Blueberry Coffee Cake (aka Boy Bait)

Tested & Perfected Recipes
Blueberry Coffee Cake

This tender blueberry coffee cake topped with a crunchy cinnamon streusel is cleverly named for its habit-forming effect on boys.

blueberry coffee cake

This old-fashioned blueberry coffee cake comes with a darling name and story. In 1954, a 15-year-old girl from Chicago named Renny Powell submitted a blueberry coffee cake recipe to the Pillsbury $100,000 Recipe & Baking Contest (the precursor to today’s Pillsbury Bake-Off). Renny took second place in the junior division for her recipe, cleverly named “Boy Bait” for its habit-forming effect on young men.

Tender, easy to make, and jam-packed with berries, boy bait has been popular ever since. My version is updated with lemon zest to complement the flavor of the blueberries and a crunchy cinnamon streusel topping. You certainly don’t need to be a teenage boy to enjoy it, but I can attest that this 14-year-old loves it — so maybe Renny was onto something 😉.

What You’ll Need To Make Blueberry Coffee Cake

how to make blueberry coffee cake

How To Make Blueberry Coffee Cake

To begin, make the streusel topping by combining the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.

how to make blueberry coffee cake

Using your fingers, mix until no lumps of brown sugar remain, then add the cold butter.

how to make blueberry coffee cake

Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture reaches a crumbly state. Refrigerate until ready to use.

how to make blueberry coffee cake

Next, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

how to make blueberry coffee cake

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar until creamy, about 2 minutes.

how to make blueberry coffee cake

Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating well after each addition.

how to make blueberry coffee cake

Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.

how to make blueberry coffee cake

Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beating on low speed to combine.

how to make blueberry coffee cake

The batter will be quite thick.

how to make blueberry coffee cake

Add the berries to the batter.

how to make blueberry coffee cake

Fold gently with a spatula until evenly distributed. Do not over-mix.

how to make blueberry coffee cake

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly.

how to make blueberry coffee cake

Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the batter.

how to make blueberry coffee cake

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and a cake tester comes out clean.

how to make blueberry coffee cake

Let cool in the pan on a rack for about 20 minutes, then serve right from the pan. Enjoy!

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Blueberry Coffee Cake (AKA Blueberry Boy Bait)

This tender blueberry coffee cake topped with a crunchy cinnamon streusel is cleverly named for its habit-forming effect on boys.

Servings: 12 to 16
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Streusel Topping

  • 6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into ½-inch chunks

For the Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon packed lemon zest, from 1 lemon
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (frozen may be used but do not defrost)

Instructions

  1. Make the streusel topping: Combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Using your fingers, mix until no lumps of brown sugar remain. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until it reaches a crumbly state. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Grease a 9-inch square pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  5. Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beating on low speed to combine. Add the berries to the batter and fold gently with a spatula until evenly distributed. Do not over-mix.
  6. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack for about 20 minutes, then serve right from the pan.
  7. This cake is best served on the day it is made. Leftovers will keep well for a few days wrapped in foil and stored at room temperature.
  8. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, double-wrap it securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (16 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 piece
  • Calories: 223
  • Fat: 10 g
  • Saturated fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 31 g
  • Sugar: 15 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Sodium: 169 mg
  • Cholesterol: 47 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • Absolutely fantastic. As others have mentioned, using an 8″ pan (that’s all we had) requires a longer baking time, covering the top with foil, and checking every couple of minutes to make sure the center was done. This method takes some patience, but definitely worth it. One suggestion would be to update the ridiculous name. This is a bakery-quality recipe and it’s 2022, not 1954.

    • — Jill W on May 6, 2022
    • Reply
    • Jill, we’re not rewriting history! That was the name. Those were the times. No one takes it seriously and it’s charming BECAUSE of the name.

      • — Tessa on May 17, 2022
      • Reply
  • I’ve made this cake multiple times and people always ask for the recipe. I’m not sure how people are finding it to be dry and lacking flavor. That hasn’t been my experience at all!! I would definitely recommend trying this!

    • — Beth on May 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • Could these be made into muffins or would the recipe need to be adjusted?
    Xoxox

    • — Bettina Mullin on April 29, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Bettina, These would work as muffins but I have a recipe specifically for blueberry muffins if you’d like to check that out. Hope you enjoy whatever you choose to make!

      • — Jenn on May 1, 2022
      • Reply
  • So delicious! My husband wanted a blueberry coffee cake and this filled the bill. Definitely saved this one.

    • — Lisa on April 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • Unfortunately this was a heavy, sticky batter and heavy, flavorless cake. I have been baking for years too.

    • — LAD on April 21, 2022
    • Reply
    • I agree. I followed the recipe exactly and it was so dry I couldn’t give it to my guests. It also lacked flavor.

      • — Sherry Newman Cook on April 30, 2022
      • Reply
  • WOW – even better than I expected. The lemon zest is a must….oh so good!

    I made muffins. My brother ate one and then gave me grief about letting anybody else have any.

    Wish I could give this recipe more stars. It’s a keeper.

    • — Krayonic on April 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • Perfection. This is EXACTLY what I was looking for.

    There will be a morning coffee toast to you, Jenn Segal, for providing this Saturday morning’s delicious adventure.

    Thank you! Have a wonderful day 🙂

    • — Krayonic on April 2, 2022
    • Reply
    • 💗

      • — Jenn on April 2, 2022
      • Reply
    • One of my most requested desserts.
      I use buttermilk for my milk component, and my homemade vanilla extract. This recipe is GOLD!!

      • — Halle on April 2, 2022
      • Reply
    • Hi Jen, I love your recipes – especially the sour cream coffee cake which is pure perfection that you! Can I make this blueberry coffee cake as muffins? Any adjustments? Thank you!! Jessica

      • — Jessica Bryan on April 13, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi Jessica, Glad you like the recipes! These would work as muffins but I have a recipe specifically for blueberry muffins if you’d prefer to go that route. Hope that helps and that you enjoy whatever you choose to make!

        • — Jenn on April 14, 2022
        • Reply
      • Flavor is good, but I echo similar comments in saying it needs something else (e.g. sour cream / yogurt) to help keep it moist

        • — Terry on April 29, 2022
        • Reply
  • I’ll admit I made a few changes butttt this is a great base recipe! I halved the recipe because it was just for me, baked them as muffins in a cupcake tin at the same temp, swapped heavy whipping cream for milk and used half strawberries and half blueberries. They took about 30mins to bake and came out soooo moist! The lemon zest in the batter and the strusel topping were great! My entire house smelled amazing 🙂

    • — Raven on March 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • We love this cake!! It has become one of our go-to brunch and dessert favorites. I make it with half sugar, half-Stevia, and it tastes great. It’s moist and perfect with coffee! I sometimes add desiccated coconut to the topping and it adds another level of flavor and texture to the cake. This recipe is simple, hearty and indulgent, but not overly sweet or cloying in any way. I plan to try making it with peaches soon. Thanks for sharing, Jenn!

    • — Miren on March 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • We’ve made this multiple times and love it!

    • — Leanna on March 5, 2022
    • Reply
  • I don’t see any coffee being used

    • — jon on February 27, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Jon, Sorry for any confusion. Coffee cake doesn’t actually contain any coffee; it’s just called that as it would be nice served with a cup of coffee. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on February 28, 2022
      • Reply
    • lol…that is such an interesting perspective. Kind of a valid complaint but I don’t think that I’ve ever had coffee cake that actually used coffee in the recipe.

      Usually, “coffee cake” is a variation of a cake that you eat WITH coffee, not made FROM coffee. I can completely see why that would be confusing to somebody trying to search for a genuine coffee flavored cake but it’s not really the fault of this coffee cake recipe. As a matter of fact, I’m even MORE excited to try it now because I know this one-star rating is not based on taste.

      I’m intrigued tho, Jon. I bet Jenn and other people who read your comment are too. A quest for a coffee flavored coffee cake sounds like another great adventure.

      • — Krayonic on April 2, 2022
      • Reply
  • I just made this and it was good but I thought it was a little dry. I used lowfat milk. Do you think that might be the reason? Would it be moister with whole milk?

    • — Anne on February 25, 2022
    • Reply
  • wish I could upload pics…looks just like yours (floating blueberries too)! I used 1.5 amount of streusel topping (just because); dusted the blueberries with a bit of the flour (from the recipe not extra). and most importantly I used a scale with metric measurements just because I hate the whole scoop and level thing…moist and deliciously DEVINE!

    • — Anna on February 25, 2022
    • Reply
  • I am by no means a good baker. I was so nervous to try it because of that! Glad I did!! I nailed it and everyone went back for more. I followed the recipe exactly with the exception of only having an 8 x 8 pan. Wow! This was perfect, and will be a regular from now on. Thank you so much for sharing this! We all really enjoyed it!

    • — Marci Thomason on February 5, 2022
    • Reply

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