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Posted on Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 9:55 a.m.

Make a blueberry cinnamon skillet coffee cake for your next brunch

By Jessica Webster


This cinnamon blueberry coffee cake comes together easily in a cast iron skillet.

Jessica Webster |

I’m starting to realize that brunch might be my favorite meal. First of all, it’s versatile. There’s really not much that doesn’t work as a brunch meal. Eggs? Works. A roast? Definitely. Something sweet? Now you’re talking.

And then there’s the implicit nature of the meal. Brunch is never a rushed bowl of cereal gulped down before you run out the door to your next event. Brunch is for slow mornings — mornings so slow they run into the afternoon, requiring that you combine the first two meals of the day.

Brunch, of course, is best enjoyed with friends. For a long time, my standard contribution to a potluck brunch at a friend’s house was a fresh fruit salad and a Zingerman’s coffee cake. Maybe I’d leave the price on the coffee cake when handing it over, just to show the host that even though I didn’t invest a lot of time, I definitely invested a considerable amount of money.

But now I have turned over a new leaf. A more fiscally conservative and more personally generous leaf. After all, nothing says friendship like freshly baked treats, and store-bought coffee cake — even artisan store-bought coffee cake — doesn’t compare.

I went on a hunt for my brand new signature friendship coffee cake recipe. It had to be moist. Had to have streusel in every bite. I wanted it to have some fruit. And I was pretty sure it needed to be baked in a cast iron skillet, my current favorite kitchen device.

I found a recipe from The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook online, and with a few adaptations (I added a middle layer of streusel and some blueberries), I had my coffee cake.

Now I just need that brunch invitation.

Blueberry cinnamon skillet coffee cake - adapted from The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, each cut into 8 pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups cake or all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

For the cake: Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Blend in vanilla and sour cream.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

At the lowest setting, just barely blend the flour mixture into the batter. Finish mixing with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until completely blended.

For the topping: Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and chilled butter, pinching with your fingers until well blended. Stir in the walnuts.

Generously butter a cast iron skillet and spread half the batter evenly in the pan. Top with the blueberries and half the streusel. Carefully spoon the remaining batter into the skillet and smooth with a knife. Scatter the remaining streusel on top.

Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Jessica Webster leads the Food & Grocery section for Reach her at You also can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 3:40 p.m.

That looks really good. It looks like it has a really substantial texture on the bottom from the cast iron skillet.

Jessica Webster

Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 5:43 p.m.

It's true - the bottom texture had a really nice bite to it. I've become a real fan of the cast iron skillet recently.

Kellie Woodhouse

Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

Jess. I think that is the best food photo of yours by far--- or is it the tastiest looking food item? I am adding this to my looong list of recipes of yours to try. Any chance there will be office sampling?

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 : 7:21 p.m.

Delicious, and why dirty a fork?

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 8:03 p.m.

Well, how was it Kyle? And, did you eat it with a fork, or did you just Belushi it down?

Kyle Mattson

Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

I ate the last piece, guilty as charged.

Jessica Webster

Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 4:10 p.m.

For what it's worth, I was just assessing whether I had all the ingredients to make another to bring in. Sadly, I'm nearly out of sugar.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

Oh, the humanity! "You weren't in the office." Crushing. And nobody saved you a piece? Now there's some rough office politics! In fact, a good lawyer would probably argue that as a hostile work environment. Jessica, I think a better reply would have been "Um, yeah. I'm thinking of bringing one in."

Jessica Webster

Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 3:26 p.m.

Sorry Kellie - I brought this in on Monday and you weren't in the office.

Lizzy Alfs

Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

Ahhh can you come be my personal chef please? For the generous pay of $5 per week (groceries not included)

Jessica Webster

Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 4:13 p.m.

Having been the happy beneficiary of several of your baking adventures, I can confidently say that you really don't need me, Lizzy.

Sarah Rigg

Thu, Apr 25, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

I'm not a fan of cake, generally, but for some reason, I tend to love coffee cakes. This looks brilliant.