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
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

For the Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon packed lemon zest, from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 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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Reviews & Comments

  • My cake has been in the oven for nearly an hour and the middle is completely raw. It’s in a 9” square glass baking dish. The edges are brown. What do I need to adjust?

    • — Joy on June 19, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Joy, I’m sorry you had a problem with this baking unevenly. Glass conducts heat better than metal so it can cause the edges to brown before the center is done. In those cases, I recommend reducing the oven temperature by 25°F and letting it bake a little longer. That said, it seems really strange that the center was completely raw after almost an hour. Is there any chance you made a measuring error?

      • — Jenn on June 21, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen, can I use my kitchenaid mixer instead of a handheld mixer? I gave away my handheld.

    • — Barbara Riddle on June 18, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure – enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 21, 2021
      • Reply
  • Can I make this in a square glass baking dish instead of a pan? Only thing square I have 🙂 thanks!

    • — Stephanie on June 13, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure! Just keep an eye on it and reduce the heat by 25°F if it looks like it’s starting to brown around the edges. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 14, 2021
      • Reply
  • I measured the flour (128g/cup) to avoid a dry cake and the batter was still incredibly thick. Once you add frozen blueberries it clams up and becomes like cement! This means you need to stir harder to distribute the berries, which also makes your cake a bit gray with the juice but no less tasty. At my house we’re thrilled when anything I bake is edible, but just FYI on using frozen berries if you’re concerned with having it look like the picture.

    • — Emily H. on June 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can I half the recipe for a 4×8 loaf pan?

    • — K on June 1, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi K, I haven’t done it, but I think it should work. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on June 3, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hello! Was wondering if we have to bake it longer if using frozen blueberries cause the batter is cold pre-baking?

    And thank you for this recipe! So glad I found your website. Looking forward to trying others! 🙂

    • — Klarizza on June 1, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Klarizza, I don’t think it should take any longer but feel free to add an extra 2 to 3 minutes if the cake tester doesn’t come out clean after the 40 to 45 minute mark. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on June 1, 2021
      • Reply

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