Ch. 40: The Sweet & Salty Blueberry Miso Crumb Cake


I’m always looking for some new and innovative flavors to try out whenever I’m searching for recipes. I tend to leave that to the experts who seem to have an endless supply of ingredients and all the time in the world to mess up- I mean that is their job. For me, I’m weary of experimenting too much in fear that I’ll waste some pretty pricey ingredients, and will maybe spend the whole day trying to make a recipe that won’t work. So I take my cues from people who know what they’re doing. I managed to finally get my hands on some whole wheat flour (the first time I’d found it this entire lockdown) and did a little digging to see what my first recipe would be so I could put it to use. The one that stuck out to me was a Blueberry Miso Crumb Cake- which just seemed like a total flavor bomb. I still had a good portion of the bag of frozen blueberries on hand, as well as the leftover miso paste from Miso Almond Butter Cookies (see that post!). The recipe was developed by Chris Morocco who, having developed the cookies, I trusted because his use of miso in desserts was almost mad scientist-like. I gathered up the ingredients, hoping my new miso guru would come through yet again. 

As far as cakes go, this one is a breeze. I chose to halve the recipe in order to make a cake that was more right-sized for the three of us. The recipe starts off by preparing a cake pan with nonstick spray (or butter) and then coating it with whole wheat flour (more on that later.) I opted for an 8” springform for the reduced amounts, and because springform is just so much easier to serve out of. I then whisked together the whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt. The entire cake uses whole wheat flour which has a coarser, more nutty flavor than all purpose. Separately, I made the crumb topping by combining more whole wheat flour, melted butter, light brown sugar, and miso paste in a bowl. I mixed it together with my hands to get that wet sand texture. The smell coming off this was like an umami yankee candle– salty, sweet and complex. The wet mix comes together by whisking eggs, brown sugar, greek yogurt, vanilla and melted butter. I had to swap for regular plain yogurt as that’s what I had on hand, and really it turned out just fine. The wet gets added into the dry, and stirred until just combined. Then, the other star of the show, frozen blueberries, gets folded in until well mixed. The batter is poured into the prepared pan and smoothed on top before the crumble is liberally sprinkled over. I then baked the cake for about 50-60 minutes- or really until a toothpick comes out of the center mostly clean. Keep an eye on it as the crumble will  brown around the 30-40 minute mark (based on my oven), after which you’ll want to tent it with foil so it doesn’t burn. 

Let me tell you, this cake has it all. It’s sweet from the brown sugar, and gets a nice saltiness and savoriness from the miso. The blueberries give a pop of moisture to the cake which is already incredibly tender, and the topping has a nice crunchiness. I talked about how the Miso Almond Butter Cookies were a lesson in balanced desserts, but really this recipe should share the crown as well. The swap for regular yogurt versus Greek probably led to a softer, moister cake, which will only be even better the next day. I find that most coffee cake / crumb cake recipes tend to be pretty firm or dense (likely made so in order to hold up the topping), so it was nice to get one that was soft and airy. The whole wheat flour gives the cake a nice bite, as well as a slight nuttiness that works well with the miso and blueberries. Other than my yogurt swap, I’d say follow the recipe exactly as the amounts and overall flavor is excellent. Some reviewers mentioned that the full recipe doesn’t fit into a 9” pan as stated. My half recipe was great in the 8” springform, so if you make the full batch, simply use a 10” pan instead. I do recommend the springform as the cake is so tender, it’ll make for some messy slices when serving it directly out of the pan. The removable sides make for easy work. Please make this recipe– I guarantee it’ll be one to impress. I’m already anticipating a slice for tomorrow’s breakfast. 

Full Recipe | Method by Chris Morocco of Bon Appetit:

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