Blackberry Buttermilk Coffee Cake

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This simple blackberry coffee cake recipe is made with buttermilk, fresh blackberries, and an addictive pecan crumb topping. Soft, sweet, and full of fresh baked berry juices with a buttery crunch on top, this easy streusel topped blackberry cake can be in the oven baking in just 15 minutes.

a slice of blackberry coffee cake on a white plate with a gold border.

My favorite part of warm weather is when those summer first berries strike the market. Once they’re in hand, they’re going to snacked on and baked into things like mixed berry cobblers, berry crumble bars, and of course, this soft, fluffy blackberry coffee cake.

It’s everything I love about coffee cake – tender and moist with a crumbly sugary top. But the bursts of tart-sweet berries hiding just below that crumb layer make it an irresistible, special treat that I CRAVE. It takes me just minutes to get into my oven (especially with my quick trick for making the streusel topping), and makes the baked good for Mother’s day, Easter, or just because you want to have cake for breakfast…and then again for dessert.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Amazing Flavor – The juicy blackberries get gooey and delicious, topped with crunchy sweet pecan streusel, over a soft, fluffy buttermilk cake…haven’t I sold you yet?
  • 15 minutes of Prep – With my tips you can get the cake baking in just 15 quick minutes thanks to a food processor hack.
  • Freezes Well – Enjoy slices from the freezer for 3 months after baking.
  • Great to Bake Ahead – This cake might be better day 2! Feel free to bake it 48 hours ahead of when you need it.

What is Coffee Cake?

As a kid I always thought coffee cake was cake made with coffee. Back in the 17th century there were versions of sweet breads, eaten alongside coffee or tea, that contained actual coffee flavor.

BUT, the origin of the name actually comes from coffee break tradition in Germany, where sweet yeast breads (and eventually cakes) were enjoyed with their morning brew. Now the variations are endless and you’ll find them ranging from classic preparations to studded with fruit or infused with fall flavors like my pumpkin streusel coffee cake.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Baking is technical, so I recommend sticking as close to the ingredient list as possible. Where substitutions can be made I’ve shared my best suggestions below.

Ingredients to make blackberry coffee cake including buttermilk, blackberries, butter, sugar, pecans, flour, and vanilla.
  • All- Purpose Flour
  • White Sugar – Use traditional granulated or pure cane sugar.
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Baking powder + Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Vanilla Extract – Try making your own vanilla to save some $$!
  • Blackberries – Fresh is preferable, but frozen can also work. Toss frozen berries in 1 tablespoon of flour mixed with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch before adding them to the cake.
  • Unsalted Pecans – Any other nut can also be used based on your preferences.
  • Buttermilk – Either store bought or homemade buttermilk both work great.

Pro Tips: It’s key for your eggs and butter to be at the right temp. Eggs should be room temperature. Accomplish that quickly by placing the eggs (in their shells) into warm water while you gather the rest of the ingredients. Butter should be COLD. Keep it in the fridge until you need it.

Step by Step Instructions

I love crumb toppings. Give me allllll the streusel. But I don’t like the dirty dishes of making it. This blackberry coffee cake is so beautiful because the batter and crumb topping happen practically all at once, in one bowl!

Step 1 – Cut in the Butter

Get out your food processor or blender. Add in the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and pulse to combine it. Add in 1/2 cup of butter and pulse until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Dump it into a large bowl, then return 1 cup of the crumb-like mixture to the food processor. Add in the remaining butter and pecans, until the nuts are in coarse chunks. You’ve just made your crumb topping. Stick it in the fridge until you need it.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have a food processor and want to do this by hand follow the same steps. First cut the 1/2 cup of butter into the flour mixture. Remove one cup, cut in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, and add in the nuts. You’ll have to chop the pecans by hand first, but it will work just fine!

a blue 9x13 pan with batter inside next to a bowl of crumb topping and a bowl of blackberries.

Step 2 – Add the liquids

Lightly beat the egg into the buttermilk with the vanilla, then stir it into the flour crumb mixture. Don’t overmix, the lumps are normal and expected because the butter is still cold. Just fold the batter until no dry spots remain.

Pour your batter into a 9×13 baking dish. You don’t need to grease or otherwise prepare it unless you’re using metal.

Pro Tip: Make your own buttermilk by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or plain white vinegar to 1 cup of milk. Stir and let it sit for 5 minutes. Need non-dairy? Use oat milk! It works great as buttermilk.

a blue 9x13 pan with batter topped with blackberries inside.

Step 3 – Add the Blackberries & Streusel

Cut any large berries in half (if they’re bigger than the top joint of your thumb) so they don’t sink into the batter. Then top the batter with the berries. Don’t stir the batter.

Spread the pecan streusel over the top in an even layer. Again, don’t press down or stir, or the berries will sink. Bake for 35 minutes in a 350°F oven.

a blue 9x13 pan with a baked cake inside topped by a streusel topping.

FAQs

Can I use a different size baking dish?

The 9×13 works the best for perfect cake to crumb topping ratio. An 8×8 will work, but you’ll have a thicker cake, and will need to add 5 to 10 minutes to the bake time.

Can I use a different berry?

Sure! Blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry will all work. The important thing is that any fruit pieces you add are no larger than about a penny to avoid sinking.

Can you freeze blackberry coffee cake?

Yes. Once baked and cooled, slice it into pieces and transfer to an airtight, freezer safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months then thaw at room temperature and consume within 3 days.

How do I store coffee cake?

Cover and leave it at room temperature, then serve when ready. It stays good on the counter for up to 3 days, then the quality begins to go down. 5 days is maximum.

a slice of blackberry buttermilk coffee cake with a fork beside it.

Go on, pour yourself a hot cup of coffee, and cut a nice piece of your sweet, delicious blackberry buttermilk coffee cake. I’ll be printing it out myself and leaving it somewhere very obvious before Mother’s day….Happy Eating!

Other Cake recipes you may enjoy…

Love this recipe? Please consider leaving a 5 star rating in the recipe card below, or a comment to share your experience with fellow home cooks. I hope you enjoy and as always, Happy Eating!

a slice of blackberry coffee cake on a plate.

Pecan Blackberry Coffee Cake

Mikayla M.
A sweet cake studded with tart-sweet, juicy berries and topped with a crispy pecan crumble that works perfectly with a cup of coffee or as dessert.
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Calories 450 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 1/4 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Cups white sugar cane or granulated
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 Cup butter, + 2 Tbs unsalted
  • 1 Cup buttermilk *
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pecans unsalted
  • 2 cup blackberries

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Wash and dry blackberries gently, slicing in half if large. Set aside.
  • Cut butter into chunks, keeping 2 tablespoons separate from the 1/2 cup. 
  • Place flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add in 1/2 cup of butter. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs no larger than peas.*
  • Dump flour mixture into a large bowl. Return 1 cup to the food processor, add the remaining butter and pecans. Pulse until nuts break down and you have a coarse crumb mixture. Refrigerate crumb mixture. 
  • Add buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture. Stir until incorporated. The butter will remain chunky, this is what you want. Just stir until there are no dry spots or obvious spots of egg. 
  • Pour into a 9×13 baking dish. Top with blackberries, then with the crumb mixture. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 
  • Cool at least 10 minutes, cut and enjoy! Store in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap for 3 days.*

Notes

* If you don’t have buttermilk, place 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup. Fill with milk to the 1 cup measurement. Stir and let sit. Do this at the beginning of the recipe and it will be ready by the time you need it. 
*This is possible to do by hand. Cut the 1/2 cup of butter into the flour sugar mix by hand, remove one cup and cut the remaining butter into that. Chop the pecans by hand and mix to make the crumb topping.
*This cake is great day 2! Bake ahead for a lovely morning treat.

Nutrition

Calories: 450kcalCarbohydrates: 67gProtein: 6gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 321mgPotassium: 239mgFiber: 3gSugar: 43gVitamin A: 444IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 88mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Originially published 5/2/2019, Updated 5/8/2024

Nutrition information and cooking times are provided as a best estimate. Values may vary based upon ingredients and equipment.

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18 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this for a work breakfast potluck and everyone loved it. They said it had the perfect balance of sweetness not overly sweet like so many coffee cakes are.

    1. I haven’t tried it, but I believe it will be just fine. I’d make sure it’s portioned and wrapped and let it thaw in the fridge before bringing it back to room temperature. I’d love to hear how it goes!

  2. 5 stars
    I’m also excited for berry season. This pecan blackberry coffee cake will be perfect when I’m hosting our morning bible study. The ladies will go crazy over this bread.