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Friday, July 4, 2014

Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Friendship can be a tricky thing. Making them, keeping them and enjoying them gets harder as you get older. If you're fortunate enough to have lifelong friendships that make you feel comfortable and open, then congratulations. But for most of us, friendships that survive growing up, marriage, kids, time and distance is a rare animal indeed. And fighting, let's not forget the fights, because friends who care about each other will invariably get into arguments.

As you get older and become set in your ways it's harder to approach other people, to put yourself out there on a ledge and expose your true self for the sake of making a new friend. Finding those that share similar life experiences or an interest in the same things can even be a chore. And if you're already married to your BEST friend it's nearly impossible to find another friend who will measure up.

Hell, I'm not even sure what point I'm trying to make with this post unless it's to say hold onto your friends. Or maybe I'm saying friends are a pain-in-the-butt that may or may not be worth the frustration. It's a social crapshoot sometimes so draw your own conclusions on what I'm trying to say.

I had some friends over from dinner and cake, so a post about friendship sounded like a good idea in my head, but now....

Let's just talk about the cake, alright?

It's a fairly straight-forward coffee cake base, with a tender crumb. I think I over-baked it a little because I found the cake portion to be a little dry. The cream cheese topping adds a nice tang to what could have been a boring cake. The blueberry and almonds are a great compliment to the cream cheese and make for a great combination. My friends liked it.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

    For the blueberry topping:
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons water, divided
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • For the cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • For the topping and assembly:
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
To make the blueberry topping:
Combine blueberries, 1/4 cup water, and lemon juice in a 1- to 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils. Lower heat and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally. Simmer until blueberries have split and released their juices (about 3 minutes).
In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and 2 teaspoons water. Add to blueberry mixture. Stir until thickened (about 1 minute).
Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9- or 10-inch springform pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour and sugar. Add butter and mix with a pastry blender or a fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Remove 1/2 cup of mixture and set aside to use for the topping.
Add lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to remaining flour mixture. Mix just until combined.
In a separate bowl, mix yogurt, egg, and vanilla until blended and smooth. Add to flour mixture and mix just until combined.
Transfer batter to prepared pan. Spread evenly.
To make the topping and assemble the cake:
Beat cream cheese, sugar, egg, and lemon juice until smooth. Spread mixture over cake batter, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges.
Spread cooled blueberry mixture over cream cheese mixture. Leave some of the cream cheese mixture visible around the outermost edges.
Stir almonds into reserved cake mixture. Sprinkle over cake, placing most of the mixture around the outer edges.
Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and the center of the cake barely jiggles when the pan is gently shaken.
Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then, release the pan's latch and remove the sides of the pan.
Serve warm or at room temperature.