My Best Blueberry Coffee Cake

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High Altitude Baking: Fabulous lightened version of my best blueberry coffee cake, made fluffy with egg whites.

blueberry coffeecake, lightened coffeecake, kid-friendly

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.

blueberry coffeecake, lightened coffeecake, kid-friendly

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.

blueberry coffeecake, lightened coffeecake, kid-friendly

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.
My Best Blueberry Coffee Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: Makes one 9" coffee cake
Streusel Topping
  • 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)
Coffee Cake
  • 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)
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F, convection. Butter a 9-inch square pan or a 9-inch springform cake pan.
Streusel Topping
  1. In a small bowl, mix Streusel Topping ingredients together with a fork or pastry cutter until combined.
Coffee Cake
  1. 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.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. In a small bowl, mix together the buttermilk and yogurt.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the blueberries and apricots and fold them into the batter using a rubber spatula.
  5. 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.
  6. Pour the batter into the buttered baking pan. Sprinkle with the Streusel Topping.
  7. 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.
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  1. says

    Love it Susan, sounds light and delicious and looks it too, your photo’s are amazing. When baking at sea level why only one egg yolk and omit the yogurt? Just wondering, have never done high altitude baking and don’t really understand the science of it. My hat’s off to you for this fantastic recipe,
    apuginthekitchen recently posted..Kreative Bloggers AwardMy Profile

  2. says

    You totally have my attention…..especially since I have a HUGE bag of fresh picked blueberries! Love how thick that cake is, and the crumble top looks fabulous! Hugs, Terra

    • says

      Thanks Norma! I only added the yogurt for moisture. At 7000 feet above sea level, it’s pretty dry here, and all baked items need more moisture content for the baked texture to be what you would experience at sea level. If you wanted the yogurt in it, just reduce the buttermilk, because at sea level the cake might be a little too moist. But I add a little yogurt to almost anything I bake up here just for the added moisture. I’ve had more than my share of hockey puck cakes, I can tell you :-)
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Mountain Baking: My Best Blueberry Coffee Cake (Lightened)My Profile

  3. says

    I have to admit that I’ve never considered the effect of altitude upon baking. It’s probably because the state where I live is predominantly flat… exactly at sea level! Thanks so much for the cooking tips though. This is such a gorgeous looking coffee cake… I love the moist, fruit studded interior and the gorgeously golden crust. Mmmm! Perfect! Definitely trying this xx
    laurasmess recently posted..Coconut, Banana and Lime Cake with Lime Syrup and Candied CarambolaMy Profile

  4. says

    Wow, you’ve been on a roll lately–I just want to make everything that’s come out of your kitchen! I loved your explanation of what you did to this cake to lighten it up–I’m always looking for healthier alternatives to traditionally fatty baked goods. Since this coffeecake has already passed muster with you, I definitely want to try it!! :)
    Erika recently posted..Pancake Fridays: Peach Streusel PancakesMy Profile

  5. says

    Mmmm…I love the idea of an almost-guilt-free coffee cake. You know, I’ve never had a huge amount of success with coffee cakes, never getting them the way I wan them to be. I really like hte idea of making it airier by whisking the egg whites. Definitely will try!

  6. says

    I love how rustic is looks. It looks straight out of a country home and that makes me wholeheartedly believe that it’s definitely got to be the best coffeecake in existence!

    Just wanted to stop by and welcome you to Group D in the Secret Recipe Club – looking forward to having you in the group! If you need anything, feel free to email me: fantasticalsharing1 AT gmail DOT com

  7. says

    Oh YUM! What a scrumptious blueberry coffeecake! It looks SO moist and look at all those blueberries! thanks for the high altitude adjustments. Always appreciated since I’m a mile high.
    mjskit recently posted..Red Chile PasteMy Profile

  8. Mary says

    I’m the lucky neighbor who got 2 pieces of this coffeecake. I can attest. I’m baking it this weekend for my family. Thanks a bunch Susan

  9. Veronica says

    Hi! I was wondering if you think this recipe would work the same in a Bundt pan and adding the strusel in first …writing from 7,703 elevation!

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