Lemon Blueberry Crumb Tea Cake

Saturday, July 25, 2015

As usual, I signed up for dessert. Well, I volunteered, actually. And after finding out the menu was sushi, I thought a light tea cake, maybe a fruity kind, would be ideal.

Berries were in season, so that was settled, and blueberries are my favorite because they hold up in loaves and become so moist and ooze out their sweet juices when baked. And paired with lemons, it's a match made in the oven. Swoon!

Still to decide was the form this lemon blueberry delight will come in. A loaf wasn't going to cut the aesthetic part of it. Great for home, but not so for a plated dessert. Not muffins or cupcakes... It would have to be a sheet cake. More like squares. But not just blueberry bars like this. I wanted some 'cake matter' as well.

And so this blueberry tea cake came to be. A bar cum sheet cake and who can resist the lovely crunch from the crumb topping? Well, that was it! A Blueberry Crumb Tea Cake. Because after sushi, we would be having matcha, not coffee... hence the 'tea' cake.

Happy to say that it was such a hit with the host and her guests, and my troop of food critics at home.

3 cups flour
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar (reduce to 1/2 cup if using the lemon drizzle)
3 eggs, room temperature
3 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
Scant 1/4 cup Blueberry Liqueur (or blueberry juice)
1/2 tbsp lemon zest
3 cups blueberries, washed and dried

Crumb topping:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cups flour
4 tbsp butter, softened

Lemon drizzle (optional):
1/2 cup icing sugar
4 tbsp lemon juice

1. Make a sling for a 13x9 inch baking pan by lining it with 2 sheets of parchment paper (one in each direction) with enough overhang to lift from the sides.
2. Combine the crumb topping ingredients, either whirring them in a food processor, or pinching the butter bits into the dry ingredients, until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set this aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set this aside.
4. In a bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
5. Now would be a good time to start preheating the even to 350F.

6. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
7. On medium low speed, add the yogurt, liqueur or juice, and the lemon zest.
8. Fold in the flour mixture in 2 batches, taking care not to deflate the batter by overmixing.
8. With a wooden spoon, gently fold in the blueberries.

9. Place the batter (will be slightly thick) into the prepared pan, and with a small spatula, even it out in the corners.
Tip: I like to drop thick battered cakes like this onto a towel lined counter. About a 4 inch drop will do. A few times, if needed. Gets rid of air pockets and you don't need to wash the spatula. Ahaaa! Light bulb moment :)
10. Sprinkle the crumb topping on the batter.
11. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a skewer comes clean (unless you punctured a juicy berry in there), all you are looking for is no wet dough, anyway.

12. While cake is baking, whisk the drizzle ingredients and pour into a ziplock bag.

13. When the kitchen smells of blueberry goodness and the cake is done, cool on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes before enlisting a family member to help lift up the cake (via the sling you deftly made) and placing it on the cooling rack to cool completely.
Of course yours truly had to rush to brunch so we just grabbed the cake straight from the oven onto the cooling rack. It was so moist, so soft. yumm! And more importantly, it held up. I do not recommend, but let's just say its good to know it can be done ;)

14. When slightly cooled (again, couldn't wait), snip off the end of the ziplock bag and drizzle the fragrant icing onto your perfectly crumbed coffee ... oops! ... tea cake.

Bring to brunch, please the host, and give in to the rave reviews of the other guests. Another recipe for keeps! Another cake successfully pulled off for the blog! Another portable treat for the kids! Hmmm... I wonder which is more gratifying.

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