Blueberry Coffee Cake

You know what July is? Blueberry Season!

When I was picking berries the other day for this recipe, my friend told me it reminded her of a book she read when she was young called Blueberries for Sal. In it, a little girl named Sal and her mother, and a baby bear and his mother, go berry picking on opposite sides of the same hill. Sal sits and tries to pick as many berries as possible from one spot, before wandering off and accidentally switching mothers with the baby bear, of course.

Let me tell you, you can definitely sit in one spot and pick blueberries without moving for a long time right now. The bushes are full (plus no thorns!)

Another thing that crossed my mind when I was picking blueberries was the interchange between the Von Trapp children and their father in The Sound of Music, when they say they’ve been berry picking as an excuse for sneaking off to see Maria.

The Captain: What kind of berries?
Children: Blueberries, sir.
The Captain: Blueberries…It’s too early for blueberries.
Children: They were strawberries.
The Captain: Strawberries?
Children: It’s been so cold lately, they turned blue.

This coffee cake is amazing (and does, indeed, go great with coffee). Every time I bake something new, I always have a slight worry that it will turn out too grainy, or too dry, or too wet, or not done in the middle, or any other number of not-delicious scenarios. I was delighted to be proven wrong!

I got this recipe form Cybele Pascal’s The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook. She calls it “Blueberry Boy Bait.”


2 cups Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix (below)

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening

3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 6 tablespoons rice milk

3/4 cup rice milk

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries tossed with 1 tablespoon Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix

1/4 cup granulated sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Ingredients for the Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix

(makes 6 cups)

4 cups superfine brown rice flour

1 1/3 cups potato starch (not potato flour)

2/3 cup tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)

When I made this I didn’t need all six cups, so I split it in half as best as I could, and the coffee cake turned out wonderful anyway.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9 by 9, or 11 by 8, inch baking pan and sprinkle with a little gluten-free flour mix, tapping out any extra.

2. Whisk together the flour mix, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the shortening, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Mix on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, or until fluffy. (If you don’t have a mixer, no worries! Mixing by hand works, too.)

4. Add the egg replacer and mix for about 20 seconds.

5. Reduce the speed to medium and beat in one-third of the flour, mixing for 15 seconds.

6. Add half of the rice milk, mixing for 20 seconds.

7. Beat in half of the remaining flour, then the remaining rice milk, and finally the remaining flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

8. Add half of the batter to the pan, using a frosting spatula to spread the batter evenly across the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with half of the blueberries. Top with the remaining batter, spreading it as evenly as possible across the blueberries. Top with the remaining blueberries, then sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

9. Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour, until the cinnamon-sugar mixture has begun to caramelize and the top is golden. Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes before turning out onto a serving platter (or just cut into pieces and serve out of the pan). Serve warm or at room temperature. This cake is even better on day two!

Tip: If using frozen blueberries, keep frozen until the last minute, or they’ll turn your batter blue-green.

This coffee cake came cleanly out of the pan and baked the entire way through: no burning and no wet spots. It was moist, delicious, and the cinnamon-sugar top is absolutely genius. My eat-whatever roommates could not wait for it to come out of the oven, it smelled so good. And they had only praises to offer when they tried it. Mission accomplished!


Tags: , , ,

Categories: Dessert, Season: Summer, Tea time


Became a voracious, unapologetic bookworm in 4th grade after reading the first three Harry Potter books. Have a thing for dystopias, young adult novels, classic literature and funny memoirs (re: Mindy Kaling / Tina Fey). English and journalism geek, media and pop culture critic, food writer and blogger, editor of an entertainment magazine. Hobbies include: my Netflix account, cooking, gardening, music, art and hiking.


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