Blueberry Coffee Cake

This tender blueberry coffee cake topped with a crunchy cinnamon streusel is cleverly named for its habit-forming effect on boys.

This old-fashioned blueberry coffee cake comes with a darling name and story. In 1954, a 15-year-old girl from Chicago named Renny Powell submitted a blueberry coffee cake recipe to the Pillsbury $100,000 Recipe & Baking Contest (the precursor to today’s Pillsbury Bake-Off). Renny took second place in the junior division for her recipe, cleverly named “Boy Bait” for its habit-forming effect on young men.

Tender, easy to make, and jam-packed with berries, boy bait has been popular ever since. My version is updated with lemon zest to complement the flavor of the blueberries and a crunchy cinnamon streusel topping. You certainly don’t need to be a teenage boy to enjoy it, but I can attest that this 14-year-old loves it — so maybe Renny was onto something 😉.

I used my blueberry muffin recipe as the base for the cake, but change it up by adding lemon zest to the batter. Coffee cake is always better with a crumb topping, and to give it another pop of lemon, I drizzled a tart lemon glaze on top and let it flow down the sides.

Let’s get to the recipe.

Cook time: 35 Min  Prep time: 15 Min


1 egg, beaten

1/2 c sugar

1 1/4 c flour

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 c milk

3 Tbsp butter, melted

1 c blueberries, fresh


1 Tbsp butter, melted

2 Tbsp sugar


1. In a mixing bowl beat egg and sugar until thick.

2. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.

3. Alternately add flour and milk to egg mixture. Beat after each addition until blended.

4. Stir in melted butter.

5. Fold in blueberries.

6. Pour batter into a greased and floured 8 inch square baking pan. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

7. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 35 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Brush top with remaining butter. Cool before cutting.

9. *** NOTE *** When making muffins with this recipe I bake them about 18-20 minutes. Check oven to be sure that they spring back before removing.

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