Just Dessert · What's for Breakfast?

Blueberry Boy-Bait


Seriously – that's the name of the recipe.  I didn't make it up myself.

And if you were looking for blueberry recipes and you came across that one, wouldn't you HAVE to make it?  Come on now, be honest.  You would.

And you'd also be very glad you tried the recipe out, because this little cake is very good.

I found it in Christopher Kimball's The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook, which I seem to be turning to a lot lately.  I've used a couple jam recipes now, and I figured there would be a tempting blueberry (non-jam) recipe somewhere in the pages as well.

Blueberry Boy-Bait does not disappoint.  Not only is the cake good, but so is the little story behind the name.  Mr. Kimball writes:

"This is my all-time favorite recipe name.  It comes from Renny Powell, a teenager from Chicago, who submitted this recipe in 1954 to the Pillsbury $100,000 Recipe & Baking Contest (now known as the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest) and won second prize in the junior division.  This is a very light one-layer cake with blueberries and a simple crumble topping.  Ms. Powell evidently found it useful in attracting members of the opposite sex and, based on my testing, I would have to agree that it's pretty good bait.  I made a few changes from the original, including reducing the sugar level (recipes from the 1950s are usually too sweet), cutting back on the amount of topping, and increasing the volume of blueberries.  We now use this recipe at the farmhouse, so that when neighbors stop by for a cup of coffee we have something to serve with it."

Isn't that delightful?  You really have to make it now, don't you?

Okay, here's the recipe:

2 cups flour

1/4 cups sugar

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) cold butter

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, separated

1 cup milk

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, washed, drained, and blotted with paper towels (or frozen blueberries that have been thoroughly thawed and drained)


1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 13 x 9-inch pan with butter and then flour it lightly.  Sift together the flour and sugar into a large mixing bowl.  Cut the butter into pieces, then work into the flour mixture using your fingertips or a pastry blender.  (If you have a food processor, place the flour and sugar in bowl and pulse to mix.  Add the butter, which should be cold and cut into pieces, and pulse 7 or 8 times until the flour takes on the texture of coarse meal.) Reserve 1/2 cup of this mixture to use as a topping.





(I made one little addition to the recipe here - I added 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon to the 1/2 cup reserved flour mixture/crumb topping.  Just wanted to give it a little extra spark of flavor.  Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly.)


2.  Add the baking powder, the salt, the egg yolks (reserve the whites), and the milk to the flour mixture still in the bowl.  (If you used a food processor, put the processed flour mixture in a different bowl now, not the processor one.)  Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for about 3 minutes.  (This can also be done by hand with a wooden spoon.)



3.  In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until they hold 2-inch peaks. 








Fold gently into the batter. 



Spread batter in the prepared pan. 


Sprinkle blueberries (make sure they are dry) on top,


then sprinkle with the reserved 1/2 cup crumb mixture.


4.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the center of the cake bounces back when pressed with the flat side of a fork.  Let cool for 30 minutes before serving either as a coffee cake or a dessert, the latter with whipped cream.


Once the cake cooled, I cut it up into squares (okay, squares and rectangles)



and stacked them on a cake plate (so I could take a picture of them ON the cake plate, mostly)


and then I stepped back and let the family devour them. 

I did manage to snag a couple for myself, and I sent some across the street to my friend, K, who just found out she's pregnant and therefore NEEDS to eat for two.

I'm thinking of making them again and maybe increasing the crumb topping, just because I love the crumb topping part, but the cake doesn't require it.  It's incredibly tasty as-is.

Blueberry Boy-Bait.

Guess I should plan to teach Julia to make this, so later on she can catch herself a man. 

HAHAHAHA – just kidding.  She won't resort to bait.  She'll just whack one on the head and drag him back to her cave.


9 thoughts on “Blueberry Boy-Bait

  1. Nigella Lawson has this recipe, complete with the back story, in her baking guide “How to Be a Domestic Goddess”. I can highly recommend that if you don’t have it already. We were given it as a wedding present by Doc C’s band, and it’s just a lovely book.

  2. That looks really good! I’ve looked at that recipe many times, but I always skip over it since I don’t like blueberries. I really need to see if it will work with other fruit (maybe raspberries?). And I love the comment about how Julia will get herself a man. Brianna, will probably just talk one to death until he gives in and agrees to be hers. =P

  3. Just made this for church coffee hour this morning–RAVES! Definitely going in the keeper pile.

  4. Hi,
    Do you think putting some peach slices in there as well would bake up okay?

    It looks so yummy and moist.

  5. Hello

    I was hoping to try this recipe, but can’t seem to find a printer friendly page? I don’t want to print all the photos, (uses too much ink) although they’d be wonderful to have, & am wondering if it is possible for you to direct me to your printer friendly page/link.

    Thanks so much,


  6. I just copy it on to a Word document and take out what I don’t want. The nice thing is you can add back in any changes or comments that you want to. If you do not have Word, you could do it in an email to yourself and put it in a folder for recipes. Then it is set to send to others, too, without even attaching!

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