My Lemon Blueberry Crumb Cake has a tender soft vanilla butter cake base with a THICK layer of juicy lemony blueberries and buttery brown sugar crumb topping. It is so easy to make in that the base batter is a simple recipe that you can mix by hand all in one bowl. This recipe will make use of all of your fresh (or frozen) blueberries and is my ideal brunch cake that is perfect for Summertime! It's one of the easiest desserts you can make, and if you love this idea, then try my popular Strawberry Crumb Cake and Brown Butter Peach Crumb Cake too!
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE:
- Soft and tender butter cake - this simple melt-and-mix recipe makes the softest, most tender lemon butter cake.
- Easy to make - you won't believe how easy it is to make! Although there are three components (the cake, fruit topping and crumble), it comes together in no time without even pulling out your mixer. You can make this all by hand.
- Juicy blueberry topping - a pile of sweetened blueberries goes right over the batter and bakes together. The result is a juicy jammy blueberry layer (like blueberry pie filling) over tender vanilla cake. you'll spoon a thick layer of sweetened blueberries with a bit of lemon juice and flour (to bind the moisture) over top of the batter.
- Buttery crumb topping - you just need 3 ingredients to make a delicious crumble topping. Mix together flour, sugar and butter and sprinkle it over the blueberries.
- Blueberry lemon flavor - a bit of lemon juice really helps brighten and balance the blueberries which are very sweet. Unlike strawberries, blueberries do not have a lot of acidity.
- Lemon blueberry glaze - if you scroll down to the bottom of this post, you'll see an image with the most stunning fuchsia glaze naturally-colored by the blueberry juices and lemon juice. This is optional but SO delicious and very pretty.
- All purpose flour - unbleached all-purpose flour works great for tender butter cake. I would avoid cake flour which absorbs more moisture and could actually make this cake a bit dry without altering the other ingredients.
- Unsalted butter - this recipe uses pure butter. It is so buttery and delicious even with only 6 tablespoons in the cake batter! It's surprisingly light compared to most crumb cakes and you won't even know it. You'll need butter for the cake batter and the crumb topping.
- Granulated sugar - simple granulated sugar keeps this cake soft and doesn't interfere with the pureness of the butter cake and strawberry topping.
- Brown sugar - a bit of brown sugar gives the crumb topping a bit of a caramel-like richness.
- Eggs - two large eggs will add nice structure for the butter cake.
- Pure vanilla extract - vanilla is essential to make this delicious butter cake. I like this Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extract.
- Sour cream - use full fat sour cream to balance the sweetness and add more richness to this recipe. If you don't have sour cream where you live, read down below in my FAQ section for my substitution recommendations.
- Blueberries - you can use fresh or frozen blueberries in this recipe, although I do recommend fresh berries to get the fluffiest and softest cake. Frozen berries will leak moisture so the cake will require a longer baking time cook it out. Frozen fruit will also cool down the cake batter so that the cake will bake more slowly. you can use either fresh or frozen berries for this recipe. Note that if you use frozen blueberries they will cool down the cake batter and you may need to bake it for a bit longer. That's why I use a 9x9-inch pan (instead of an 8x8-inch pan) which creates more surface area so the cake bakes more evenly.
- Milk - any type of milk will do. I prefer whole milk for baking. It should be at room temperature so measure it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before baking.
- Lemon juice - this is very important when baking with blueberries because blueberries are very sweet and don't contain a lot of natural acidity like other berries. You'll need a bit for the blueberry layer and also to make the glaze if you choose to.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
- STEP 1). Make the crumb topping. Combine the flour, sugars and melted butter in a medium bowl and blend well so it forms clumps. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set aside.
- STEP 2). Make the cake batter - mix butter with sugar. Melt the butter and then let it cool slightly. Mix the melted butter with both types of sugar, vanilla and lemon zest using a whisk until it looks creamy, pale and fluffy.
- STEP 3). Add eggs. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until the batter looks smooth and custardy. Mix in sour cream.
- STEP 4). Combine dry ingredients. Sift flour, baking powder salt into a separate bowl and whisk it to blend evenly.
- STEP 5). Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and fold gently to combine the ingredients until they are mostly combined.
- STEP 6). Add milk. Pour in the milk and fold it in gently until the batter is homogeneous. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
- STEP 7). Make the blueberry layer. Place blueberries in a bowl. Combine flour and sugar and sprinkle it over the berries, then toss them together so they are evenly coated. Spoon the berries evenly over the cake batter in the pan, then crumble the crumb mixture evenly over the berries in clumps.
- STEP 8). Bake. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the crumb topping is golden and the blueberry juices are bubbling and thick. Transfer to a wire rack and let the cake cool.
- STEP 9). Make the glaze. Combine icing sugar with reserved blueberry juices and lemon juice and drizzle over the slightly warm cake just before serving. Enjoy!
EXPERT BAKING TIPS FOR LEMON BLUEBERRY CRUMB CAKE
- Use room temperature ingredients. Since this is a simple melt-and-mix method, it is important to have all ingredients at the same temperature (not cold!) in order to help them blend evenly together. Make sure the milk is at room temperature since you need to mix it in at the end.
- Sift the dry ingredients. This is optional, but it will minimize the amount of mixing needed to combine the ingredients evenly so that you do not over-mix the batter. It will give you the best results for a finer texture crumb as well since the sieve will break up all the flour particles.
- Do not over-mix the batter. It's ok if there are a few streaks of flour remaining when you fold in the dry ingredients since the last step is to fold in the milk which will continue to incorporate all of the ingredients.
- Use salted butter for the crumb topping. Salted butter will add extra richness to the topping and it means you don't need to add salt. If you use unsalted butter, it's no problem - just add a pinch of salt.
- Don't skip the lemon juice. A couple of teaspoons might not seem like a big deal, but blueberries really benefit from a bit of acid to enhance their flavor since they do not contain a lot of natural acidity.
Yes, you can make this cake the day before you plan to serve it and keep it covered overnight after it cools. Since the blueberries have a lot of moisture, I would recommend keeping this cake refrigerated.
They are in fact very similar! Coffee cake is normally made with sour cream and is a dense cake. This crumb cake has a combination of sour cream and milk for a lighter, softer texture.
This cake is soft thanks to the proportion of eggs to flour. It's just the right balance to make a sturdy yet soft and tender cake.
If your cake turns out way too dense with a gummy layer, then it could be that you added too much flour (make sure to weight it or spoon it into the measuring cup gently without packing it down), or that it is under-baked. The heavy wet fruit on top of this cake batter means that it will need more baking time than usual. Also, check the shelf life of your baking powder - it could be expired.
Too much flour and not enough sugar is the main reason why cake can turn out dry and dense. It is important to have the right proportions of liquid to dry ingredients for successful baking.
If you can't find sour cream where you live, you can also make this cake with full fat Greek yogurt or crème fraiche.
You can use fresh or frozen blueberries in this recipe. Frozen berries will leach water into the cake batter and has a tendency to make the crumb topping soggy, so you may need to bake it for a few minutes longer. What I like to do with frozen blueberries is place them in a strainer and let them thaw for 10-15 minutes just to melt any ice crystals away. Do not let them thaw completely though or they will be mushy.
Yes, you can make this in a 9-inch round cake pan and the baking time will be about the same. If you only have an 8-inch square pan, you can still make this recipe (like my Strawberry Crumb Cake), but then I would highly recommend fresh berries since the frozen berries will require a longer baking time and a smaller pan means less surface area so the cake will not bake as evenly.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
How to store blueberry crumb cake?
This cake will keep well in an airtight container for 1 day at room temperature, and then keep it refrigerated for up to 5 days. To serve, pull it from the fridge about 20 minutes in advance.
How to serve blueberry crumb cake?
This cake is so delicious that I serve it with nothing else! It is best served warm, yet still absolutely delicious at room temperature. If you want to jazz it up, I'd suggest some lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream with some fresh sliced strawberries on top.
Baking with bluebs:
Looking for more recipes with blueberries? Try these:
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Lemon Blueberry Crumb Cake
For the crumb topping:
- ¾ cup 105g all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon 25g granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoon 45g packed light brown sugar
- 5 tablespoon 70g salted butter, melted (or add a pinch of salt)
For the cake batter:
- 6 tablespoon 84g unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup 100g granulated sugar
- ¼ cup 55g packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon 5ml pure vanilla extract
- zest of one lemon
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- ⅓ cup 80ml sour cream
- 1 ⅓ cups 190g all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup 80ml milk
For the blueberries:
- 2 ½ cups 300g frozen wild blueberries
- 1 ½ tablespoon 14g all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tablespoon 18g granulated sugar
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x9-inch baking pan with parchment paper leaving a 2-inch overhang at each side.
- For the crumb topping, combine flour, both sugars and salt (if you’re using unsalted butter) in a medium bowl and whisk to blend evenly so that there are no lumps of brown sugar. Add melted butter to the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until evenly combined, then toss with your fingertips to form large crumbs. Cover with a tea towel and set aside.
- For the cake batter, combine melted butter, both sugars, vanilla and lemon zest in a medium mixing bowl and whisk until pale and fluffy-looking. Whisk in eggs one at a time until very light and creamy. Mix in sour cream. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl and whisk to blend evenly. Add it to the wet mixture and fold it in by hand with a spatula until mostly incorporated. Pour in milk and fold it in until batter is evenly combined. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
- For the blueberry layer, combine blueberries with flour, sugar and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Toss it all together until blueberries are evenly coated and scatter evenly over the batter. Then, scatter clumps of crumb topping evenly on top to cover the blueberries.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes until the crumbs are lightly golden and the cake feels firm to the touch. A toothpick inserted into the center should comes out without any wet batter. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.