Grandmother Trafton’s Blueberry Cake

Old family recipes are little treasures, comfortable rest stops on the roadmap of a family’s history.   Since I’ve been writing this blog I’ve been receiving family recipes from friends and followers of the site and it’s been amazingly consistent: every recipe I’ve tried has been better than good.  It seems there is a universality about family recipes, no matter the background or means or region, everybody’s got one, and there’s a reason they keep handing it down from generation to generation.

Today’s recipe comes from Maine.  My friend Rebecca Trafton is a noted landscape designer whose family has lived in Maine for many generations.  She gave me her grandmother’s blueberry cake recipe last week, and it was so good that I had to add an extra post and share this with you.  And I wanted to do it while we’re still at the height of blueberry season.   Rebecca recommends using Maine blueberries if you can find them, because they are tiny and much sweeter than other blueberries.

Rebecca’s father was the Speaker of the House of the Maine state legislature, and her sister in law, Barbara Trafton, served in the the house and the state senate there.  Barbara used to bake this cake to take with her to political events.  Rebecca says people seem to like a politician who also has time to make a homemade cake, especially from an old family recipe.  This is also her daughter Virginia’s traditional birthday cake for her mid-August birthday, so the recipe travels on down the family line.

Grandmother Trafton’s Blueberry Cake slice

Serves: 6

Prep Time: one hour and fifteen minutes, plus time for cake to cool before frosting


  • 1/3 cup butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups Maine blueberries
  • 1/3 cup milkFor the frosting:
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • ½ stick of butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 box confectioners’ sugarFor the streusel top:
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Grandmother Trafton’s Blueberry Cake


  1. Cream together butter, sugar and well-beaten eggs.
  2. Sift four, salt and baking powder.
  3. Add dry ingredients to butter and sugar mixture alternately with the milk.
  4. Fold in blueberries.  Turn into a 9-inch well-greased cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Allow cake to cool.Grandmother Trafton’s Blueberry Cake mixing bowl
  5. For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter well.  Add vanilla and blend thoroughly.  Blend in sugar, sifted as necessary.
  6. This recipe can be adapted to be a coffee cake as well, which was what I did for the photos above.
  7. Bake the recipe in a 9×13 pan.  Before baking, top with the following crumb topping:Grandmother Trafton’s Blueberry Cake
  8. Stir with a fork to make a crumble, distribute lightly over the top, and bake.Grandmother Trafton’s Blueberry Cake baked

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