Lemon Berry Coffee Cake
Nina Herndon
March 5, 2023
August 16, 2023

I created this recipe years ago and I still love it! My roommate at the time and I decided that it would be fun to host a housewarming brunch. I found a labor intensive recipe for sticky lemon rolls that  looked delicious, but being the wise woman that mom is she gently encouraged me to refrain from making anything that might stress me out. 

Which led to the discovery of my all-time favorite kitchen creation: Lemon Berry Coffee Cake. I made some tweaks (like decreasing the amount of sugar, swapping coconut oil for butter, and adding more zest) and it's a huge hit at retreats. 

Even if you’re the most inexperienced cook in the world, you can make this - I believe in you! Maybe you'll mess it up, but cooking is like yoga - it's a practice. You can't get any better without giving it a shot.  


Zesty Crumb Topping

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour 
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  •  Zest of a lemon (if you don’t have a lemon zester, use a small-grate cheese grater)

Coffee Cake

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • ½ cup milk
  • zest of a lemon
  • 1 cup blueberries 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Coat a 9x13 glass baking dish with a thin layer of coconut oil (or butter).
  • In a small bowl, prepare the zesty crumb topping and set aside
  • In a medium bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat together applesauce and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add vanilla extract, milk, and eggs.
  • Mix in lemon zest.
  • Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  • Fold in berries.
  • Spread batter evenly into the baking dish (batter will be thick). Sprinkle with crumb topping. 
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • After the cake has cooled, let cool in the refrigerator.
  • Squeeze two lemons over the entire cake

 You can also serve with a dollop of homemade whip cream - so easy to make. Enjoy for breakfast, dessert or afternoon snack!

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Nina Herndon

Nina believes women have an incredible ability to help one another, and is driven to cultivate safe spaces for them to do so. Over the years she has helped her mom to grow Retreat in the Pines to reach as many women as possible.

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