Monday, September 2, 2013

Coconut Blueberry Bliss Cake

It’s Labor Day. 

How is it that the Memorial Day to Labor Day stretch goes by quicker every year? It’s a fascinating phenomenon we all seem to experience and have trouble accepting. It’s May, then September, and we don’t really know if those J months ever exist. This year I decided to use this feeling as a welcomed opportunity to find a way to embody it, to savor it; to somehow tangibly represent this time of year we all cherish so much. And doing so through a baked good seemed very appropriate.

In terms of summer, you cannot get more summery than hand-picked Maine blueberries. This is fact. And they must be picked from Blueberry Hill Farm in Acton, Maine. On a hot summer afternoon. After a morning woods run. And a swim in Great East Lake. But pre afternoon boat ride…and pre happy hour. With cold Sam Summers. Or Kahlua iced coffees. These are more facts. Are you writing this down? Stick with me here.

For fall, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg enter their prime time to shine come September. Apples start their harvests and have a direct destiny for pie pans and applesauce jars. Cinnamon and nutmeg will be at the ready on every kitchen counter post-harvest, ready to spice and make everything nice. Trust me on that one.

The beauty here is that we can find a middle ground for this seasonal divide; a culinary creation to bridge the gap of summer and fall. And it just so happens that this particular bridge combines all of the seasons’ best traits into one moist, sweet, brown sugar, cinnamony (new word), bursting-with-blueberry-goodness coffee cake. And the coconut? Well, why the heck not? I say. When one is able to give life an exotic, tropical twist – such as adding a crunchy coconut topping to your coffee cake - you say yes. This is another life fact. Jot that down.

Bottom line: make this cake for a special occasion or as a simple way to make your or someone else’s morning cup of coffee even better. It will please everyone’s palate and, most importantly, give us a helpful hand in saying so-long to a wonderful summer and welcome to a fall full of promise and even more flavor. Sounds like bliss to me.

Coconut Blueberry Bliss Cake

Streusel Topping:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus more for coating
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for coating.
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Yogurt Cake:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk plain yogurt (or sour cream) at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 healthy cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

For the Streusel:

Heat the oven to 350F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 9x13 inch pan with butter and flour or spray with Pam and set aside.

Combine the streusel ingredients in a small bowl and mix until well incorporated and clumped. Refrigerated until read to use.

For the Cake:

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl until aerated and lumps are broken up; set aside.

Put the brown sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat over medium speed until light in color and airy. Add the yogurt (or sour cream) and mix well. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until evenly combined. Remove the bowl from the mixture and stir in the flour mixture until just moistened through.  Gently fold in the blueberries.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the streusel over the top and press in to adhere. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and just a few crumbs remain, about 
55 minutes.

Adapted from Shutterbean