Heidi’s Coffee Cake Recipe

A stunner of a coffee cake with extra thick streusel topping and blueberries bursting into the tender crumb in dramatic fashion. Rustic and rye flour based.

Heidi’s Coffee Cake

There are two main reasons people love this coffee cake. First, the streusel topping doesn’t skimp. There’s plenty piled on for the crumble fans. Second, it’s wonderfully rustic and full of freshly baked flavor. There are a lot of coffee cake recipes out there that are beautifully cinnamon-streaked and sweet, but I like a bit more depth and range of ingredients in my buttermilk-based batter. Rye flour, old-fashioned oats, and brown sugar are my secret weapons here.
Heidi's Coffee Cake

This is a great cake to go along with an afternoon espresso and chat with a friend. Or to take on a picnic or day in the car. It's a stunner of a cake without being fussy. The blueberries burst and bleed into the crumb of the cake in dramatic fashion. The crumble crust plays off the tenderness of the cake nicely, so be sure to get a bit of it in every bite.
Berries for Coffee Cake

Favorite Coffee Cake Variations

Maple Huckleberry Coffee Cake: This has long been a favorite variation of mine. I like to add a bit of thyme and rosemary from my herb garden. Just a hint to play off the berries and perfume the cake - barely a whisper.  Swap in whole wheat pastry flour for the rye flour. And Add 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme and 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary. Lastly and the zest of one lemon to the dry ingredients of the cake. And if you can get your hands on wild huckleberries trade those in for the blueberries

Cherry Almond Coffee Cake: It’s cherry season right now, feel free to swap out the blueberries for chopped (pitted) cherries. Use chopped almonds in place of the walnuts, and almond extract in place of vanilla extract if you have it.

Michelle in the comments used chopped mission figs in hers, a brilliant idea. Generally speaking, on the fruit front, if it's juicy, fruity, and goes with maple I suspect it'll be good here, so play around.
Heidi's Coffee Cake

How to Store this Cake

I like to enjoy this cake warm, or at room temperature. That said if you have leftovers after a day or so I tend to slide it right back into the pan on its parchment paper, cover, and refrigerate from there for up to 4-5 days. Bring up to room temperature before eating or pop it a hot oven to reheat for ten minutes or so.

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Heidi’s Coffee Cake

4.5 from 8 votes

I use a 1-pound loaf pan here, but you could likely get away with a 8 or 9-inch cake or pie pan. Just be sure to check in more frequently because the cooking time will be different. If you’re don’t have rye flour, you can substitute whole wheat pastry flour, spelt, or unbleached all-purpose flour (or a blend). That said, I love the depth of flavor of the rye flour here. And yes, you can absolutely use frozen berries. No problem.

  • 1 cup / 110g rye flour
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup, room temperature
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/3 cups (wild) blueberries
Streusel Topping:
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees, rack in the middle. Butter a 1-pound loaf pan and line with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer or by hand until light and fluffy. Drizzle in the maple syrup and beat until well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple times along the way. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, scraping the sides again.
  4. Add half of the flour, stir just a bit. Now add a splash of the buttermilk, stir again, but not too much. Add the rest of the flour and stir a bit, and then the rest of the buttermilk. Stir until everything barely comes together and then very gently fold in one cup of the blueberries. Scrape the batter evenly into the prepared pan and set aside.
Make the streusel topping:
  1. Place the flour, butter, brown sugar and walnuts in a food processor. Pulse 20-30 times or until the topping is a bit beyond sandy/crumbly. It should be moist-looking and on its way to being slightly doughy. Crumble 2/3 of it over the cake batter, sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup huckleberries on top of that, and then add the last of the crumble. Barely pat in place with your fingertips.

  2. Place the coffee cake in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool for five minutes and then remove it from the pan to cool on a rack.

Serves 12

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr
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I just want to say that I made this for a ren faire tailgate party today (hah) and it was a hit.
I used blueberries and didn’t add any thyme to the streusel. Mine ended up pretty lemony though. I guess I had too much zest? (it wasn’t too much lemon flavor, but I, at least, definitely tasted it over the blueberries, for instance)


I made this yesterday, exactly as written, but with chopped blackberries. The herbs were from my little kitchen garden, and I chopped them ever so fine. They were not discernible as such by taste, but they really added an extra dimension to the flavor and the aroma. My book group went wild about this, and there was a showy chocolate dessert there also. I’m making another batch this weekend. Would it work to use oil instead of the butter for the cake?

Nancy (n.o.e.)

I made this with home picked blackberries and it was delicious, despite accidentally using maple syrup instead of maple sugar (oops) for the topping. It was a beautiful cake, the lemon taste was phenomenal and it was delicately moist. It certainly didn’t taste like I made a mistake, but I would use maple or brown sugar for the topping next time just for a texture difference.
HS: It’s good to know the syrup substitution works ;)…


Haha! I just got an instant message from my co-worker with a link to this recipe. I think it might be a hint! We’ll have to see. They *might* have huckleberries at Idylwilde Farm, and I’m going there tomorrow anyway. If not, I’m almost certain they have wild blueberries.

Dawn of Dawn's Recipes

I made this yesterday to serve as “the” birthday cake for a colleague today. I used blueberries, but otherwise followed the ingredients list to the letter. I made it in a springform pan, which eliminated the need for parchment paper, and allowed for a more “torte” looking appearance. Since I knew the volume would be spread out more, I didn’t layer the topping with the batter–just added all the topping across all the batter. I did scatter a few flash-frozen wild blueberries across the top just before popping it in the oven. My colleagues went WILD over it. The birthday girl is on a “no refined flours or sugars” diet, and this was my way of treating everyone without trotting out chocolate ganache. What a success!
HS: So glad it went well Jenifer! Thanks for reporting back. Also glad to hear the springform worked nicely. -h


Ok, I finally got around to making this recipe last night. And instead of huckleberries I ended up using chopped Black Mission Figs. Delicious! And i LOVE the hint of rosemary/thyme. Next time I’d use a litte more. Thank you!
HS: ooooh. Love the fig idea.

Michelle @ What Does Your Body Good?

I posted my comment twice by mistake and now have to add to it, too. (Luckily my baking skills today are much better than my computer skills.) The recipe took a bit of time (I also had a one-year-old hanging on my skirt,) but was certainly worth it. I substituted walnuts for pecans, since that is what I had at home. But, then forgot to add them to the topping. (Did I mention the one-year-old.) So, I just sprinkled them on top of the whole thing and it worked out fine. Also, I used a bundt cake pan and it looked nice like that. The cooking time stayed the same. And the herbs were subtle and wonderful — fresh from the garden. Yum! Yum!


I just finished baking this and it is the BEST coffee cake I have ever made! We have tons of huckleberries this year on our property. I’ll have to make it again before the season ends.


Delicious! We made this for my co-op tonight, with liberal substitutions (blueberries, brown sugar instead of maple, and then veganizing the whole thing) and it was still spectacular. The recipe really showcases the berries.
Thanks for another winner, Heidi!
HS: Glad you liked it!


Not a single Huckleberry here in France, I don’t even know if the name of that little fruit can be translated in French, so I’ll try your recipe with blueberries.

Flo Makanai

As always, this looks delicious! I recently made your buttermilk cake with blueberries and it turned out beautifully (as well as your cobbler and crisps recipes….I bought too many blueberries from the farmer’s market!) I look forward to trying this with the last of the season’s berries.
Thanks for having such a great website, Heidi. You are full of good ideas and this is always my first stop when looking for a new recipe.


That looks SO good! My favorite thing is the crumb topping. I love that it is whole grain and good sugar!


Simple beautiful! It reminds me of a blueberry buckle that I made a few years ago — loaded with fruit and super moist. I’ve only had huckleberries a few times in my life – they are wonderful.

Allen of EOL

hmmmmm? I’m thinking Blueberries! Like the idea of Cranberries! That would definately give you a sweet/Tart taste. Going to try making this this upcoming weekend as a treat to self;o)


I have been searching for a coffee cake with no white flour in it! Thanks!


Lovely description, photo and recipe. I wish I could cut a piece out right now. I’d brew a fresh cup of coffee and have at it.


Hate to be picky, and this does sound like a wonderful recipe, but it isn’t gluten free – oats have gluten in them and therefore unsuitable for those of us with gluten allergies.
HS: Hi Kath, this recipe isn’t tagged GF, it has wheat flour in it in addition to the oats. But as an aside, my understanding is there are oats that are GF and not cross-contaminated – but you have to seek them out.


This is perfect! I just recently bought some wild huckleberries at a local farmer’s market and was wondering what to do with the rest of them before they went bad. I can’t wait to try it out! 🙂


I made this and woweeee! Best baked good I’ve made in ages. Unfortunately, I was out of wheat and had to use white flour, so can’t really comment on the recipe all around. Also, I used frozen blueberries b/c it’s what was around – defrosted and drained.
I just can’t believe how delicious and pretty it was! Heidi, you are so right about the parchment paper – I’m going to start using it all the time. It’s been gathering dust on my shelf for ages.

Sara Grace

This looks scrumptious! I want to make some right now! Thanks for sharing!


Gorgeous. Oops… sorry drooling on the keyboard!

Life Chef

Oh my, that looks positively scrumptious.


Oh my Heidi the fall bug must be in the air, for all the recipes from the last few e-mails have been wonderful, so I too will be getting some berries at the local farmers market up here in Maple Grove, MN to make this recipe for brunch!


I thought that there was coffee in the ingredients -coffee cake like chocholate cake


This looks fabulous! For those of us who are currently cooking for one, can this be baked as muffins for easier portioning and freezing?


looks fabulous, Heidi. I love anything with maple – so I’m happy to see this!


This looks absolutely amazing! Thank you for the recipe! 😀


I was just opening your post and my husband came by. He only said: “God it looks very appealing and delicious! When do you make one like that at home honey?” Straight from the heart 🙂


I’m almost crying. I’ve just used up most of my last batch of blueberries from a local farm shop, and I know it’s now too late for the berries to be around where I am. Oh well. The saving grace is that I’m going to have some blackberries at hand – but they’re frozen. Would they make the cake too soggy? Might as well give it a try and see how it goes.


Yum! This looks wonderful. I have never tried a huckleberry baked good before, but it looks delish. Adding the herbs sound like a great addition as well.

Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

Oh goodness! This looks INSANELY delicious. I MUST find huckleberries so I can make this immediately! 🙂


Ahhh, you are killing me with that first picture! I’m so hungry now.

The Wind Attack

Looks amazing! Mmmm…a perfect breakfast.


This, like, personifies fall!

S. from The Student Stomach

I wonder how cranberries would be…it looks delicious and perfect for fall!

Fit Bottomed Girls

I have never seen this kind of berry before,but I bet it would be very nice with black-currants or blueberries too.


WOW!! that looks so moist and delicious, I do not have those kinds of berries i will look high and low if i do not find them i will use a variety of mixed berries and see how that will turn out! thanks

Tomasina Harper

Oh my gosh, I think my brain is going to fall out and I haven’t even made this yet. My boyfriend and I are going to his grandparents later this week, I think this will be perfect to bring over!


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