This Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake is a quick and easy way to enjoy some of the best fruit of the season: blueberries! This breakfast or snacking cake comes together in minutes, making for a quick and easy delicious treat.
Served as part of an Easy Brunch or tucked into lunchboxes, this coffee cake is delicious as a side dish, but it’s also great as a main event for your coffee break. Pour up one of your favorite Iced Coffee Drinks and sit a spell.
Fresh blueberries, tart and sweet and crunchy are delicious in Berry Salad or Yogurt Berry Parfaits. But once they soften a bit, they’re better for baking. That’s where this Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake recipe comes in.
Imagine a sweet, toothy cake, dotted with blueberries, and topped with a salty, oaty crumble. Such a great mix of textures and flavors — and so delicious!
Why Make This
It’s so easy. The coffee cake itself comes together in minutes even though it’s got three layers: batter, berries, and crumb topping. The ginger adds a nice warmth to the cake while the crumb topping is salty and crunchy to offset the sweetness of the berries.
It’s a great way to use up blueberries. Fresh blueberries that have lost their crunch and bloom are still great to use in baking. This is a must-add to your repertoire of blueberry recipes.
It’s cake! Coffee cake is kind of my jam. It’s so easy to make, it bakes all in one pan, AND IT’S CAKE! How can you say no to cake for breakfast?!
Trust me when I say you’ll be willing to heat the oven this summer when you’ve got fresh blueberries on hand!
Here’s what you need to make this Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake:
flours – I use a combination of whole wheat flour as well as unbleached all-purpose flour to get some whole grains in our diet. You can use all of one if you prefer, though go for a lighter grind whole wheat such as whole wheat pastry flour.
brown sugar – I love the rich flavor brown sugar brings. Remember you can make your own brown sugar if you run out or you can substitute granulated.
rolled oats – Just a bit of oats adds a nutty flavor and texture to this Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake.
lemon zest – Lemons and blueberries are perfect partners, like in my Lemon Blueberry Scones. You can use dried lemon zest or freshly zested. Remember that you can freeze lemons, so if you have extra or no immediate use for the juice of the lemon, tuck it away in the freezer.
ground ginger – This adds a warmth and spice to the coffee cake. If you like you can swap in nutmeg or cinnamon.
salt – Salt helps quick breads rise. Don’t leave it out.
butter – You’ll need 1 1/2 sticks of butter. You can also use margarine or plant butter. In a pinch you can substitute a neutral cooking oil, like avocado.
baking powder and baking soda – You’ll need both of these to give the coffee cake its lift. there are lots of baking substitutes if you run out. If you need to make your own baking powder for this recipe, use 3/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 2 teaspoons cream of tartar for each tablespoon needed. Mix it well and then measure out a teaspoon.
buttermilk – I like to use real cultured buttermilk, but if you don’t have that you can substitute 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup yogurt. Increase the protein by using Greek yogurt. If you have leftover, remember to freeze buttermilk, use it in these buttermilk recipes, or use it to culture your own buttermilk.
egg – You only need one, but if you’re running short, you can use Flaxseed Meal Egg Substitute.
blueberries – I typically use fresh, but you can use frozen blueberries as well. Just be sure not to thaw them. Just sprinkle them on and adjust the baking time as needed. If you end up berry picking or buying extra berries, be sure to try bake them into Blueberry Muffins or Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes.
I think this Blueberry Lemon combo is fantastic, but if you’d like to take this coffee cake in other directions, you absolutely can!
- Swap out the blueberries for cranberries, raspberries, or blackberries. You can also use chopped nuts, seeds, or chocolate chips in place of the berries.
- Use orange zest instead of lemon if you like.
- Use a different spice, like cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, or pumpkin pie spice.
- Add 1 teaspoon extract to the batter, such as vanilla, almond, or maple.
Before you begin, you’ll need to preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or line it with parchment.
1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, place the flours, oats, lemon zest, the ginger, salt, and butter cubes. Pulse until coarse crumbs are formed. Alternatively, you can place the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and cut the butter in with a pastry blender or two knives.
2. Remove one cup of the crumb mixture and place in a small mixing bowl.
3. To the mixture in the food processor, add the baking powder and baking soda. Pulse lightly to mix. Add the buttermilk, sugar, and egg. Pulse until a thick batter forms.
4. Spread the batter in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the berries across the top. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the berries. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the cake is golden and cooked through. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Cool completely and wrap individual squares in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container. Alternatively, layer squares or slabs of coffee cake in plastic container, separating the layers with parchment paper or deli wrap. Thaw at room temperature to serve.
No, blueberry coffee cake does not need to be refrigerated. Store at room temperature and consume within 2 days. Refrigerate if the weather is extreme.
Yes! This is a great coffee cake to freeze. Cool it completely first. Cut into squares, wrap in plastic wrap, and stash in a ziptop freezer bag. Alternatively, you can store the squares in an airtight container with a lid, separating the layers with parchment paper or deli paper. Use with 6 weeks.
To make this Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake dairy-free or vegan, you’ll need to make a few adaptations. Substitute plant butter or oil for the butter; Use 1 cup plant milk plus 1 tablespoon white vinegar for the buttermilk. Use the flaxseed egg substitute for the egg.
Knowing how much it costs you to prepare a recipe can help you decide if it’s the type of recipe to make regularly or one you might want to save for special occasions. Let’s crunch some numbers and see how this recipe pencils out.
- flours – $0.37
- sugar – $0.17
- oats – $0.06
- lemon zest – $0.10
- ginger – $0.03
- salt – $0.01
- butter – $1.38
- baking powder – $0.02
- baking soda – $0.02
- buttermilk – $0.80
- egg – $0.15
- blueberries – $1.31
Shopping at a mid-range grocery store at non-sale prices, you can expect to pay $4.42 for a batch or 37 cents a piece! Commercial coffee cakes start at about five bucks, so homemade is clearly cheaper and better-tasting.
Be sure to review the Good Cheap Eats System so you can lower your costs even further.
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Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake
- 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup butter cut into cubes
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 cup blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, place the flours, sugar, oats, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, the ginger, salt, and butter cubes. Pulse until coarse crumbs are formed. Alternatively, you can place the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and cut the butter in with a pastry blender or two knives.
- Remove one cup of the crumb mixture and place in a small mixing bowl. Add another 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to the crumbs and set aside.
- To the mixture in the food processor, add the baking powder, baking soda, buttermilk, and egg. Pulse until a thick batter forms.
- Spread the batter in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the berries across the top. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the berries. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the cake is golden and cooked through. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
This post was originally published on May 17, 2016. It has been updated for content and clarity.