in the kitchen with: susan schwake’s blueberry cake

This week’s recipe for a Blueberry Cake comes from Susan Schwake of artstream studios in Rochester, New Hampshire.  I like to tease Susan about living in a little cabin in the big woods and about getting all of her provisions from Nelly’s general store. (Those of you who ever read the book or watched Little House on the Prairie will get the joke.)  It was fitting therefore to get a great homemade cake recipe from Susan, who got this from a family friend and has been making it for years.  Though I tried to negotiate with Susan for us to put a streusel top on it, she was adamant that the simple sugar top stay because it is light and crunchy– something I’d never experienced before.  Even refrigerated, it stays crunchy!!  In the spirit of full disclosure, when googling the recipe, I found a reference to this cake being from Marjorie Standish cookbook “Cooking Downeast” however there are many more entries which list an entirely different recipe.  So while Susan did receive this from a friend, the exact origin is unclear.  It’s still really good, and perfect with coffee!!  -Kristina

About Susan: Susan Schwake grew up in a creative family.  She attended art school in the 70s and  for the past 17 years she has run an independent art school.  For the past nine years the art school has been part of artstream, llc which also houses a contemporary gallery and media design studio.   She has curated over 70 shows both in her own gallery and as a guest curator in others.  During 2011 she wrote a book called Art Lab for Kids 52 projects in drawing,painting, printmaking, paper and mixed media. It is a smattering of lessons pulled from her experiences in teaching art to children and adults.  In October, she will be part of a show with Eric Boettcher at artstream.  More about Susan and her own art can be found at her website.

The full recipe continues after the jump…

Blueberry Cake

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups sugar + 1/4 cup for the topping
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup mild oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups blueberries (frozen are also good)

Beat the eggs, sugar and oil until foamy. Add the rest of the ingredients except the blueberries. Fold in the blueberries. (frozen are fine – just make sure they are not in big stuck together lumps)

Spread into a greased and floured 9×13 pan. Sprinkle to the top with a tsp of nutmeg and 1/4 cup of sugar. 350F for 50 minutes.


Why Susan loves this recipe

This recipe was given to me by my dearest family friend who is from Maine. We have been friends for over 20 years.  There has never been a time when I have been at her house and not been offered a hermit or biscotti cookie or a slice of cake with coffee. This is her “stand-by” cake and I was thrilled the day she offered to share the recipe with me. It’s easy and incredibly good – for breakfast even, if you are feeling wicked.


Yum! I wonder whether it would be ok to substitute other soft fruit with blueeberries if you didn’t have any on hand?


This looks very similar to my family’s blueberry cake: Blueberry Boy Bait from Pillsbury’s Bake-off Dessert Cookbook, circa 1968. I’ll have to try a nutmeg sugar topping instead of our cinnamon sugar topping.


I am going to try this very soon and share with my best friend who loves blueberry muffins!


Tried it, very good. I used whole wheat flour and rasberries because that’s what I had and it was yummy.


this reminds me of a recipe my aunt used to make. she had lived n berlin for quite a few years, where the community she was in had created this wonderful adaptation by integrating german and greek recipes.

Eileen Voss

Wonderful recipe! The nutmeg/sugar crunchy topping is really good. Thanks very much! I’ll make this often.

Eileen Voss

Not sure which oils work for your recommended “mild,” so I guessed and tried peanut oil. Worked well.


my cousins own one of the largest wild blueberry farms in Maine and I live in the wonderful state. I have 25lbs of this summer’s harvest in my freezer… heh. Can’t wait to make this beauty.


Go Betsy! This cake freezes well too …. S G: toss the frozen blueberries with a little of the flour and that should help them “fold in” more neatly. Defrosted berries tend to run a lot. It still tastes lovely though!

blockie steve

I made some blueberry jam last week.Flavoured with vanilla and maple syrup.I guessed that blueberries and maple go together on pancakes ,why not jam then.Also toying around with using crumble crusts as sprinkles on desserts like ice-cream.Nice work.


I love this classic New England recipe (also known as a blueberry buckle). We used the high bush blueberries we picked at Crabtree’s in Sebago, Maine this summer. The dessert is so easy to prepare, and is most definitely a crowd pleaser! Thanks so much for sharing it here.


When they say ‘add in the remaining ingrediants’ does that mean to beat them, or do you just dump in all that flour? Sorry, I’m kind of a baking novice and not exactly sure what the batter should look like before you fold in the blueberries.

Shelley Barrett

I made this cake with frozen blueberries after first converting all the American measurements to UK ones! My daughter absolutely loved it and couldn’t stop eating it… I will definitely be making this cake again. Thank you from London :)