Blueberry and Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

A North American ‘coffee cake’ confusingly doesn’t contain coffee. Coffee cakes are heavier & more dense than a British sponge, and are meant to be eaten with a cuppa ‘joe’.

They are usually made in a traybake or round tin, and always have fruit (or nuts); often a cheesecakey layer and/or a crumble. This is a GF version of a classic combo, very easy to make.

Serves: up to 16

For the cake:

  • 275g plain gluten-free flour
  • 200g caster sugar (golden adds a better taste, but white will suffice)
  • 2 heaped tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground mace (or ground nutmeg)
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 60g cold unsalted butter, cubed; plus additional butter (or oil) to grease tin
  • 1 large egg (it should weigh 62-68g in its shell)
  • 1 unwaxed lemon: finely grated zest, and juice
  • 6 tablespoons defrosted fruit juices (see Cream Cheese/Fruit ingredients)
    – if using fresh fruit, substitute milk; if tinned, the juices from the tin
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the cream cheese/fruit layer:

  • 230g cream cheese
  • 70g caster sugar (golden adds a better taste, but white will suffice)
  • 1 large egg (it should weigh 62-68g in its shell)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground mace (or ground nutmeg)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 175g frozen blueberries, defrosted overnight in a sieve over a bowl – reserve the juices for the cake
    (fresh or tinned fruit will work too; see Alternate Fruit footnote)

For the topping:

  • 100g cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 85g plain gluten-free flour
  • 75g caster sugar (golden adds a better taste, but white will suffice)


  • A 23-25cm (9-10″) round, loose-bottomed or springform cake tin
  • Baking/parchment paper
  • 3 mixing bowls (1 large, 2 medium)
  • Fine citrus zester
  • Citrus juicer
  • A sieve and a small bowl to defrost the fruit (if using frozen), or to drain (if using tinned)
  • A manual whisk
  • Cooling rack

Making the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 175 C  (160 C fan-assisted). Lightly grease the tin and line the bottom and sides with paper.
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and spices in a medium bowl with a fork. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until you have coarse crumbs.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg, lemon zest & juice, additional juices(/milk), and vanilla until frothy.
  4. Manually whisk the dry ingredients into the wet until fully combined. Remember, this is GF so you don’t have to worry about over-mixing; in fact, incorporate as much air as you can.
  5. Pour the batter into your prepared tin.

Making the cream cheese layer:

  1. Whisk the cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla, and spices in a medium bowl until smooth. Pour this over the cake batter into the centre of the tin.
  2. Drop the blueberries over quite evenly.

Making the topping, and baking:

  1. Rub the cold butter into the flour and sugar until very crumbly. Sprinkle tiny blobs evenly over the top of the cake.
  2. Bake 40 minutes then turn the tin. Turn the oven down to 165 C (150 C fan-assisted), and bake for another 30 minutes until a light finger touch in the centre springs back quickly.
    If after 30 minutes the centre still seems a tad soft, turn off the oven and leave the tin in for up to 10 minutes.
  3. Let cool on a cooling rack at least 20 minutes before turning out.

Alternate Fruit
You could make this cake with any juicy and sweet fruit:
A) Tinned peaches or mandarins would be excellent. I’d add ground ginger (instead of the cloves and cinnamon) if doing that. Get the kind packed in juice (not syrup) and drain in a sieve over a bowl as with the frozen fruit.
B) In-season fresh berries would be very tasty, too. Delete the cloves if using raspberries or strawberries.
C) Or, use fresh or frozen cranberries as in the attributed recipe, but I’d use the zest & juice of 1 large orange in the cake.

Chop any larger fruit into bite-sized pieces before sprinkling on top.

I changed the orange/cranberries in this recipe to lemon/blueberries, converted to UK measurements, added spices, changed the butter addition method, plus made it GF.


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