Here’s an idea from a few years ago that will make your summer weekend breakfasts burst with flavor. We have blackberries in abundance. Pair them with this wonderful coffee cake for the perfect beginning to your day.

In Breakfast Comforts Rick Rodgers offers ideas encouraging you to idle in the kitchen in the morning. He offers griddle treats, egg inspirations, savory main ideas, and some sweet combinations deliberately enticing you to bake at home.

I cannot count how many times I have had that coffee cake with cinnamon streusel on top and a swirl of cinnamon angling through the batter. It’s an All-American dessert, a key reason that boxes of Bisquick are stashed on your store shelves.

As much as I love cinnamon, there are coffee cake options that deserve our attention, and that will please our appetites. “Berries for breakfast” could be a national slogan. We do eat them for breakfast by the ton.

Okay, we probably eat more tons of berries at night atop shortcakes, but consuming them for breakfast is an excellent idea. They offer flavor, sugar, and sparkle. But which berries do you enjoy?

Blackberries are rising in popularity. Closely related to raspberries, blackberries probably have their origin in the British Isles and grown there in abundance. Worldwide, Mexico produces the largest crop, one targeted for the “off season” in North America and Europe.

In the United States, my home state of Oregon is the largest producer, over 60 million pounds a year. Blackberry production palls compared to strawberry with over 30 billion pounds of strawberries produced just in the United States each year. While those strawberries dominate the market, you may find that blackberries dominate your palate.

Blackberry Coffee Cake with Pecan Streusel

Yield: serves 4


For the cake:

  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon each baking powder, baking soda, and fine sea salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • Finely grated Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 large eggs, beaten, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 pint of blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the streusel:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Dust the pan with a little flour, tapping out the excess.

In a bowl, sift together the 2 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, using a handheld mixer on high speed, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, and orange zest until light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in the eggs, and then the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the sour cream in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed, beating until smooth.

In a third bowl, combine the blackberries with the brown sugar, cinnamon and the 1 tablespoon flour. Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Top with the berry mixture, taking care that no berries touch the sides of the pan. Spread the remaining batter over the berries, smoothing the top.

To make the streusel, in a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and room-temperature butter. Using your fingers, work the ingredients I together just until combined. Work in the pecans. Press together into a ball, and then separate with your fingers into coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the cake.

Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes j out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Cut the cake into squares and serve.

Source: Breakfast Comforts by Rick Rodger [Weldon Owen, 2013]

Photo Credit: Maren Caruso