Grandma DeFeo’s Blueberry Crumb Cake

This paper gawked at me for the past 6 years on my mother's fridge. Hidden behind it, an eggplant parm, applesauce cake, and Italian Easter Ham Pie recipe papers, typed up and pretty nondescript. The recipe addict in me embraced these vague heirloom family recipes, one at a time of course, to bring you a taste of my mother's grandparents that I never had the chance to meet. Modernizing it a bit, it needed a splash of vanilla extract and I kept it natural with butter in place of the shortening. Ensure that all ingredients are room temperature, which helps for easier mixing! Makes one 9-inch round cake.
½CUPbrown sugar
½CUPall purpose flour
½TSPNground cinnamon
¼CUPunsalted butter, room temperature
¾CUPgranulated sugar
4TBSPNSunsalted butter, room temperature
2CUPSall purpose flour
2TSPNSbaking powder
1Xegg, room temperature
1TSPNvanilla extract
½CUPwhole milk, room temperature
2CUPSblueberries, rinsed, dried, and stems removed

  1. Set the oven at 350 degrees, butter and line the bottom of a 9-inch round baking dish with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, gently combine the first four ingredients with a fork, leaving large clumps of butter coated with the sugar for the crumb topping. Set aside until ready to top the cake.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and butter for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Meanwhile in a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt, set aside.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla extract to the mixer bowl, beating just until combined. 
  5. Alternate the additions of the wet and dry ingredients to the mixing bowl, starting with the dry ingredients, then the milk, in two additions, but finish with the last of the dry ingredients. Mix on low speed until the batter comes together. Do not overmix.
  6. Use a spatula to gently fold in the blueberries, then transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish, using the spatula to spread the batter to an even layer. 
  7. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the top of the cake, gently pressing in some of the bigger pieces.
  8. Place on the middle rack of the oven, and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Tent with foil if the crumb topping starts to brown too quickly.
  9. Remove from the oven and set on a cooling rack. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then run a knife along the edge and transfer to a dish. Serve for breakfast or as a dessert with your favorite summer pint of ice cream.

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