Blueberry Boy Bait

This is one of those recipes that I have been making for years, but never got around to writing about. I first made it a few years ago when Bryan was out of town. I have not been forgiven. Blueberries are Bryan’s favorite and when we saw this recipe on an episode of America’s Test Kitchen, he wanted it badly. I don’t know why I waited until he was out of town to make it—must have been blueberry season. Now, whenever I make this cake he has some snarky comment like, “Oh, you’re gonna make that? Should I go out of town?” I love him.

He is a blueberry monster and eats them almost every day (he eats frozen ones all winter). Bryan is pretty into anti-oxidants, but he also says they are his favorite raw fruit. Or berry. Or something. I never think I have strong feelings about blueberries until we buy a pint at the market that are especially good and then I think I agree with him. They have such subtle, but complex, flavor. We’ve been tasting a lot of pine in them this year.

You should all make this right now. It is simple as can be and totally delicious and comforting. This is a cake that I like to make on the day I most want to enjoy it. For the first few hours out of the oven the cake has a delicate top crust that makes it extraordinary. You’ll enjoy the cake on day 2-4, but it will be a bit less.

So, make this today and enjoy it with all of the boys who come to the yard.

Blueberry Boy Bait (from Deb, who adapted from Cook’s Country, who adapted from Pillsbury Bake-Off)


2 cups plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not defrost)

1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (again, do not defrost)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cake:

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

Whisk 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. With electric mixer, beat softened butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, a couple of minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down bowl as needed. Reduce speed to medium and beat in one-third of flour mixture until incorporated; followed by half of the milk. Beat in half of remaining flour mixture, then the remaining milk, and finally the remaining flour mixture. Toss blueberries with remaining one teaspoon flour. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in blueberries. Spread batter into prepared pan.

For the topping:
Scatter blueberries over top of batter. Stir sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl and sprinkle over batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in he center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Cake can be stored in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.)

48 comments to “Blueberry Boy Bait”

  1. Looks yummy! I’m holding you to your promise to bring the boys to my yard!

  2. I think it would be perfect with a little ginger ice cream on the side. Not that it needs any dressing up :)

  3. Sounds delicious! Perfect for upcoming blueberry season

  4. So, this is enough cake for how many boys?

  5. Hi Tim
    Thank you for reminding me how much I love this recipe…& your photos!,

  6. Oh this is perfect. I have 2 blueberry bushes at my allotment ripening as we speak so can give them a try in this amazing looking cake. Hope to have a few just to eat freshly picked too!

  7. I’ve already brought the best boy to my yard, but maybe this will lock him in :) Great recipe and glad it’s so simple and uses such readily available ingredients!

  8. I’m going to be picking blueberries at my parents house in PA this weekend. I think I’ll save a few for this!

  9. Ileana- good question! Here, I have to disagree with Deb. She said it served 12 generously. I would say more like 8-10. The cake is pretty short, so I find that a fairly large slice is called for.

  10. This very item was requested by my daughter yesterday for her son’s third birthday next week. I am going to try to send a picture of the wrinkled, stained recipe card. This was clipped from the Boston Globe years ago. I have no idea who Stringer is but I do know this is a fabulous recipe. And it is indeed boy bait

  11. Thank you for reminding me that I’ve been meaning to make this for, well…ever. This spring and summer I’ve been kind of obsessed with strawberry desserts so this will be a nice break. Do you think I could get away with doubling (or maybe even tripling?) the amount of blueberries in the batter? I tend to like my fruit desserts overloaded with fruit.

  12. Hey Sarah- increasing the blueberry was also my impulse. I tried once, and I honestly did not like the cake as much. There is something so lovely about the texture of the cake, and the increase in blueberries really disrupted that. But tastes vary, so feel free to try.

  13. love it!

  14. Great summer dessert! Maybe I’ll serve it with cold fruit soup…

  15. Time to buy some blueberries! :D

  16. Made it tonight, so good, light and buttery!

  17. This is a cake Ive been meaning to make for as long as Ive known, I really must asap especially after how gorgeously tempting yours looks!

  18. Looks yum! I will have to get my hands on frozen blueberries since its winter in Australia now!

  19. Mary Anne says:

    June 28th, 2012 at 9:09 am

    I love him too!!

  20. I’ve made this cake many times, it’s fabulous.

  21. I have been making this for years! Actually, I guess I should say that my daughters have been making this for years…it’s so easy. They started making it on their own when they were about 4 and 8…they love it!

  22. Caroline O. says:

    June 28th, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Do you think it would work to make it and they refrigerate it overnight, put the topping on in the morning and bake?

    It seems like it would work but I am never sure about these things.

  23. Looks perfect…but dangerous to have around. All I’m sayin is that a couple of people could polish that off in two days. Flat. Really.

  24. With a name like that, how could anyone resist this recipe? Just beautiful!

  25. The last sentence of your post put a giant grin on my face. I love you guys! :D

  26. Hey Caroline, that will probably not work. I would just get everything prepped the night before, and then it will be quick to throw together. Happy baking!

  27. i don’t cook, but your recipes make me want to and thanks for that :)

  28. Let’s all make some milkshakes to go with this fab cake, then well really be bringing the boys to the yard :)

  29. I’ve just found your blog and really really like it! Although blueberries are very expensive in Indonesia, I will try to make this!

  30. ex-Montrealer says:

    July 2nd, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Hi, Tim:
    Happy belated Canada Day! I made Blueberry Boy Bait last year–from Smitten Kitchen’s recipe. I ended up putting in 1-1/2 times the (fresh) blueberries; everyone loved it! My 14-year-old son said to me (this year), “You know that blueberry cake, Mom? You should make it again!” This and a plum cake are the only “cakes” my family thinks I can bake. This cake is totally foolproof and completely delicious!

  31. So glad I found your blog. This cake looks delicious! Can never have enough blueberries.

  32. I just discovered your wonderful blog and made the Blueberry Boy Bait last week with my 4yo son and it turned out beautifully. Thanks for sharing this great recipe! I love blueberries but was a little tired of all the blueberry muffins… ;-)
    Hugs from Germany!

  33. Can we enable smell on our computers? And taste? I want to grab a bite of this and I want it now. Looks so delicious and I just happen to have some blueberries in my fridge. Oh Boy!

  34. Kimberley says:

    July 5th, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Hi Tim, Do you think I could make this cake with fresh raspberries? I have a lot of them right now!

  35. Kimberly- Absolutely! I bet it will be delicious.

  36. I went to the North Union Farmers’ Market in Shaker Sq in Cleveland today and bought some lovely blueberries and made this tonight. It turned out perfect. Thanks for sharing.

  37. Amanda M says:

    July 9th, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I just made this for a gathering of old friends. The baking soda made it a bit bitter for my taste, so I added lemon juice, ginger, cinnamon and vanilla for a more complex flavor.
    It was absolutely wonderful.

    And if it’s a day old, cut it into pieces and dust it with powdered sugar – good as new.

  38. Hi Amanda, Glad you enjoyed it. But I’m confused- you added all of that stuff after? Or you baked a second one? Well, I would not say good as new, but I agree that a dusting of sugar helps revive it a bit. Thanks for checking in!

  39. The name caught my eye and your description and pictures sold me. I’ve been receiving some lovely blueberries from my CSA so I made this today for Jazz in the Park and it was a hit! Thank you for a perfect find.

  40. In my town the blueberries is the fruit number one ….. Very, very good.

  41. Christine says:

    July 14th, 2012 at 11:52 am

    I bought blueberries at the farmers market this morning and followed the recipe to the letter. My husband (who LOVES blueberries) and I agree – it is absolutely delicious! Thanks so much for posting this.

  42. Wow! I have been following your site for a long time with my partner and our two kids, and baked my first cake ever tonight thanks to this recipe. Not sure if it was the blueberries or the title but either way, great fun! The kitchen looks like a tsunami hit, but the results are perfect. You may just make a chef out of me. Congrats on your site, your awards, and your wedding as well!

  43. Hey Scott- that makes me SO happy to hear. My work here is done. ; ) Enjoy the cake, and keep baking! The more you do it, the less messy your kitchen is after. Thanks for writing.

  44. Thanks for the encouragement, Tim.
    My partner Jeff and our two kids send our best to you and yours.
    Extra time on the treadmill for me today, thanks to the cake!

  45. I love the “Boy Bait” name but the only boy I care about is the one I have lived with for 40 years. He just told me this cake was the best one I have ever made! I added a little warm blueberry sauce and when I make it again for guests I will add a dollop of whipped cream. Thanks for sharing.

  46. I finally got around to making this and it’s phenomenal! You never disappoint, Tim. :) Thanks for sharing.

  47. I have made this ever since I saw it published in Cooks Country. Love love and everyone who I have served it to has loved it to and I have shared the recipe so many times. Someday I hope to woo a very special boy with it!

  48. I love Cook’s Country too and had printed this out a while ago; finally made it yesterday. Your photos are making me want another piece…too bad it’s gone! I just wanted to thank-you for your advice that it tastes best the first day. Because of that, I divided it by four and baked it in a 6-inch round pan for my husband and I. My husband loved it, as promised :) Personally, I’d just had dental work done and with my numb tongue, I couldn’t taste it as well, but it was good enough to want to make again!

What do you think?