Blueberry Cheese Danish Cake

April 18, 2010 · 47 comments

filed in: Bakery,Dairy,Desserts,Fruit

Blueberry Cheese Danish Cake

The blueberry season has just arrived where I live, and I’ve been happily working my way through my list of favorite uses for this wonderfully flavorful, vitamin-rich native American fruit. I’ve been eating fresh blueberries with cereal for breakfast, having them in liquid form as smoothies for lunch, and serving them with yogurt as an afternoon pick-me-up.

In this buttermilk cake recipe, however, I chose to get “my thrill on Blueberry Hill” by combining blueberries with ingredients that complement their flavor so very well: American Neufchatel cheese (a less rich form of cream cheese), lemons, and almonds. In other words, I aimed for the composition and taste of a blueberry cheese Danish pastry, but in cake form. This is a lovely, simple, and moist cake that would work equally well with other brightly flavored soft fruits, such as cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, bilberries, or apricots.

ingredients

For the cake:

1 1/2 cup unbleached flour
2  teaspoons double acting baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
A pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

8 ounces American Neufchatel cheese, or cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon unbleached flour
1 egg
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 cups fresh or fresh frozen blueberries
1/2 cup sliced almonds

preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9-inch round cake or spring form pan and lightly dust it with flour.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add 1 cup light brown sugar and beat for approximately one minute until light and well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for approximately two minutes after each addition. Alternately, add one-half of the flour mixture and one-half of the yogurt, beating briefly on low after each addition. Repeat. Stir in the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan.
  4. In a mixing bowl, beat together the Neufchatel (or cream) cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon flour, 1 egg, and the lemon zest for approximately two minutes until very smooth and creamy. Spoon this cheese mixture over the cake batter and spread, leaving a one-inch margin of cake batter exposed around the perimeter of the cake, as shown in the photo above. Sprinkle the blueberries over the Neufchatel cheese mixture and the sliced almonds around the perimeter of the cake, as shown in the photo above.
  5. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake to room temperature and serve.

notes:
If you prefer a sweeter cake, an optional glaze may be applied to this cake after removing it from the oven. Whisk together 1 tablespoon lemon juice with 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar and drizzle the mixture over the top of the cake.

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{ 43 Comments...read them below or add one }

bev February 11, 2013 at 6:37 pm

I came across this picture on pintrest today and it is now baking in the oven, easy but great recipe and so glad you gave of yourself freely to us all. Thanks again, Bev

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Rachel Melrose October 17, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Hello, can I substitute almond milk for buttermilk in this recipe?

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Barbara October 18, 2012 at 7:22 am

I have no personal experience using almond milk in cake recipes, Rachel. However, several online sources suggests that this works reasonably well. For example, http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianvegan101/f/MilkSubstitutes.htm suggests a combination of almond milk and white vinegar or lemon juice. Using their formula, you would substitute 2/3 cup almond milk and 2 teaspoons vinegar (or lemon juice) for the buttermilk in this recipe.

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Michelle May 8, 2011 at 8:01 pm

I was wondering if you could give me some advice for this recipe. I made this for Mothers day brunch, and the flavors were fabulous! The only issue I had was the cooking time. I used a dark spring form pan, and have an electric oven. The cake was definitely not done in 40 minutes. I had to bake it an extra 30 minutes, till the toothpick came out clean. The cake part came out over-done. Do you have any suggestions on how I can adjust, so it comes out better next time? Thanks so much!

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Barbara May 9, 2011 at 5:14 am

So sorry it didn’t work for you, Michelle. And on Mother’s Day, no less!

You say that the cake part came out overcooked after baking it for 70 minutes. Which part of the cake seemed undercooked to you after the recommended 40-50 minutes baking period? Perhaps I should have instructed to bake until the cake pulls away from the side of the pan, rather than apply the toothpick test, since cooked blueberries will always stain a toothpick purple. Or was your difficulty with the cream cheese layer, which for me baked to a cheesecake-like custard consistency in 40 minutes?

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Pat May 4, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Third time I’m making this cake, we love it! Its super impressive to take to gatherings and not a bad Brunch contribution either! Its in the oven baking right now for Teacher appreciation week. Hope they will love it as much as we do.

About refrigeration, we have stored this in the fridge whenever there is any left over. I too think it will be fine if you just cover it in some plastic wrap and take along the ride with you. Sometimes if we travel 1-2 hours, I just put food in a cooler pack with some ice just to be on the safe side, but I like serving this at room temp.

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Barbara May 5, 2011 at 8:16 am

Many thanks for letting me know, Pat. Feedback from people who actually make these recipes — preferably positive (ahem!) — is greatly appreciated.

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Tanya April 19, 2011 at 3:47 am

Hi! I wanted to make this in advance and bring it the next day to a beach house. The car ride is about 2 hours. Do you have any suggestions for storing overnight and transport? I thought perhaps leaving the cake in the Springform pan, wrapping in plastic wrap and freezing overnight. Then transport in a cooler with ice? What do you think? Thanks!

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Barbara April 19, 2011 at 5:48 am

That would work. Since I don’t serve this cake chilled, another approach would be to freeze it, covered, overnight and let it thaw on the car trip.

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Pam October 2, 2010 at 12:44 pm

The cake looks fabulous and I made it but I substituted 2 tablespoons of lemon juice for lemon zest. I got that conversion off the internet. However the cake was not cooked in the center. I continued to cook it for 75 mins and I realize now it must have been because of this. What can I substitute or lemon zest if I don’t have any. Thank you for all the great recipes!

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Barbara October 2, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Oh so sorry! By adding the extra liquid of the extra lemon juice, the batter would have been both wetter and taller, both of which would have added to the baking time. Next time, it might be best if you just leave out the lemon zest (grated fresh lemon peel) or, instead, add just a couple of drops of lemon extract as a substitute. Other possible issues? Was your baking pan smaller than 9 inches (about 23 centimeters)? That would also have made the baking period longer. The size and color of the baking pan used can have a big impact on cake baking time, as can slight differences in the oven temperature. Again, so sorry you had trouble!

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marla {family fresh cooking} June 26, 2010 at 8:11 am

Barbara, if I were to go for it and enjoy a sweet treat, I would look no further than this creamy blueberry cheesecake. It is beautiful to look at and filled with ingredients I love: blueberries, cream cheese and almonds. This would be great for summer entertaining! xo

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Amelia May 12, 2010 at 12:36 am

Just wanted to say that I made this the other night and it was ABSOLUTELY delicious! It took much longer than 40 minutes to bake, though, but I think this was probably because I used frozen blueberries and didn’t thaw them out properly before adding them… anyway, thanks for the recipe. Everyone who tasted it is eager to have it again!

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Barbara May 12, 2010 at 5:57 am

Many thanks for you kind comments and also your helpful feedback. I used a dark colored, 9-inch springform pan for this cake, and it was done (in fact, slightly overdone) in 40 minute. However, I have noticed myself, when following recipes, that even slight differences in pan size, color, or oven temperature can have a significant impact on the baking time required. Based on your feedback, I have edited the above to include a baking time range.

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MaryMoh April 29, 2010 at 8:24 am

Beautiful picture…looks very delicious. I wish I can have a slice!

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Barbara Bakes April 27, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Definitely a fabulous way to use both blueberries and cream cheese. I’d be happy to eat this for breakfast too!

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Barbara April 27, 2010 at 7:25 pm

I must admit that I did have a small slice of this for breakfast the day after making it, and it went down pretty well. My personal preference is for unfrosted cakes, this one is not excessively sweet, and it would work well as a coffee cake also.

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Rima April 27, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Can i use frozen blueberries? or strawberries even?

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Barbara April 27, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Frozen blueberries, thawed and drained, should work just fine. Based on my sense of this newly developed recipe, it would also work well with other soft fruits such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries (with more sugar added), apricots, perhaps peaches, or a mixture of these sweet/tart fruits.

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Delishhh April 27, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Looks sooo good, i will have to make it soon!

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Krissie April 24, 2010 at 6:05 am

WOW that looks divine…I have to try it and SOON!
I was wondering, I’m from Malta and we don’t get buttermilk here, would any plain yogurt do the trick?
Also, would regular baking powder work as well as the double acting type?
Thanks for the inspiration!

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Barbara April 24, 2010 at 6:29 am

Many thanks for your kind comments. Plain yogurt or sour cream would work well, and any baking powder should work well for this cake also.

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Joanne April 21, 2010 at 6:30 pm

I don’t think I’ve seen a better way to enjoy blueberries yet this season! What a lovely cake, you paired the flavors beautifully.

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TaraTakesCake April 21, 2010 at 12:50 am

This looks fantastic! I am going to make this ASAP. Beautiful photography too!

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Shannon @ bakeandbloom.com April 20, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Amazing, I have never seen anything quite like it. I can’t wait to try it out.

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Magdalena April 20, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Very nice; especially that it is with blueberries, which I like a lot!

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Toonie April 19, 2010 at 8:40 pm

I just made it today, it came out so amazing! The cream cheese filling goes very well with the cake. Everybody in my family loves it. Thanks for the recipe.

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Barbara April 20, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Many thanks, and I’m glad it worked for you.

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julia April 19, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Stunning! I LOVE danish!

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Memoria April 19, 2010 at 2:11 pm

What lovely photos of such a tantalizing cake! I love the three process photos you posted. They sum up the process perfectly. I’m bookmarking this recipe.

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Arnold April 19, 2010 at 1:57 pm

This looks very nice. I have to compliment you on the photographs you publish with your recipes, they are marvelous.

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Cherine April 19, 2010 at 9:18 am

Gorgeous cake. Really fantastic!

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Heavenly Housewife April 19, 2010 at 8:56 am

Wow, this looks so beautiful. I bet something like this would be a real show stopper if you have guests coming over. I am going to book mark this, I’ve got to try it.
*kisses* HH

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Lana @ Never Enough Thyme April 19, 2010 at 8:36 am

Beautiful cake. Love the combination of the flavors of blueberry and lemon with buttermilk in the batter. I planted blueberries last year and they are in full bloom right now. I’ll file this one away and make it when the blueberries are ripe a little later this year!

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Heather Davis April 19, 2010 at 7:50 am

This looks really lovely Barbara. Blueberries are my favourite fruit and I love including them in desserts. I have not heard of neufchatel cheese so don’t know whether you can get it in England but will try it with normal cream cheese.

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Barbara April 20, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Normal cream cheese would work just fine and be more scrumptious. Cheese terminology is a bit complicated, at least here in the US. Real Neufchatel cheese is of ancient French origins. American-style “cream cheese” (as in Kraft Philadelphia brand) resulted from a failed attempt to make it in the 1800s. And American “Neufchatel” cheese is now simply the longstanding (and essentially incorrect) name for “cream” cheese made with a lower level of butterfat in it. Don’t ask me why.

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Amanda April 19, 2010 at 7:48 am

Wow Barbara that is gorgeous!!

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Ciaochowlinda April 19, 2010 at 7:40 am

I love the combination of blueberries and lemon, and your cake looks so inviting and deliciously moist. Can’t wait to try it.

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HoneyB April 19, 2010 at 5:59 am

This is one gorgeous cake – and it has elements of everything I love! My family will be treated to this at our next gathering!

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Mags April 19, 2010 at 12:52 am

Our family has chosen cheesecakes over regular cakes for their birthdays. I can’t wait to see which of my kids chooses this one. It looks spectacular!

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5 Star Foodie April 19, 2010 at 12:02 am

This cake looks amazing – so delicious with blueberries and almonds!

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megan April 18, 2010 at 10:56 pm

YES Please!!! I’ll send you my address if you send me a piece! Pleeeese!

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Winnie April 18, 2010 at 10:48 pm

So beautiful!
I bet this is a fantastic tasting cake…
I love danish filling but not so much the pastry part – this sounds much much better.

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