09 April 2013

Coffeecake on the cheap

Brunch-time family visit over the weekend means I made a coffeecake. I don't know why I used to think coffeecakes are complicated. They're basically a butter cake -- the same as any ordinary sheet cake you'd make for a birthday -- but a little more forgiving, since you want it to be dense and homey, not bake-shop perfect. The batter can take a lot of abuse and inexpert preparation. I like to boost the nutrition and fiber a little by using some whole-wheat flour, but I wouldn't go so far as to skip all the white flour.

I find that they're an opportunity to use up some fruit I've stashed in the freezer. This time, I used blueberries (natch), pulling them out of the freezer a day ahead of time, letting them thaw in the fridge, and tossing with about a tablespoon of sugar before starting to prepare the batter. Rhubarb is an excellent choice as well.

I'm ballparking that the cake here cost about $2.50, including cooking gas. You can shave about 50 to 75 cents off that cost by using non-organic ingredients.

Here goes:


  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/4 pound) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped fruit
  • Sugar for the fruit (optional)


    Pre-heat oven to 375 F, and grease a small cake pan. Sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter until light. Gradually add the sugar and cream until light. Add the egg and milk and mix well. Add the flour mixture and stir until smooth.

    Scrape the batter into the cake pan and smooth it out. Toss the chopped fruit with sugar, if desired, and spread onto the top of the batter. Bake about 25 minutes. Let rest at least 20 minutes before serving.

    Bon apétit!
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