Buttermilk-Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Lemon-Blueberry Breakfast Cake

I swear buttermilk is magic. I’ve dwelled on this before. Buttermilk seems to turn everything to gold. Super-moist, super-delicious gold.

Anyway, I needed a simple, summery, breakfasty, cake-like-but-not-dessert-like recipe to make this morning. One of Ben’s friends had crashed here last night, and I thought it only appropriate to treat him to a proper breakfast. In other words, I was craving sugar and carbs. The truth is I’ve been craving sugar and carbs and a cake like this for months. But seriously, who doesn’t crave having a good, seasonal, berry cake recipe in their morning-treat repertoire?

Nobody. And I think I’ve found the recipe that fits the bill. On an old photocopied sheet of paper in my mother’s hand writing, I spotted a note: “Baby Boy’s Favorite.” Oh Baby Boy. Baby Boy is my younger brother, my parents’ favorite child, and one of the most satisfying people to cook for. If it was Baby Boy’s favorite cake, it would soon be mine, too. This cake is delectable! I think you’ll like it, too.

Lemon-Blueberry Breakfast Cake

mise en place

Lemon-Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Lemon-Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Buttermilk-Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Serves 6-8

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon
7/8 cup* + 1 tablespoon sugar**
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour (set aside 1/4 cup of this to toss with the blueberries)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup buttermilk***

* 7/8 cup = 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
** This 1 tablespoon is for sprinkling on top
*** To make homemade buttermilk, place 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup. Fill cup with milk until it reaches the 1-cup line. Let stand for five minutes. Use only 1/2 cup of the prepared mixture for the recipe.

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and 7/8 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy.

2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.

3. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries.

4. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 minutes more might be necessary.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Cake with Anthropologie Oven Mitt... fave new kitchen accessory

29. June 2011 by Alexandra Stafford
Categories: Baking, Breakfast, Olallie Cafe recipes | 1,557 comments

Comments (1,557)

  1. Hi Alexandra, this sounds delicious, I am wondering wether I could make this the night before for an early breakfast party or would it dry out? Thank you very much, Veronika

    • Veronika, you definitely can. Do you have time to mix the batter the night before and bake it in the morning before the party? That is the ideal. You can mix the whole batter and store it in your buttered baking dish in the fridge and bake it the following morning straight from the fridge. If time does not permit this, however, just bake it the night before. It will still be delicious.

  2. Great recipe i am a huge fan of blueberries and cannot wait to try this :-)


  4. Is the batter supposed to be thick? Mine was very thick and so I added a little more buttermilk.

  5. Made this this morning…So yummy and moist! I actually made muffins though and try turned out great! I added a little more buttermilk like I read in the comments!

  6. I made this today, and followed the directions exactly. It’s delicious!! Thanks for the recipe!

  7. I made this last week for a work function, and it turned out perfect! I followed the directions exactly I did make it the night before, and it was still great the next day. I didn’t take a single piece home.

  8. So I made this recipe several times and loved it! I missed it when I became vegan so decided to veganize it. Instead of the egg I used two tablespoons arrowroot flour and two tablespoons water and mixed together. For the buttermilk I used 1 cup coconut milk and one tablespoon apple cider vinegar. It turned out amazing! I couldn’t tell the difference. Maybe my taste buds are warped since becoming vegan but I thought it was awesome!

    • Wow, amazing tips! Thanks so much. I need to add these tips to the notes because people ask about veganizing this recipe all the time. Thanks so much for writing in with this info. Glad to hear the vegan version is still awesome!

  9. will not using baking powder make a huge difference? it doesn’t agree with my daughter.

    • Can your daughter have baking soda? You can make bake a substitute for baking powder with cream of tartar and baking soda:

      Mix 2 parts cream of tartar with 1 part baking soda. For example, mix 2 tsp cream of tartar with 1 tsp baking soda.

      I do feel some sort of leavening is necessary.

  10. Do you think it would work well an be equally as delicious with huckleberries?

  11. I made this again – this time with orange zest and cranberries. It’s delicious as well! Wonder what other combinations I could use? Does anything go with lime zest?

    • Yay! So happy to hear this. Hmmm. I actually love blackberries tossed with mint and lime, but we’re getting to the end of that season. Nectarines are great with lime, too. This one might be a stretch: persimmon?

  12. LOL “Baby Boys favorite” Im cracking up….I have always called my son my baby boy, hes 25 now, and it has driven my daughter who is 31 crazy, because she feels he is the favorite child. Im going to choose a recipe at random in my box and write Baby boys favorite on it. I can only hope God lets me see her face when she comes across the recipe when I am gone! lololol

    • LeAnn — too funny! I am 32, my brother is 27, and my sister (33) and I always tease my mom for favoring baby boy. And you are hilarious re assigning Baby Boy’s favorite to a random recipe. I love it.

  13. Just made this! It is absolutely amazing, added a bit more buttermilk like the comments suggested. Definitely going in with the recipe favorites!

  14. can you uses frozen blueberries?

  15. Can you double this recipe?

  16. Can I use dried blueberries? Fresh blueberries are out of season but our warm Californina weather has me craving this for breakfast tomorrow! Should I still use 2 cups if they are dried?

    • I wouldn’t use 2 cups of dried — i think that will be too much, especially if they are sweetened. I suggest using apple if you can’t find fresh or frozen blueberries, or just 1 cup of the dried blueberries. Hope that helps!

  17. Can the cake be made then frozen for later use?

    • I have never tried freezing this but several commenters have successfully. Just be sure to wrap it well in plastic wrap and then tuck it into a ziplock or aluminum foil. I would just thaw at room temperature for several hours until completely unthawed and then if necessary warm in the oven briefly.

  18. Can I use regular milk instead of buttermilk? I don’t usually have buttermilk in the house and when a recipe calls for it, my local grocery store tends to carry it only some of the time.

  19. I used 1/4c butter and 1 ripe banana. 1/2 of the sugar I used Splenda. I also wanted a little more lemon flavor so I added a couple of tbs of sugar free lemon jello. It cooked about 1 hour. It was fantastic. My husband loved it and woke up at midnight to polish it off except for one bite he left for me.

  20. Excellent! Made this today and everyone loved it! I had to use frozen blueberries can’t wait until spring to try this with fresh.

  21. OMG! Could you move in with us? Your recipes look incredible! Can’t wait to make a breakfast cake. I slow cooked pork country ribs overnight and am so hungry. This cake will go with it for dessert! …or my breakfast! I guess it’s going to be brunch by the time I’m out of bed and baking!

  22. Can I use lemon juice instead of the real zest

  23. Thank you. I’m going to make it today. Also can I use a square tin pan instead of glass I think my glass ones are too big or too small

  24. I noticed that someone else asked the same question and never got an answer, so Im not very hopeful. Is the dough supposed to be very thick? I had a horrible time with it. 1/2 cup of buttermilk didn’t seem to be enough, so it was almost impossible to spread in the pan. It seems a lot like the dough I use for scones, except that I don’t have to spread scones in the pan. I just cut it. I hope it turns out well at least. Im supposed to take it to some friends for dinner and I would hate to ruin this.

    • Roxy, hi, and I’m sorry to hear this. The batter is super thick, but it shouldn’t be so thick that it is difficult to spread in the pan. I hope it baked off ok. Let me know. How do you measure your flour? Buy scale or with measuring cups? It sounds as though there might have been a little too much flour in the mixture.

  25. I used a polish stoneware 9×9 pan and it’s been cooking 1 hr 15 min and is still liquid in the center… Afraid it’s ruined

    • HK — So sorry to hear it is taking so long, but if it is not too brown on top, just keep cooking it. If it is getting too brown on top, cover it with a piece of foil. I have not had these issues with baking time, but others have. Cooking it a little longer won’t hurt it especially if you can prevent the top from browning. Did you make any changes to the recipe?

  26. Could I use a banana an apple instead of blueberries?

    • I think you could, but you might want to cut back on the sugar depending on what ratio you use of bananas/apples because bananas are sweeter than blueberries. I have made this with all apples (peeled and diced) and a bit of cinnamon, and I loved it, but I love it best with blueberries. Report back if you use bananas and apples — would love to hear how these fruits work together.

  27. I found this on pinterest and made it for breakfast this morning. It is just as yummy as it looks in the pictures! I used frozen blueberries since I had them on hand, but I rinsed them in a colander first and allowed them to thaw slightly. The batter was thick, as others have noted, but was not too thick to spread into the pan. Also – I had to bake it an extra half-hour before it was done in the middle. That may have had something to do with the blueberries being partially frozen. Since the top was starting to brown, I covered it with foil as suggested in the comments, for about the last 10 minutes.

    Thanks for an awesome recipe! This one’s a keeper! :D

    • Wonderful to hear this, Tanya! Glad covering with foil worked. I think the frozen or partially frozen blueberries might be what is causing the lengthy baking time for some people. Thanks for writing in!

  28. My favorite blueberry dish EVER! Thanks for the amazing recipe.

  29. This came out perfect. I used frozen berries and lime zest. Everyone loved it. It was moist and super yummy. My mouth watered even after eating it. This will be a saved recipe for sure. Thank you.

  30. For those folks with food sensitivities, I made this gluten and dairy free with success. I used a 1:1 gluten free flour (added xanthan gum since mine doesn’t have it in it). I also made buttermilk using soy milk and lemon juice. For the butter, I just used earth balance butter sticks. I followed the recipe as directed, using almost a cup of buttermilk since it was so thick. Even my non GF/DF guests thoroughly enjoyed it. Success!

    • Wow, amazing, Lauren, thank you so much for experimenting and for sharing your results. Sooo many people ask me about these sorts of variations, and often I don’t know how to advise, so thank you!

    • Hi Lauren

      I just looked at your reply as I’m trying to find gluten free desserts to make. Can you let me know how much xanthan gum did you add to the mix please? Thanks tons!

  31. The batter was not spreadable. I had to add 1.5 to 2 cups of buttermilk. Also did anyone else’s batter turn blue because of the berries? I cooked a little bit longer than noted. Approx. 15 more mins but the middle was still too moist. It still tasted amazing! I would call it a blueberry breakfast pudding. If anyone has any advice on how to help with the consistency please share as I do love this recipe.

    • Hi Dale! So glad the cake still tasted amazing despite the issues with consistency. Were you using frozen berries? Those seem to cause the batter to turn blue more so than the fresh berries. A few thoughts: how did you measure your flour? Do you have a scale? I know I don’t have the weight measurements in the recipe but I will add those soon. If you do, next time weigh 9 oz (255 g) of flour. It sounds as though your 2 cups of flour was a little more than my 2 cups of flour. The batter definitely is thick but it shouldn’t be so thick that you can’t spread it. And the additional liquid probably caused the issues with the baking time and pudding consistency. Hope that helps!

  32. AMAZING!!! Just made these into muffins with pecan pieces sprinkled on top.It made 16 full size muffins and baked for 35 minutes.Great recipe…thank you!!!

  33. Made these on Christmas Eve, they were delicious. However they were even better the next day. Maybe we didn’t let them cool enough at first, but whatever they seem to just get better.

    Thanks again Ali!

  34. This is soo good! I made it with 1:1gluten free flour and it turned out great. It was a little on the crumbly side, but I didn’t know what to expect…especially when making it gluten free. Thank you for a tasty breakfast treat!

  35. This was really yummy! Not overly sweet. I used frozen blueberries and it turned out perfect.

  36. Hi i want to make this for a brunch today, but only have a 9 in brownie pan or a 9×13 glass pan. I can double it but just wanted to know if you thought the brownie pan would be ok. Thanks will let you know how it comes out!

  37. I don’t have lemon zest. Could I use a bottled lemon juice. And what about fresh blueberries that I froze this past summer. Should I thaw them?

    • Lori, I don’t recommend bottled lemon juice for anything. I would just leave it out if you don’t have fresh lemons to zest or juice. And yes on the frozen berries! No need to thaw. Good luck with it!

  38. I made this tonight. I didn’t have any blueberries so I used chocolate chips. :D. 1 cup of milk chocolate and 1 cup of semi-sweet. Yummy! Now I’m imagining all the combos I can use (peanut butter chips, white chocolate).,

  39. I haven’t made this yet, but I just wanted to suggest something for those who don’t often have buttermilk. You can buy powdered buttermilk in the baking aisle, and it keeps in the fridge indefinitely.

  40. I’m going to try making this today for the second time. The first time I made it was Christmas morning and though my husband and step brother really enjoyed it, I found the batter to be really thick and it took well over an hour to bake all the way through. This time I’m going to try a 9×13 pan and cutting back on some of the blue berries. I don’t want to alter the recipe too much because it was delicious, I just want to eat it sooner then an hours baking time! :)

    • Oh, I know, it’s hard to be patient. The batter definitely is thick, and some commenters have had trouble with baking times — they, like you, have had to cook the cake longer than suggested. How are you measuring your flour? If you measure scant cups of flour, the batter won’t be so thick. Hope it worked out well in 9×13-inch pan — did you double the recipe?

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