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Blueberry Crumb Cake from John Barricelli’s "The Seasonal Baker"


John Barricelli, Chef and
author of “The Seasonal Baker”

It’s blueberry season but I’ll take any excuse for making this combination of a vanilla cake with fresh blueberries and a chunky brown sugar crumb topping.  And since it can be eaten straight from the oven as a breakfast pastry or saved for an afternoon snack or a dessert with dinner, it’s ideal to have on hand over a weekend.  It’s another one of Baker John Barricelli’s triumphs from his South Norwalk CT SoNo Bakery.  You’ll find it in his latest book “The Seasonal Baker” (Clarkson Potter 2012) which we’ve raved about most recently for its French Lemon Tart.   What we loved about the tart—the concentrated lemon curd flavor of the filling—is mirrored in the intense blueberry flavor in this cake.  There’s even a juicy quality to the blueberries hidden under the topping.


The blueberry itself is North America’s gift to the rest of the world.  It is a native plant that didn’t even get to Europe until the 1930s.  The blueberry plant varies wildly in size ranging from just under 4 inches tall to the “highbush” which can grow to 13 feet tall. 

         The lower growing species are synonymous with ‘wild blueberries’ and both low and high varieties are commercially cultivated.  Blueberries typically bear fruit in the middle of the growing season which is right about now on Long Island but may be later in states particularly known for their blueberries like Maine.  In fact, Maine produces 25 percent of the countries low bush berries and the Wild blueberry is the official fruit of Maine.  But the crown for blueberry growing goes to Michigan where highbush production produces over 220,000 tons of blueberries, which is 32% of all the berries eaten in the United States. But wherever your blueberries come from, put them to great use in this wonderful breakfast, lunch or dinner treat.  In the recipe there’s a request for an odd-sized baking dish (12 1/4 x 8 1/4 x 1 1/4 inches).  Andrew who takes directions very seriously was thrilled to find we had one the right length and width if not height. I think the point here is to find something approximately that size remembering that the height of the crumb cake should be 1 1/4 inches.  Here’s the recipe:

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