High Altitude Baking: Fabulous lightened version of my best blueberry coffee cake, made fluffy with egg whites.
I had a ton of blueberries this week, and ate them every morning with some cantaloupe sprinkled with lime juice and mint. Sometimes with a mound of yogurt, sometime not. Very healthy. Very virtuous. Very delicious.
But then I started thinking about blueberry coffee cake. By Wednesday, fluffy, streusel-crusted coffee cakes filled with blueberries were all I could think about. But when I started looking at some recipes, I couldn’t get past all the butter and sugar in them. I wasn’t looking to have dessert for breakfast. OK, sometimes I am, but not this time.
And I wasn’t looking to create something edgy with some hip ingredient only found in special stores in Mongolia. I wanted something my great-grandmother Mamma might have made.
So I cut the amount of butter I found in many recipes in half. I added back in 1 tablespoon of (not too edgy) coconut oil so it wouldn’t be too dry. Then I cut the sugar in half for the cake part, but made a traditional streusel with oats. Next I tackled the texture. I like an airy coffee cake, so I separated the eggs, and whipped the whites to a moderately firm peak, and folded them in at the end. The result was the best coffee cake I’ve ever made.
I know it’s not as healthy as the cantaloupe and berries breakfast, I won’t lie, but it’s a much healthier version for when you want to splurge.
A Few Cooking Notes:
This was developed for baking at high altitudes (7000 feet above sea level). If making at sea level, make the following changes:
- Use 1 egg yolk instead of 2 (but use 2 egg whites)
- Use the full 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- Use 1 full teaspoon EACH of the baking soda and baking powder
- Omit the yogurt
- Bake at 350˚F instead of convection bake.
Serves: Makes one 9" coffee cake
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup oats
- ¼ cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon (or split with ground cardamom)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs (separated)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups minus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- zest from 1 lemon
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 Tbsp yogurt
- 1 cup blueberries
- ½ cup apricots (or more blueberries)
- Preheat oven to 350˚F, convection. Butter a 9-inch square pan or a 9-inch springform cake pan.
- In a small bowl, mix Streusel Topping ingredients together with a fork or pastry cutter until combined.
- Beat the butter, oil, and sugar in the mixing bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. In a small bowl, mix together the buttermilk and yogurt.
- Mix the dry ingredients into the butter and egg mixture alternately with the buttermilk, stirring just until combined. I use the lowest speed of the mixer. The batter will be thick.
- Add the blueberries and apricots and fold them into the batter using a rubber spatula.
- Whip the egg whites to a moderate peak using a hand mixer (the peaks should droop a little when you scoop the whipped egg whites with the beater and turn the beaters upside down). Fold the whipped egg whites into the batter in thirds using a rubber spatula. Little pieces of egg white should be visible in the batter. You don't want to fold them in too much.
- Pour the batter into the buttered baking pan. Sprinkle with the Streusel Topping.
- Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before serving. This coffee cake is great warm or room temperature.