Blueberry Lemon Breakfast Cake

blueberry lemon breakfast cake

Blueberry Lemon Breakfast Cake  is a riff on cranberry breakfast cake, which is a take on rhubarb breakfast cake…which is a variation of peaches and cream breakfast cake… you get the idea. This blueberry coffee cake recipe has good bones.

blueberry lemon coffee cake with a fork stuck in it

This blueberry lemon cake screams welcome to spring!

Where do I start with this fabulous recipe? It’s a big fat moist buttermilk coffee cake / snack cake loaded with juicy blueberries and made with my special lemon sugar that gives it the most lovely citrus perfume. You can’t not love it 🙂

blueberry lemon breakfast cake in a baking pan

This cake bakes up nice and tall (nobody wants flat coffee cake) with a fluffy crumb.

The secret is to have your ingredients at room temperature (you can learn my hacks for doing this in a jiffy in my My Best Baking Tips for Layer Cakes post.)  Once you know these little tricks all your baking will be better.

taking a slice of Blueberry Lemon Breakfast Cake

What is lemon sugar?

I make lemon sugar by processing granulated sugar with lemon zest (peeled in strips from the lemon.)  The result is a pale yellow sugar that is incredibly aromatic and wonderfully citrussy! You can get all the details in my How to Make Lemon Sugar post.

  • No worries if you don’t have a food processor, you can just finely grate the lemon zest and mix it into the sugar.

Making lemon sugar in a food processor

a slice of blueberry lemon coffee cake

I’ve fallen in love with the bold impact I get from Sparkling Sugar

It’s a coarse decorative sugar with big glittery crystals. I sprinkle it on before and after baking for a really pretty finish and a nice crunch. A few companies make it, so go with what you can find.

This cake is amazing warm from the oven, but you can reheat it, one piece at a time, in a microwave for leftovers. You won’t be sorry you tried this one, promise 🙂




blueberry lemon breakfast cake
4.54 from 13 votes

Blueberry Lemon Breakfast Cake

Blueberry Lemon Breakfast Cake  is a riff on cranberry breakfast cake, which is a take on rhubarb breakfast cake...which is a variation of peaches and cream breakfast cake... you get the idea.  This blueberry coffee cake recipe has good bones.  
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Yield 9 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 cup (224 grams) granulated sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon, peeled in sprips. You want only the yellow part, not the bitter white pith.
  • 1/2 cup  (1 stick or 113 g) butter at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cultured buttermilk
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • sparkling sugar (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and line a 9x9 inch square pan with parchment paper.
  • First make the lemon sugar. Put the sugar and lemon zest into a food processor and process until the zest is completely incorporated in to the sugar and it's pale yellow and fragrant. If you don't have a processor, just finely grate the zest and mix it into the sugar.
  • Cream the sugar and butter together until pale and fluffy, I like to go for a full 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl as necessary. I do this in a stand mixer.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat each one well, and scrape down that bowl! Blend in the vanilla.
  • Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
  • Take about a tablespoon of the flour mixture and toss with the blueberries. Then add the rest to the mixer and blend until almost incorporated. Then blend in the buttermilk, just until everything is mixed, but don't over do it. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  • Spoon the dough (it will be thick) into the prepared pan and spread out evenly. Sprinkle some sparkling sugar over the surface if you're using. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it. I like to loosely cover the cake toward the end of baking to keep it from browning too much.
  • I sprinkle more sparkling sugar on the cake after it comes out of the oven, and then let it cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Cook's notes

* if your depleted larder doesn't have all these ingredients, here are some substitutions:
  • frozen berries can be used in place of fresh.  Don't thaw them first, use straight from frozen.  
  • other fruit like chopped apples, or even dried cherries or cranberries can be used.
  • if you don't have buttermilk you can use milk or yogurt.  You can also make your own buttermilk substitute by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of milk and letting it sit for 15 minutes before using.
  • if you don't have a lemon, use vanilla extract, or the seeds of a vanilla bean.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

blueberry lemon coffee cake pin



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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    April 17, 2022 at 8:55 am

    5 stars
    I’ve made this several times and it has always been SO delicious! Blueberries and lemon is such a great combo, and it’s moist and wonderful for several days!

  • Reply
    March 23, 2021 at 7:03 pm

    Would this work at muffins instead of cake?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      March 24, 2021 at 7:43 am

      Yes, that should work fine.

  • Reply
    March 11, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    4 stars
    I added a crumb topping to this but the middle ended up being undercooked. Is that because of the crumb topping? The edges tasted good but I’m glad I added zest of another lemon to get more of a lemony flavor.

  • Reply
    Christine from Virginia
    February 11, 2021 at 9:03 am

    I didn’t see the instructions for sparking sugar? I threw on a tablespoon on top before baking. Did I miss the instructions and amount?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      February 11, 2021 at 10:06 am

      I sprinkle some on before and a little after, Christine, I clarified that in the recipe, thanks.

  • Reply
    Dorothy Kleimenhagen
    August 27, 2020 at 11:40 am

    Can cake flour be used in lieu of all purpose flour?

    • Reply
      August 27, 2020 at 11:41 am

      Yes, I often use it.

  • Reply
    April 28, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    Any suggestions of a substitute for the cornstarch? I usually use arrowroot, but I don’t know if it would work using given the quantity. Can’t use corn as it makes family members sick.
    Thank you!

    • Reply
      April 28, 2020 at 3:20 pm

      Just substitute the same amount of flour, Naomi, it’s not a problem.

  • Reply
    March 29, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    5 stars
    This was so tasty! Growing up my family had a tradition of making coffee cake every Sunday and I’m bringing it back during this quarantine. The only variations were to use half and half with lemon juice instead of buttermilk and turbinado sugar sprinkled on top. Lemony, fruity, light and flavorful without being too sweet — in a word: perfect.

    • Reply
      March 29, 2020 at 2:53 pm

      I love that tradition, it’s perfect for right now.

  • Reply
    March 21, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Hello, thank you for you excellent Recipes, I have a question about this recipe. Can I use frozen blue berries instead??

    • Reply
      March 21, 2020 at 3:35 pm

      Yes, you can 🙂 Just use them from frozen, don’t defrost first.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Hi Sue
    I follow several food blogs and I was a pastry chef for a few years, (witness my cookbook collection) I find myself coming back to your site for great ideas, Your recipes are accurate, well written and always delicious.
    Have you considered adding a feature that would allow us to save our favorite recipes to our own recipe file on your site, much like Food 52 or NYTimes ?
    Is there a cookbook coming up, I certainly hope so!

    • Reply
      March 20, 2020 at 1:55 pm

      I’ve been trying to work on that Linda, it’s such a great feature to have.

    • Reply
      Clara Nussbaum
      March 21, 2020 at 5:29 am

      Hi Linda,
      There’s an app I use called Copy Me That. It’s on my laptop & phone. I absolutely love it! Whenever you see a recipe you want to keep, like this wonderful one, you just click the Copy Me That app on your device & you can save it to it. If you have it on both your phone & device, whatever you copy will save to both. You can keep recipes in alphabetical order, & create folders for whatever you want like baking, meats, pasta, breads etc. What I really like is that since it’s in my phone, when I’m at the market & want to look up ingredients needed for a recipe, it’s right there!
      Fabulous recipes here at The View From Great Island that I have saved on that app!

  • Reply
    Becky McClellan
    March 20, 2020 at 9:39 am

    Sue, any idea what adjustments I should make if using sprouted spelt flour, or whole wheat flour? My stores of all-purpose flour are almost gone and that’s one of the items I can’t find anywhere currently.


    • Reply
      March 20, 2020 at 10:37 am

      Great question. If you want to use whole wheat flour I would use 1/4 cup less, and I would add a couple of teaspoons more liquid (buttermilk, or milk, etc.) The texture will be a little heavier due to the whole grain, but it will work.

    • Reply
      March 20, 2020 at 8:36 pm

      Okey dokey, Tks.

    • Reply
      January 25, 2021 at 5:32 pm

      4 stars
      have never had a processor but for fresh zest have a hand grater with 12 sizes grating holes. I use the peel on one of the smallest for perfect zest!

      • Reply
        Sue Moran
        January 25, 2021 at 6:26 pm

        I would do same but I get my knuckles every time 😉

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