While I usually bake based off ideas from cookbooks, magazines, blogs, food sites, TV, or stuff I eat, other times, a very specific idea comes out of nowhere, recipe daydreaming if you will. In June (and yes, I am aware it is now the end of August), I randomly became intrigued with the idea of a coconut blueberry coffee cake. In my mind, it was moist and tender yet sturdy enough for frequent snacking, the kind of cake that dubs for breakfast, snack, or dessert and that I swipe a thin (or sometimes not so thin…) slice off of every time I pass it by. So I poked around until I came across a Gourmet magazine recipe for a toasted coconut streusel coffee cake that was written back in February 1991, a few years before I was even born. Could this archaic recipe satisfy my fixation? It was worth a shot. I adapted it to fit my needs, adding blueberries and halving it to a more manageable size, and hoped for the best. After I removed it from the oven, I anxiously waited a grueling thirty minutes for it to cool slightly until I dug in. It had a spunky personality (if a cake can even have such a thing) and a dynamic flavor– not just toasted coconut and blueberries but also hints of cinnamon and vanilla. The streusel (used both in the middle and on the top of the cake) added the right bit of delicious sweetness to the mildly sweetened cake that only streusel can bring. If only all recipe daydreaming paid off so deliciously.
Toasted Coconut Blueberry Coffee Cake
adapted from Gourmet
For the streusel
6 tablespoons (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) firmly packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits and softened
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted and cooled*
For the cake batter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted and cooled*
1 cup (1/2 pint) blueberries
Make the streusel: In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Blend in the butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal and holds together in clumps. Stir in the coconut and set the streusel aside.
Make the cake batter: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 9-inch square baking dish. (I used Pyrex.) You could also use a 8-inch square pan instead, although the cake won’t be quite as thick.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed. Add the brown sugar, and beat the mixture until it’s light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Add the vanilla, and beat the mixture until well combined. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three additions, alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating after each addition until just combined. Gently fold in the coconut and blueberries with a rubber spatula.
Evenly spread half the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle half the streusel over the batter, and then dollop the remaining batter into the pan, spreading it carefully over the streusel. The batter will be thick, but try your best to get it even. Sprinkle the remaining streusel over the top.
Bake the cake for about 40 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake out of the pan and let it finish cooling on the rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store, covered with plastic wrap or foil, at room temperature for up to 3 days.
*Toast coconut in a 325° F oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently and watch closely so it doesn’t burn.