Blueberry Coffee Cake

Prize Coffee Cake with Blueberries

Do you feel that family recipes are sacred? I used to. I would stick to the recipes passed to me not daring to deviate in the slightest. But the longer I've been baking, the more I feel open to tweaking. Same goes with recipes from other sources. Perhaps its more about confidence than anything else.

This recipe, listed in my book as "Prize Coffee Cake" due to its history winning ribbons at the LA Country Fair, was a staple in my house growing up. My dad would make it on weekend mornings and I'd always go for a corner piece, because extra topping seemed to collect there.  Over time, I've made a few changes. A bit of wheat flour here, a little less cinnamon there, some blueberries because I live in Maine and have a ton in my freezer. 

In the end, I don't think Dad would mind. Maybe he'd even go for a second slice. :) 

Prize Coffee Cake

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup (or 1/2 stick) butter, softened 
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • ¾ all-purpose flour
  • ¾ wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries (optional)


  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbl melted butter
  • 2 Tbl flour
  • 1-2 Tbl cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease and flour a 9"x9" pan, line with parchment as desired. 

Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix until fully combined. 

In a separate bowl, blend flour, baking powder and salt. Alternating with the milk, add flour mix to butter cream. Pour into pan.

If using, sprinkle blueberries across top of cake, distributing them evenly, then push them down slightly into the thick batter.

Mix together topping ingredients. If necessary add a little more melted butter until it clumps, but we wary- too much butter will cause the topping to turn molten and sink into the batter instead of staying nice and crispy on top.  Sprinkle topping on top of the batter.

Bake 25-35 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool slightly before cutting and serve warm, with butter as desired.

Recipe doubles well, just add 5-10 minutes cooking time for a 9"x18" pan. 

Prize Coffee Cake with Blueberries

Serves 8 Ingredients: 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 1 egg, 3/4 cup wheat flour, 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 cup milk 1/2 cup blueberries 1/2 cup brown sugar 2 Tbl melted butter 2 Tbl flour 2 Tbl cinnamon
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In The Garden

Tomatoes ripening on the vine Plum Tomatoes

Rainbow of Tomatoes

Not a Bell Pepper

Highbush Blueberries

We're far enough into the growing season now for me to discover some surprises in the garden beds due to free-wheeling labeling practices on my farmer's market purchased plants.

For instance, in my last attempt at a veggie garden, one my my "bell peppers" turned out to be a banana pepper. This year, I once again have a fully grown "bell pepper" that is distinctly not bell shaped. Is it a hot pepper? A sweet pepper? Is it even ripe? I have no idea. Based on a preliminary search of the Johnny's catalog, my guess is it's a "Mellow Star" Japanese-style sweet pepper and usually eaten green, but probably not the "Yankee Bell" I thought I bought.

That beautiful rainbow of cherry tomatoes? Supposed to be a sauce/plum type called "Juliet". My plan was to make salsa and sauce out of my tomatoes, since I'm not a big fan of eating tomatoes straight, but we'll see. In any case, I'm going to have a lot of them!

I'm not to worried about my mystery plants though, it's a good way to try something new, but it does make it harder to replicate if I find out I really like it!

With the exception of the broccoli, which is struggling against dual attacks from woodchucks and some insect I can't find (probably cabbage moths), everything is growing well at this point.  I've been enjoying some delicious salads and pesto and best of all the blueberries are starting to ripen! We put bird netting over the bush this year, in hopes to getting to harvest more fruit than usual, fingers crossed for some blueberry muffins soon!

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Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

I have a love/hate relationship with blueberries that falls directly on the low bush/high bush divide. I'll admit it, before I moved to Maine I didn't know there were different kinds, but boy is there a big difference. The low-bush or wild blueberry is a thing of beauty, small, tart and delicious. The high bush blueberry on the other hand, I feel is gritty, heavy, and lacking in flavor. In short  - I am not a fan.

I wish I could say the berries in the recipe came from wild blueberries we hand picked somewhere in a distant field (and if you know a good place to pick wild blueberries in Southern Maine, let me know - please!!), but they didn't - but they are wild Maine blueberries, and those are tasty enough for me.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

(adapted from Whipped's Cranberry Orange Muffins)

Makes 12-16 muffins

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • zest
 of one washed lemon
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1 Tablespoon lemon juice)
  • 1  to 1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen wild blueberries

Preheat oven to 375°F.

If making buttermilk, mix milk and lemon juice and set aside until needed.

Grease  or line muffin cups. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl.

Whisk together butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, and buttermilk in a separate mixing bowl. With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the flour mixture until just combined.

Toss blueberries in a small amount of flour until coated and fold into batter. Fill each muffin cup about three-quarters full. Bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean (20-24 minutes). Let muffins cool in pan for 5 minutes and eat warm with butter.

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Roadtrip: Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

On Saturday, Mr. Cleaver and I made the drive up to Boothay to visit the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. This was our second visit to the gardens, the first being in the dead of Winter back in 2009.  THe cold tuend us out of the garden that February, but we vowed to return when the place was in bloom and it was well worth the return trip:

The Rose ArborThe blueberries were close to ripe and since you were encouraged to pick the ripes ones - we managed to fine one or two

Little Bug

My Dad always called Lamb's Ears "Cowboy Toilet Paper"

Water's Edge

Maybe the most beautiful shade of blue I've ever seen:


Is it weird to take a picture of yourself with a sign with your fake last name?

Cleaver Garden

The Gnome Depot

Some red, white, and blue....

Red, White, and Blue

Which reminds to post a sneak peak of my 4th of July dress!

4th of July Dress Sneak Peak

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