries, or blackberries, or a mixture of the three! If you want to use a tougher berry like a cranberry that doesn’t break down easily, I’d recommend going the extra mile and actually making a cranberry sauce that you can use in the ribbon centre, or maybe just let them be the only berries that are interspersed throughout the cake so they cook correctly. Anyway you slice it (heh, see whut I did there?), this is a delicious, summery cake that you would be proud to serve at your next barbeque or get together.
My apologies for not having a good cross-section photo of this cake; my camera-fu failed me the day I made this, and this is the only (sad) photo I have. You’ll also notice there are no sliced almonds on the top; this is because I was making this in anticipation of offering some to a friend who has a nut allergy, so I omitted the almonds and replaced the almond extract with vanilla (also extremely delicious, by the way). When I make it again, I’ll replace this photo with a better quality version 🙂
Berry-Lemon Coffee Cake
YIELD: 8 servings | PREP: 10 mins | BAKE | 55 mins
- 1½ cups/~215g fresh or thawed from frozen berries, divided
- 1 average-sized lemon, zested (~1tbsp) and juiced (~4-5 tbsp), divided – can also use Meyer lemon
- 1 tsp/5mL almond extract
- ½ cup/94g white sugar
- ½ cup/114g unsalted butter or non-dairy butter alternative, room temp
- ¾ cup/165g light brown sugar, packed
- 2 eggs, room temp
- ½ cup/119mL 2% milk or dairy free alternative
- 1¾ cups/240g cake and pastry flour
- 1 tsp/5g baking powder
- ¾ tsp/5g kosher salt
- 2 tbsp/25g turbinado or sanding sugar
- 2 tbsp/20g sliced almonds
- In a small bowl, combine 1 cup/144g of fresh berries, 3 tbsp/45mL of the lemon juice, 1 tsp/5mL of the lemon zest, the almond extract and white sugar; lightly crush the berries to release some of their juices and set aside for at least 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C and set rack in middle of oven. Line with parchment paper or grease and flour a standard-sized loaf pan. Set aside.
- Cream butter and brown sugar together until light and airy (about 6-7 minutes); beat in eggs one at a time, then stir the remaining lemon juice until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining lemon zest together.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until barely combined; do not overmix.
- Strain the macerated berries from any collected juices and fold the juices gently into the batter. This can be done as a “swirled” effect throughout the batter.
- Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan; cover the surface with the drained berries, then add the rest of the batter to cover completely. Sprinkle the reserved berries, the sliced almonds and the turbinado sugar evenly overtop.
- Place pan on a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and place pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes to “settle”, then remove cake from pan and allow to cool on rack completely.