After making the superb Raspberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake, I couldn’t stop thinking about coffee cake. I strongly felt that the raspberry coffee cake, as excellent as it was (and it really was), could still be better. The crumb could be finer, and the fruit element more pronounced, I thought. It was just missing a certain something I couldn’t quite put my flour-coated finger on.
I hunted around on the Internet, looking at various coffee cake recipes. It seems as though the more common coffee cake recipes are for cinnamon and walnut streudel ones, which I’ve no doubt are fantastic, but I was on the scent of a fruity coffee cake similar to the one I had tried. I searched high and low, and when I became exhausted, my sweet Husband brought me cool water and sponged my forehead with a soft cloth.
The cool water and forehead sponging gave me the strength to carry on, and at last I found the recipe I had been seeking. It had been seeking me, too. We were both born to seek and, having sought, collapse into one another’s arms.
A tender, fine-crumbed, mildly sweet cake base is topped with a sweetened cream cheese “batter,” which is in turn topped with the best crumb topping I’ve ever tried. The whole shebang (what a word!) is topped with a blueberry coulis.
Danish. The word is a salve to my sugar-loving heart! Danish. That’s what I was looking for! That’s what the raspberry sour cream coffee cake aspired to be! Because you see, my ducklings, this is technically a Danish, masquerading as a fruit-laden, crumb-topped coffee cake. This heavenly cake rode into my kitchen on a shining, blueberry-scented horse, and nestled immediately into my heart, becoming an instant all-time favourite of mine. You must try it. You will adore it, as I do! It is the consummate coffee cake!
My single complaint is that there wasn’t enough of the coulis, so I have doubled the recipe below. Use raspberries or blackberries in place of blueberries, if you like. The cream cheese layer could stand to be doubled, but I have left the proportions in their original form in case I’m just nuts.
I am excited that this is the first recipe in which I’ve used my own home-made vanilla extract! I started a batch of 9 cups (2 pint jars and 1 3-cup jar) on March 4 of this year, and it’s about halfway to being fully mature. It’s more than usable, though. I’m using one of the pint jars and letting the rest of the batch finish maturing. I finally got around to posting about how to make your own vanilla! It’s easy, I promise!
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Blueberry Danish Coffee Cake
Note: Make each element in the order listed. Start with the coulis (it takes the longest, though it can be made 2 – 3 days in advance) and end with the cake layer (it can stand only a little time sitting), so that when you finish the cake layer, all of the other elements are ready to rock & roll!
For the coulis:
2 pints fresh blueberries OR fresh raspberries OR fresh blackberries, rinsed
4 – 12 TBS sugar (raspberries require more sugar than blueberries or blackberries)
4 TBS lemon juice
For the cream cheese layer:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
3 TBS sugar
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice OR 1 TBS lemon zest
2 TBS of the coulis, optional (I did not use any of the coulis in the cream cheese mixture)
For the crumb topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 tsp Kosher or coarse salt
1/2 TBS ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted & cooled (I found it necessary to use an extra TBS of butter, for a total of 9 TBS)
For the cake:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 2 TBS sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Kosher or coarse salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 TBS sour cream
1 large egg
1/2 cup + 2 TBS half & half
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the coulis:
Combine all ingredients in a medium, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fruit is mostly dissolved and the mixture has reduced and thickened. This should take about 30 – 45 minutes. If desired, strain the mixture (this is unnecessary for blueberries, but is a good idea if you’re using raspberries or blackberries). Discard seeds. Taste mixture and add more sugar or lemon juice, as needed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Note: The coulis can be made 2 – 3 days ahead of when it will be needed.
For the cream cheese layer:
Beat all ingredients in a medium bowl until well incorporated. (I used a hand mixer for this, but a wooden spoon and some elbow grease would work just as well.) Set aside. Do not refrigerate, or the cream cheese mixture will be too stiff to spread atop cake.
For the crumb topping:
In a medium bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients. Pour the melted butter over the dry ingredients and toss with a large wooden spoon or a rubber spatula until large crumbs form. Set aside.
For the cake layer:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13″ baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together all of the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. Separately, in a large bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients. Gently start to whisk the dry ingredients into the wet; switch to a spatula once the dry ingredients are nearly incorporated into the wet ingredients. Using the spatula, fold the mixture until thoroughly combined.
Spread the batter into the prepared dish; the batter will be about 1/2″ high. Use the spatula to gently push the batter into the corners of the baking dish. Note: It will seem as though the batter is too small in quantity to fill the baking dish, but it will fill the baking dish. The batter will rise and spread while baking (it should rise to about 1″), so don’t fret over its thin appearance.
Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cake batter, covering as much of the surface as you can. Alternatively, you can drop dollops of the cream cheese batter evenly over the surface, or make swirls or vertical lines.
Break the crumb topping into pea-sized bits of joy and sprinkle evenly over the top of the cake. Drizzle the coulis evenly over the top of the crumb layer.
Bake 15 minutes and rotate dish. Bake an additional 15 minutes and check the doneness of the cake. (The center of the cake should pass the toothpick test.) If necessary, bake another 10 – 15 minutes more, or until the center of the cake passes the toothpick test. (I baked my cake for 23 minutes after the 15 minute mark, for a total of 38 minutes.) Let cake sit for 30 minutes and then cut into 3″ squares and serve. Alternatively, allow cake to cool completely before cutting and serving, though cake is best while still warm.
Source: Slightly adapted from The Original Vanilla Sugar Blog