Blueberry Maple Tea Cake

blueberry maple tea cake

Have you ever heard that the phrase “cellar door” is the most beautiful-sounding phrase in the entire English language? I would like to petition that “jammy pockets” take its place. Jammy pockets, as in, “this maple-scented blueberry tea cake is full of jammy pockets.” Jammy pockets make the world a better place.

blueberry maple cake ingredients

This sweet little cake, with its delicate, maple-infused crumb and jammy purple pockets, is naturally sweetened and made entirely with whole grain flours. The recipe is one of Melissa Clark’s in Cook This Now, an audaciously titled book that lives up to its name. I got the book this winter and indeed, I did want to cook the maple tea cake the moment I found it, but I had to wait until the blueberries arrived this month. It was certainly worth the wait.

blueberry batter

The cake is a cinch to mix together, no electric mixer required. It’s more like a quick bread in that respect, and I respect it for that. None of the ingredients are too hard to find at even the smallest standard health food store, but I know maple syrup is expensive. I’m sorry. You see, my friend works at one of the local health food stores and gets a discount, so I asked him to buy me “the biggest bottle of maple syrup” and he came back with a bottle bigger than I knew existed. I have a surplus of maple syrup in my fridge and wish I could share it with you!

I’ve had some success with natural sweetener substitutions (see my notes here) and I think honey might be a lovely replacement. If you decide to try it, keep in mind that honey browns easily so you will probably need to turn down the temperature (325 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal) and bake it longer. I hope that works.

blueberry maple batter

As you can see, I substituted some medium grind cornmeal for the flour when I baked this cake, but the cornmeal never softened up entirely. I found the taste pleasant but the texture distracting. Feel free to substitute some fine cornmeal in place of some of the whole wheat flour, though. Corn meal or not, trust me, you want to bake this now!

blueberry maple tea cake recipe

Melissa Clark's blueberry maple tea cake recipe

Blueberry Maple Tea Cake
3.7 from 3 reviews
Recipe type: Dessert
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour or whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅔ cup real maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
Maple Glaze
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • Pinch sea salt or kosher salt
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, egg, milk and melted butter. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix just until combined. Gently fold in the blueberries. Pour the battered into your prepared pan and bake for about 23 to 26 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  4. While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the maple syrup and salt, then stir in the powdered sugar. Cook until the sugar is completely dissolved, stirring constantly. Resist the urge to taste test, it's crazy hot! Pour the warm glaze over the cake and use a pastry brush to distribute the glaze evenly. Let the cake cool completely, slice and serve.
  • Adapted from Cook This Now by Melissa Clark.
  • The original recipe specified to bake the cake in an 8-inch loaf pan for 50 to 60 minutes, I chose to use my pretty square baker instead.
  • This cake should last at room temperature for up to 48 hours. Store in the fridge if you will not be able to eat it sooner. I learned the hard way that those jammy pockets will go bad when left in a warm kitchen for a few days.
  • Clark notes that if you leave off the glaze, the cake becomes muffin-like and therefore suitable for breakfast (although, I'm a fan of cake at any time of day!).
  • Don't stress if you can't find Grade B maple syrup. Grade A will work just fine. The difference in flavor is insignificant.
  • *To make your own powdered sugar:[/b] Blend sugar in a blender or food processor until it is a fine powder. I used organic cane sugar but I have read that turbinado sugar works, too.
  • Raspberries or peaches would be great substitutes for the blueberries in the summer. I can't wait to try this cake with fresh cranberries in the winter!


  1. says

    Oh Kate – you get me every time! With those tempting pictures, and words like “jammy pockets”, you just know I’m going to need this in my oven!

  2. Erica Lea | Cooking says

    This looks simply scrumptious! I LOVE the use of natural flours and sweeteners. The maple glaze looks smooth and shiny – lovely.

  3. says

    I, too, think that jammy pockets should replace cellar door as the most beautiful sounding phrase in the english language. I mean, come on – just the sound of jammy pockets makes my mouth water. Blueberry jammy pockets? Even more.

    Blueberries are still unavailable at my local health food store, but I’m heading to the farmer’s market this weekend to see what they’ve got in stock. Loads of blueberries, I hope.

  4. says

    I noticed some blueberries in the store today, starts to make it feel like summer! This sounds like such a wonderful cake with those little jammy pockets; I was brainstorming a cake with similar jammy pockets earlier and it’s just made me even more determined to bake it sooner rather than later.

    Also I’m in love with that square baking dish!

    • says

      Hey Dawn, great question. The original recipe called for half all-purpose flour, which I replaced with whole wheat pastry flour, and half whole wheat flour. I think you could use all whole wheat flour, but I would expect the cake to taste more wheat-y and be a little more dense. I love substituting whole wheat pastry flour for all-purpose because it’s almost impossible to tell it’s there. If you try using all whole wheat flour please let us know how it turns out!

      • Inés says

        Hi Kate, hi Dawn,

        I tried the cake with one half whole wheat and one half whole kamut (another sort of wheat) flour and it tuned out wonderfully!
        I used honey instead of maple syrup as well. As I don’t have a comparison with a cake with Kate’s original flour composition I cannot say how different it is, but it was not dense at all! It was rather moist (but not dense) and maybe it tasted a bit like there were nuts in there because of the whole wheat. One of my office colleagues asked me this.
        I will definitely file this recipe for repeating and, as some people at my office today told me that they liked the cake without me having asked them, I think they really did like it ;-) I hope so! I always worry that it’s not sweet enough, as I only use honey and don’t usually eat that sweet or that it looks too healthy because of the whole wheat, but it seems to have been approved =)

        • says

          Thanks for the report, Inés! I sure do appreciate your feedback. I’m glad the cake was a hit at your office. I really want to try making it with honey next time! Maybe I’ll make a blueberry honey cake for my friend who is expecting.

  5. says

    This will make an excellent addition to my collection of blueberry recipes… kind of a blueberry pancake vibe. Which are in constant rotation here. Not to mention been on a massive jammy pocket kick. Pies, berry stuffed scones… they are my craving du jour (well, de mois…)!

  6. says

    Kathryne, this looks so delicious! I think I would like the cornmealy texture, I always like more textured cakes/quick breads. Oh boy, that glaze looks divine! I love the fact that it only has 1/4 cup of sugar. I was just looking at an awesome cake recipe on another blog that was so mouth watering, but when I found out that the frosting required 5 cups of powdered sugar, I was turned off. Yes cake should be sweet, but that much is totally not necessary.
    I’m a big fan of eating dessert for breakfast too… just a small slice… nice, happy way to start the day with good coffee on the side!

  7. says

    I like your swap of whole wheat pastry flour. I have Melissa Clark’s “In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite” and like it a lot. I’m sure I’ll like your version of her cake! Though I might go sans glaze… I’m a bit more of a breakfast person.

  8. says

    I can really see those jammy pockets in the first picture. I haven’t seen any blueberries at the markets here yet – don’t know if I can wait for them though, I may just have to sub the cherries that are in my fridge right now.

  9. Christina says

    This sounds so good, like a healthier substitute to a maple glazed donut! I’m definitely going to make it this summer!

  10. says

    I’ve never combined maple and blueberries outside of an outstandingly delicious blueberry pancake and this recipe looks so much richer and divine. And look at you coining cooking phrases. Watch out Rachel Ray. XO

  11. says

    Thank you for sharing – looks delicious and I plan to try this recipe soon – with different summer berry variations. No blueberries in VT yet – do you think strawberries would work? As a (very small scale) maple syrup maker, Vermont gold is our main sweetener for almost everything – and I am always on the lookout for recipes that use lots of maple syrup.
    Thanks! :-)

  12. says

    I’m a Canadian living in Sweden, and though, much to my relief, I can actually find real maple syrup here, it is ridiculously expensive for the teeniest bottle. Still, it’s worth it for the good stuff, and I think this cake would be a good place to splurge. When the local blueberries arrive, I’m getting right on it!

  13. says

    Melissa Clark’s recipes pretty much never fail to make me swoon. That woman has a knack, I tell you. A serious knack.

    And jammy pockets? Can we make that part of our daily lexicon? Cause it really does have a lovely ring to it.

  14. says

    Kate, only you can make me bake with butter… This tea cake is as delicious as it looks! It was absolutely perfect. I’ll try and comme up with a vegan version next time though.

    • says

      Sophie, so happy you baked the cake! What kinds of flour did you end up using? I’d love to hear how your next, vegan version comes out.

  15. says

    I love everything about this cake! Blueberry pancakes are my favorite…because I love when the berries mix with maple syrup and pop when they’re bitten into. This cake combines all of that goodness. Perfect!

  16. says

    Gorgeous! I usually stick to a blueberry buckle recipe when I work with wild blueberries but I’ll have to try this later on this summer!

  17. says

    Cellar door? Haha. No. When I saw the title of this cake, I almost didn’t click because I don’t like tea. How embarrassing that I had never heard of tea cake before now. I absolutely love this glaze. I just wish the cake didn’t use so much maple syrup! That’s about $7 of syrup over here. I wish I had maple syrup producing neighbors. They would give me syrup and I would give them half my baked goods. This sounds like the most awesome arrangement ever.

  18. says

    Kate, this is a sensational recipe!

    May I include this on my site? Let me know where you’d like your link to go.

    …and I also love your images.

    I can’t wait to try this. Blueberries are my daughter’s favorite fruit.

    • says

      Hi Killara, I’m so glad you enjoy the recipe but I prefer my recipes to stay on my own site. Thank you for offering, though!

  19. Libby M. says

    Hello! This recipe looks lovely, but I just have one question: can the flour you use in this be replaced with a gluten free substitute? I’ve noticed you used oat flour in one of your recipes for pancakes on this site. Do you think that would work in this recipe? Thanks!!

    • says

      Hi Libby, I’m sorry, I wish I could offer you some insight into how to make this cake gluten free. I honestly don’t have any experience with making gluten free substitutions. The original recipe said you could sub up to 1/2 cup cornmeal, which is gluten free, but that’s as far as I know! If you try swapping a gluten-free flour blend, please let us know how the cake turns out!

      • Libby M. says

        I decided to take on the challenge of substituting ingredients to make this beauty gluten free, dairy free, and soy free… and it turned out wonderful!! Here are my substitutions:
        *Instead of the two whole wheat flours, I used gluten free King Arthur all-purpose flour + 1/2 t. xanthan gum
        *Instead of the milk, I used an equal amount of almond milk
        *For the butter, I used an equal amount of Earth Balance soy free vegan butter
        The cake rose beautifully, and it doesn’t even taste gluten free! Everyone in my house is raving!! Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe!! I’ll be sure to try it with raspberries, and even fresh cranberries in the winter, as you suggested!!

        • says

          Thanks so much for sharing your adaptations and notes with us, Libby! I’m glad to hear that the cake is great with those substitutions, sharing this information with my twitter followers now!

  20. says

    Hi Kate, I made this cake just as listed above (well, with Grade A maple syrup) and I loved it. The flours above were just the right weight for the cake and not a morsel was left after we took it to a dinner at our neighbors. The blueberries were so good with the maple. The glaze was just perfect and I need to find other recipes that need that topping! Thanks!

  21. Bridget Macdonald says

    Hey Kate :) Love your blog- Im a new reader!! I was wondering if it would make a big difference if instead of using the pastry flour I could just use all whole wheat flour. I dont have pastry flour. Thanks so much!

    • says

      Hi Bridget, I haven’t tried baking the cake with all whole wheat flour. I think it would work, but the cake will probably be a little more dense and taste more like wheat. The original recipe called for half whole wheat flour and half all purpose, so I know that would work!

  22. Annie says

    Made this tonight with fresh peaches from my baby peach tree! I used part regular flour and part oat flour. Baked it 25 minutes @400 and the toothpick came out clean – but should of baked it a bit longer as it seemed a bit undone in the center but the edge pieces were brown and pulling away. Great over vanilla ice cream and my crew loved it! Will try again with some whole wheat and oat flour – very easy “quick cake” Thanks for your blog its awesome and your pictures and directions are great!

  23. Chelsea says

    Hi Kate! This recipe looks divine! Do you have any suggestions for using maple extract, as opposed to maple syrup? How do you think corn syrup and maple extract would work?

    • says

      Hey Chelsea, I have never tried making that substitution so I can’t advise. If anything, I would substitute honey for the maple syrup.

  24. Pixie says

    Last Christmas, I decided to buy fresh cranberries and realized I do not like them raw! My boyfriend really likes maple syrup, so I made this, but with cranberries. It was amazing! My boyfriend would eat about half the pan in one sitting. I made it about 3-4 times during the Christmas season. Thanks for another awesome recipe!

  25. Anne says

    Blueberry pancakes, only neater and faster. I hate things with maple “flavor” but just using the real thing as a sweetener is just rich. More cinnamon added made my hub happy.

  26. Heather says

    I just stumbled upon your blog today, and I’ve been saving your recipes like crazy!! Can’t wait to make some of them! :) I do have a question though. I don’t usually buy or use powdered sugar.. Or any sugar for that matter. Can you suggest a substitute? Also, can you shed some light on why Grade B maple syrup is recommended? Thanks!

    • says

      Welcome, Heather! Thanks for the note! I use powdered sugar sparingly. Unfortunately, it’s the only sugar I know that works for glazes—it stays on top of baked goods rather than sinking in. I usually make my own powdered sugar by blasting raw/turbinado sugar in a blender/food processor. I’ve been meaning to try it with coconut sugar. The powdered version has more volume than the sugar crystals, so you’re looking at less than 1/4 cup sugar in the glaze. If you avoid all sugar, though, I’m afraid I don’t have a good solution for you, other than omit it and let the glaze sink into the cake. Grade A and grade B are extracted from trees at different stages. Grade B has a slightly richer flavor and is slightly higher in minerals, etc., but the difference is really pretty negligible.

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