Blackberry-stained fingers.

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When I was a kid, my family would have this strawberries-and-milk dessert on hot summer nights.  It was delicious and simple, and kind of genius, really.  You just smashed strawberries into a bowl with some condensed milk.  And the liquid at the bottom of the bowl was like strawberry milk.  As an aside, you should know that my mom is a little obsessed with condensed milk and will put it on/in everything (and somehow she’s still pint-sized).  Strawberries, like many of the other gems in the berry family, are very versatile. More recently, thanks to the frequent sale prices, blackberries have become another favorite berry of mine, often camping out in our fridge (and staining not just my fingers, but also the counter top and refrigerator shelves).

With a bowlful of blackberries and no knowledge of how to make jam, I decided to make a blackberry cream cheese coffee cake (and then proceed to eat most of it within two days).  This coffee cake tastes great the day you make it, but better the second (or third) day, after it’s been refrigerated and brought back to room temp.  That is, if you have any self-control.  I did not, so naturally, I forked into the cake not 15 minutes after pulling it out of the oven, and burning my tongue.  This happens with shameful frequency, to the point where Jarrod has to warn me every time any hot food or drink item is ever placed in front of me.  True story.  No self-control.  I also never seem to learn that hot food or drink = mouth burn = can’t taste deliciousness.

Anyhow, hopefully you have more common sense than me, and will wait patiently until the coffee cake cools to try a bite.  🙂

Enjoy!

Blackberry Coffee Cake (adapted from Food Wanderings in Asia):

Ingredients:

For the blackberry filling:

1 1/2 C blackberries, cut/smashed into pieces
4 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp water
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

For the cream cheese filling:

6 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 C sugar
1 large egg

For the coffee cake batter:

2 C all purpose flour
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C butter, cold and cut into chunks
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C sour cream
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Put it together:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8 inch spring form cake pan (or any other cake pan with a removable bottom) with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the blackberry filling: Mix the cornstarch and water to make a slurry in a small bowl.  Place the blackberries and sugar in a sauce pan, and cook over low heat until the blackberries start to release their juices (about 5 minutes), then add the slurry and stir until well combined and the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat.
  3. Prepare the cream cheese filling: Beat cream cheese, sugar, and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer (or, use a hand mixer.  Or, put some muscle in it!).
  4. Prepare the coffee cake batter:
  • Combine the flour and sugar together in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter (or, dump the flour, sugar, and butter chunks in a food processor), mash in the butter until the mixture starts to come together and develop some coarse crumbs.  Measure out 3/4 C of the mixture and set it aside. Add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the remaining crumb mixture and mix well.
  • In another, smaller bowl, beat the sour cream, egg, and vanilla extract. Stir this into the crumb mixture until just incorporated. Warning: the batter is super-thick.
  • Spread the batter in the pan, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edges (like making a well…the deeper the well, the better!). Pour the cream cheese mixture into the well. Spread the blackberry filling on top of the cream cheese filling. Sprinkle the remaining 3/4 C crumbs over the blackberry filling. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes before removing the cake.
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