The Best Blueberry Coffee Cake

Food blogger Heather Christo has a secret family recipe for blueberry coffee cake, perfected over generations, which she says will “make your house smell like heaven.” Here’s how to make it on your next lazy Saturday morning…

The Best Blueberry Breakfast Cake You’ll Ever Have
by Heather Christo, author of the blog Heather Christo Cooks and the cookbook Heather Christo’s Generous Table

I’ve always had a love affair with coffee cake. It started when I was a kid and my grandparents would visit from the Midwest. I loved Grampy best, because every single morning he was always up at some ungodly hour hitting the local Italian bakery for donuts, bear claws and big slices of coffee cake topped with icing and streusel. Or sometimes he would even just stop by the local Safeway and bring home an Entenmann’s Crumb Cake. Later, in college, I got into a daily habit of eating the coffee cake at Starbucks. I said daily. I mean, I’m not claiming I was discerning about coffee cake; I’m just saying that I ate it all, and I loved it.

My mother, however, was discerning and she believed in “scratch only!” baked goods. Of all the things she made, my favorite by far was my Great Aunt Ruth’s Coffee Cake, which my mom made on Saturday mornings. Coffee cake made the entire house smell like a beautiful symphony of cinnamon and sugar, laced with a little tangy buttermilk. The four of us kids would squabble over who got seconds. Ah, childhood.

I have kept that great love of coffee cake alive today with my Buttermilk Blueberry Coffee Cake, which I bake on Saturday mornings as often as I can for my husband two little girls. Great Aunt Ruth’s recipe is here in spirit, but I have created my own version with incredible flavor and the perfect moist texture. I added blueberries because they bring some brightness to the cake, although I think it would be easy to sub in raspberries or blackberries.

One more note: This is totally perfect for a brunch. You can make it ahead of time, it’s a really beautiful presentation, and your house will smell like heaven.

Recipe: Buttermilk Blueberry Coffee Cake with Brown Butter Vanilla Glaze

You’ll need:

For the cake:
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. nutmeg
¼ cup buttermilk
1 cup fresh blueberries

For the glaze:
4 tbsp. butter
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. milk

Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a 10-inch bundt pan (with a removable bottom) with baking spray.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until well incorporated. Add the eggs and the vanilla and beat until fluffy. Then add the sour cream and beat until the batter is smooth and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, and then add the dry ingredients to the batter and partially mix together. Add the buttermilk and beat until you have a smooth batter.

Remove the mixing bowl of batter from the mixer, and, using a spatula, gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer the batter to the prepared bundt pan and bake at 350F for 55 minutes, or until a skewer just comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes before turning over onto a cake plate. While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze.

In a small pan, melt the butter and continue to cook on low heat until the butter has turned a dark golden brown color. When it reaches this color, (but before it burns!), set aside. In a small bowl add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and then whisk in the brown butter. Thin out the glaze with the milk, and whisk until the glaze is smooth and runny.

When you have turned the cake out onto a cake plate, drizzle the glaze over the top. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.

Thank you, Heather!

P.S. More best recipes, including olive oil cake, lemon cake and coffee cake.

(Photos and recipe by Heather Christo of Heather Christo Cooks. Thanks to Shoko for helping with this series.)

  1. Claire says...

    Hello! I wonder if anyone is still looking g at this post, I have used this recipe dozens of times since it was posted 7 years ago and it is a family favourite. I want to know how people have stopped the blueberries collecting at the bottom of the cake and making it a bit soggy. I’ve tried dusting them with flour but that hasn’t worked- don’t get me wrong they are delicious but just would like a bit of a crisp to the bottom :-)

  2. Lauren says...

    This recipe can be persnickety but it’s worth it! I used almost 2 cups of frozen blueberries and had to put foil over the top and bake it for an extra 20 minutes. For the glaze I used a whole cup of powdered sugar and an extra tablespoon or two of milk. Wish I could post a picture cause it turned out perfectly!

  3. Jane says...

    Hi! I was wondering if I could make this and then freeze it when it cooled? What do you think? Can’t wait to try!

  4. Alielle Vane says...

    Made this today, but with a scant cup of yogurt in place of sour cream, milk in place of buttermilk, and WW AP flour. Needed more time in the oven but came out moist and delicious. Going to share some with the neighbors/friends this afternoon. Thank you!

  5. This is my first visit on this site and i found it very informative as you have provided here in this post. 
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  6. That coffee cake looks amazing. I’ll definitely have to try it.

  7. Wow this is the first time I’m commenting on something that I’ve made but this cake was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I’m not a big fan of bundt cakes so I opted to cut this recipe in half and put it in a 9 inch round pan and it came out perfect. I don’t really like brown butter so instead of the glaze, I found a recipe for streusal topping and turned it into more of a Crumb Cake. This recipe definitely is going to be a go-to recipe :)

  8. That is so fun and easy to do! Can’t wait to do this with the kids. Thanks so much i really liked your ideas and recipes. Here is also available same recipes for Adult cakes.

  9. Just made this and it truly is delicious! Thankfully today was a cool day here which is quite unusual for August. The house smells great too! Thanks for sharing. It is a keeper.

  10. i wonder if you could make this in a loaf pan instead?

  11. hmm i just made this yesterday and the cake is delicious but the glaze is not white, its more clear… so I’m wondering what I did wrong…

    • Joanna Tsay says...

      That happened to me too, right when I added the milk. Too much maybe? I was a bit devastated that everything came put perfectly except for that, haha.

  12. This cake looks amazing! I love blueberry coffee cake!

  13. Made this last week and it was delicious! A little bit of lemon juice on the glaze made it extra yummy. Thanks for the recipe.

  14. A small tip – to prevent all the blueberries sinking to the bottom of the cake, cover them in flour before mixing them into the batter! That way they won’t sink and will be distributed all through the cake :)

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  16. i don’t have a bundt pan, would this recipe work to sub in a different shape pan? loaf, round, square…? it looks so yummy, maybe i’ll have to add a bundt pan to my arsenal!

  17. Made this yesterday and it’s delightful! My 3.5 year old declared it the best cake she’d ever eaten, funnily enough. Maybe Heather will answer a question: should the brown butter be cool before mixing it with the other icing ingredients? Mine was quite hot when I added it and, while utterly delicious, the icing turned out more like a light caramel syrup.

  18. a says...

    Just finished making this cake and it is scrumptious! Thanks for the great recipe. The whole family is giving this cake rave reviews.

  19. will definitely be trying this one out this weekend! what a divine recipe!

  20. Sounds yummy. I’ve always found American recipes for coffee cake confusing (well until recently). Here in Ireland (and I’m assuming the UK too), coffee cake refers only to cake with coffee in it, i.e. coffee flavoured cake.

  21. Ohhhhh I love coffee cakes’! here in Spain it is usual to have a coffe with cake in the afternoon “la merienda”!
    i will try to cook this one! marvellous photos!
    kisses from Madrid

  22. Ohhhhh I love coffee cakes’! here in Spain it is usual to have a coffe with cake in the afternoon “la merienda”!
    i will try to cook this one! marvellous photos!
    kisses from Madrid

  23. LV says...

    This looks so delicious and looks very close to the blueberry coffeecake I make for my family.

  24. Looks so yummy and fluffy and fresh with blueberries!

  25. And she’s so nice! Met her at a meet and greet in Seattle for the equally lovely Aida Mollenkamp. Going to have to try this recipe!

  26. Exactly what I was looking for to finish up the last of our blueberries! Perfect timing. xo

  27. If you flour the blueberries lightly before you put them in the batter, they won’t sink to the bottom. (:

  28. I’ve always just loved the Entenmann’s coffee cake. I guess that’s because I grew up with it, This looks TO DIE FOR, I really, really want to try it out.

    Je M’appelle Molly

    xo Molly

  29. Firstly, I just have to say that I love that expression, ‘scratch only’. I’m too am a ‘scratch only’ kinda cake girl, much to my eight year-old daughters despair. Every year, on her birthday I make a cake for her to take into school to share with her class mates. She kind of takes it in with a gloom dread hanging over her. Don’t get me wrong, I can bake a cake and she loves what I make, but deep down she just wants to buy a boxed celebration cake from the supermarkets like the ones her friends bring in on their birthdays. But no, sadly for her I’m a ‘scratch only’ mum. Something she just have to live with :)

    I must say the combination of blueberries and chocolate isn’t something I have thought of before, or indeed come across here in the UK. However I am totally convinced. I will have to have a go at this recipe before long – who knows, I might even make it for my daughters next birthday so she can take it into school.


  30. The cake looks delicious, but I’m truly mesmerized by the lovely blue plates! I’d love a tip on where to find some for myself!

    • These plates both came from Anthropologie!

  31. Trying to have less sugar but this looks so tempting! Beautiful food :)

  32. I love blueberries and I love cake! Oh, that looks made for me! Normally June is one of my favourite months because my farmers market is full of blueberries… But not this year!!! Sinf! I don’t know why, maybe it has been a bad year for blueberries in Europe! This crisis! ;)

    I love your food posts, Joanna,

  33. yum! Looks like a great cake to take to church

  34. this is so much like my grandma’s recipe! and it’s my favorite to make for family as well.

  35. these are exactly the types of pictures that make me rethink paleo diets…good lord that looks amazing!

  36. Now, am I being a moron (probable!) or is there no coffee listed in the ingredients or method of this cake recipe? Sorry if I’m being super dense and have just skipped over it!

    • Usually coffee cake is just intended to serve with coffee- it doesn’t actually have coffee in the recipe

    • Coffee cake is a cake you eat with coffee. Coffee is not an ingredient.

    • How bizarre!

  37. Annnd into the recipe box you go, blueberry coffee cake. this looks divine! Thanks for sharing.