Saturday was one of those blissful mornings, I awoke to the sound of rain plunking off the air conditioner unit in the bedroom window, which for the first time in weeks was thankfully not needed. It was perfect sleeping weather, the sound of rain blocking out all of the other ambient sounds of our street waking up. I, for the first time in what felt like months, rolled out of bed, started a pot of coffee, and then went blissfully back to bed - the smell of fresh coffee wafting up the stairs. I did not worry about getting my running sneakers on, setting the GPS satellites, packing my lunch, I just relaxed. When I did get up - I found the weather and the blissfully cool kitchen the perfect excuses to bake. I had frozen wild Maine blueberries in the freezer from our trip to visit my aunt at the beginning of the month, and I had all ingredients on hand to make whatever I felt like. I turned to my standby for healthy and distinct recipes, 101 Cookbooks, I wasn't on the site long before I spied this recipe for Maple Huckleberry Coffee Cake - I made minor changes, just to make it my own, and because I wanted to use the blueberries I had on hand. Here is her recipe with side notes for what I did differently.
Wild Maine Blueberry Honey Coffee Cake
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or spelt flour)
3 tablespoons rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup maple syrup, room temperature (I used honey)
1 large egg, room temperature
zest of one lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk (I used soy milk with 1 tsp lemon juice)
1 1/3 cups fresh wild huckleberries (or other berries), well picked over (I used wild blueberries
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut 1/4-inch cubes
1/3 cup maple sugar (or brown sugar) (I used brown sugar)
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 cup chopped pecans (I used walnuts)
special equipment: a 1-pound loaf pan
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees, rack in the middle. Butter a 1-pound loaf pan, and line with parchment paper. Alternately, you could just butter and flour the pan, but I've found that lining the pan with parchment makes removing the cake from the pan after baking no problem.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, thyme, and rosemary. Set aside. In a separate large bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer or by hand - until light and fluffy. Drizzle in the maple syrup and beat until well incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple times along the way. Beat in the egg, lemon zest, and vanilla extract, scraping the sides again. Add half of the flour, stir just a bit, now add a splash of the buttermilk, stir again, but not too much. Add the rest of the flour and stir a bit, and now the rest of the buttermilk. Stir until everything barely comes together and then very gently fold in one cup of the huckleberries. Scrape the batter evenly into the prepared pan and set aside.
To make the streusel topping, place the flour, butter, maple sugar, thyme and pecans in a food processor and pulse 20-30 times or until the topping is a bit beyond sandy/crumbly. It should be moist-looking - on its way to being slightly doughy. Crumble 2/3 of it over the cake batter, sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup huckleberries on top of that, and then add the last of the crumble. Barely pat in place with your fingertips.
Place the coffee cake in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool for five minutes and then remove it from the pan to cool on a rack (this way the cake won't steam in the pan as it's cooling.
Serves 12 - 16 modest slices.
This bread is not sweet, it's more savory - and the fresh thyme and rosemary really comes through. Its such a great alternative to the super sweet breakfast breads and coffee cakes that we are so used to.
Rating - Damn Good