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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Breakfast of Champions

I am a breakfast eater.  There's nothing I like more than starting my day with something  I'll regret later.  I love french toast, pancakes, omelets, coffee cake and almost any other breakfast specialty you could mention.  Breakfast is my favorite meal.

When we lived in Los Angeles we used to have breakfast every weekend at John O'Groats on Pico Boulevard.  Ted and I started eating there before we were married and we watched Paul, the owner's son, grow up.  In turn, they all watched Charlie and Kate grow up.  It was and still is my favorite breakfast place.  In fact, whenever we go back to L.A., we eat there for old times sake and it's just as delicious as always.

As I've become a more competent cook I've started making breakfast at home on the weekends.  I'm happy to report that it's not all that hard to do and there is something to be said for breakfast in your pajamas.  All that is required is a little planning.  The rest is as easy as reading a recipe.

One of my favorite things to make for weekends is a coffee cake.  Maybe it's my Jewish heritage, but I love coffee cake, especially the ones with the crumbly streusel topping.  The great thing about coffee cake is that you can make it on Friday and have it all weekend, assuming everyone shows a little self control.

As the weather gets warmer and the fruit gets sweeter, one of my favorite additions to coffee cake is blueberries.  This particular coffee cake is one of my favorites because it incorporates not only blueberries but that yummy streusel topping I love so much.

Why, you may ask, am I writing about coffee cake on a Tuesday?  I'm doing this today so that you can plan your coffee cake baking for the weekend.  You probably have most of the ingredients you'll need in the house but you may need to nip out to pick up the berries or some sour cream.  You can whip this baby up on Friday and it'll be delicious all weekend long.

Recipe:  Blueberry Crumb Cake
(Barefoot Contessa at Home, 2006)

For the Streusel

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 pound unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

For the cake

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2/3 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
Confectioner's sugar for sprinkling


Preheat the oven to 350F.  Butter and flour a 9-inch round spring form pan.
For the streusel

Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl.  Stir in the melted butter and then the flour.  Mix well and set aside.

For the cake

Cream the butter and the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light.  Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined.  Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out with a knife.  With your fingers, crumble the topping evenly over the batter.  Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool completely and serve sprinkled with confectioner's sugar.


  1. A post after my own heart, Nadine. Breakfast is my favorite meal too! Marion and I often go to breakfast during the week. Next is the crumb cake, oh yes, another favorite especially with a good "old fashioned" streusel topping filled with luscious blueberries! Seriously, I think I'll stay home and make breakfast tomorrow, it's Spring Cleaning Day at our house!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing...

  2. We are so fortunate that we now have John O'Groats in Encino and it serves breakfast, lunch and dinner!
    Great coffee cake recipe. I don't think it would last more than a day in my house!