Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake

Blueberry-Cornmeal-Butter-Cake It feels like we’re a little overdue for some confession around here.

Confession #1: It’s possible that this baby may come out Dorito-shaped-and-flavored because that’s all I want to eat. Ever.

Confession #2: Yesterday, at the park, I very slowly spun Owen around a few times on a spinning piece of playground equipment. And when I got him off, he didn’t even take one step before falling to the ground, somehow also dramatically flinging a bunch of sand in his face in the process. I felt bad about the sand…but the rest of it was pretty funny.

Blueberry-Cornmeal-Butter-Cake-2 Confession #3: Sometimes I subtly take borderline-judgey pictures of people I don’t know just because I want to show Eric later, and I’m scared he won’t believe me…like the guy walking down the sidewalk yesterday, listening (sans headphones) to music from his iPad, which he was holding on his shoulder like a boom box.

Confession #4: Fruit flies make me crazy. Like crazy crazy. As soon as I see even one, I’m setting up fruit fly traps all around our kitchen and checking on them every five minutes, inwardly high-fiving myself every time I trap another one. Eric is unsure of how to respond to this obsession.

Blueberry-Cornmeal-Butter-Cake-3 Confession #5: I hate checking the mail and just don’t do it. Unless Eric brings it in, it will pile up inside the closet our mail gets dropped into for weeks before I start feeling guilty enough to think about it.

Confession # 6: Up to just a few years ago, I didn’t like blueberries. I know…what the what? I think I would get hung up on their sometimes mushy texture. But then, one time, my in-laws brought home a five-gallon bucket of them, and I found myself eating them literally by the handful all weekend.

Blueberry-Cornmeal-Butter-Cake-4 And now, let me tell you, we are blueberry fanatics around here. I particularly love them fresh and often feel they are done a huge disservice when they are baked into something overly sweet, which is why this recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook stood out to me.

Don’t get me wrong. This is a cake, full of buttery sugary goodness that actually asked aloud to be eaten with coffee. But the cake batter also contains cornmeal, lots of butter, lemon zest (of course), and sour cream, all of which kept the sweetness down a bit and managed to make the cake perfectly moist.

The batter is then topped of a streusel made with more butter, more cornmeal, and all of the other crumble-top goodness you’re accustomed to. Breakfast, snack, dessert: this cake is the whole package.


Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake

Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake

(recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook )

(yields one 8x8" pan - about 16 squares)

This perfectly moist, not overly sweet butter crumb cake is the perfect way to use up the abundance of blueberries going on right now! I substituted the sour cream with plain Greek yogurt because I had it on hand, and the results were still great! Additionally, I added an extra tablespoon of butter to the streusel topping than the SK recipe did because I felt that without it, the topping was too powdery and not "crumbly" enough.


cooking spray


Cake Batter:

1 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. cornmeal

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 c. sugar

2 eggs

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. lemon zest

1/3 c. sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

2 c. blueberries, rinsed and patted dry


Streusel Topping:

1/2 c. sugar

6 tbsp. flour

2 tbsp. cornmeal

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

3 tbsp. unsalted butter, COLD and cut into small pieces


Preheat oven to 350*.


Line the bottom of an 8x8" square pan with parchment paper, and then coat the parchment paper and sides with nonstick cooking spray. Wipe the cooking spray to evenly spread and to ensure it gets in all of the corners, thoroughly coating the bottom and sides.



Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, for at least 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition, then add the vanilla and zest.

Then add a third of the flour mixture, all of the sour cream/yogurt, and another third of the flour mixture - beating until just blended after each addition.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix the remaining third of flour mixture with the blueberries. Gently fold the blueberry-flour mixture into the cake batter.

Spread the cake batter into the prepared pan.



For the streusel topping, combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Mash in the COLD butter pieces with a fork, your fingertips, or pastry blender. Scatter the topping evenly over the batter.

Bake the cake 35 minutes until the top is golden brown and center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a knife or spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake, then flip out onto a wire cooling wrack (flipping again to make it right-side-up).

Keeps well in a covered container. If keeping for more than 24 hours, refrigerate in a covered container.

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10 thoughts on “Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake

    • You could definitely use frozen; I would just thaw them and let them drain for quite a while first. If you try it, I’d love to know how it turns out!

  1. Artena and I have found the ultimate fruit fly weapon! We bought a pitcher plant….it’s carnivorous and catches things in its crazy little water-filled pitchers. Our house was FULL of fruit flies. Within a day and a half of getting this thing, there were NONE. Seriously! We bought it two weeks ago at Home Depot….go get one!!!

  2. We love this cake and I just made my 3rd one however…the butter in the topping. One stick of butter or 8 tablespoons weighs 115 grams. The topping calls for two tablespoons butter or 55 grams and that just ain’t right. So I weigh out the butter. Secondly, it doesn’t cook in 35 minutes. First time I kept trying to get the topping to brown which it did not and I probably baked it 15 minutes longer. Second time probably ten mintes and the middle was not cooked and same thing this time. I am going to try putting it back in the oven

    • Hmm – sorry you’re having a bit of trouble here. A few thoughts:
      1. In the topping, it actually calls for 3 tablespoons of butter (42.5 grams).
      2. You want the topping to be a light golden brown, more golden than brown (sorry that this was misleading in the recipe).
      3. If you’re having issues getting the cake to cook through, I’d suggest putting it in for 5-10 minutes and then letting it cool completely in the pan; the heat from the pan will continue to cook the middle as it cools.
      Hope some of these suggestions help; good luck!

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