Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Strawberry Crumb Cake

"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone."

-Audrey Hepburn 1929-1993, Actress

I've been away, but baby I'm back. It's spring and I've been busy with spring time happenings. Gardening, cleaning and new adventures abound. Plus I've got a new endeavor I'm working on, but more on that later. Now for this delicious spring time dessert, strawberry crumb cake.

Gorgeous strawberries

I saw this recipe on Food and Wine and I was smitten. I love any crisp/cobbler/brown betty/slump, all of it, I'll take it. Yes please. Sign me up. Warm fruit with topping, I'm there. So as you can see, I was excited to try this one.

cut berries waiting to be utilized

Even though generally I love warm fruit with topping, warm strawberries alone I wasn't so sure about. I make fruit crisp all the time, in fact Any Fruit Crisp is what I called it, boasting about how you can use any fruit you'd like. And in fact I have even eaten it with strawberries alone, (somehow I feel strawberries with rhubarb is a whole different ball game) and remained on the fence. There's something about fresh strawberries that is so perfect. How can you mess with perfection?

macerating the berries

Then I read the description of this recipe on Food and Wine where the author of the recipe, Gerard Craft cooks the strawberries till their "warm and jammy." Warm and jammy? Are you kidding me? I love strawberry jam and make it often. So when you put it like that. Sold.

Before spreading on the cake batter.- note- my cake batter is so yellow because I have free range chickens who lay eggs with a bright orange yolk. If you get eggs from the grocery, yours won't be so bright yellow, FYI.

First you start with strawberries, lots of them. Three pounds to be exact. Macerate the berries, add some cake batter then to top things off you add a sweet crumbly topping. I was skeptical if that extra step of adding the crumb topping was going to make all that much of a difference. But I discovered oh, it does.

spreading on the cake batter

The strawberry portion of this cake isn't all that sweet. Sweet enough, don't get me wrong, it is a dessert. But when paired with the cake and crumb topping it is divine. A symphony all playing together to create a lovely dessert that is better than the ingredients alone.

added the crumb topping, now headed for the oven

This dessert is incredibly delicious. In fact my husband who doesn't really eat dessert, ate this and after one bite said, "this is good", took one more bite and said, "this is really good", another bite, another exclamation of it's goodness, till the whole bowl was gone.

Straight from the oven, warm and jammy indeed.

The new endeavor I mentioned earlier, is that I've started my own Etsy shop! I'm pretty excited about it. I will sell vintage dishes and housewares. Even though they are considered vintage, many are timeless. I've been collecting vintage serving ware and dishes of all kinds for years. In fact I bought my first set of dishes at a second hand store in Big Bear, California while vacationing long before I had my own kitchen to use them. I fell in love with them and had to buy them. I don't know what comes over me. I feel like it's my duty to rescue them. I still do that, search and rescue. Now I have a place to share my findings so I can keep collecting. I'm still adding items to my shop, so it's not finished, I am just starting. To get a sneak peek, my Etsy shop is called, House of Lucien. (Lucien is my precious little papillon.)

Strawberry Crumb Cake

This can also be made with a combination of raspberries, blackberries or blueberries.

adapted from Food and Wine, recipe by Gerard Craft



3 lbs fresh strawberries, (approx. 8 cups or 1 1/2 kilos) hulled and halved

1/2 cup (100 g,) sugar

1 1/2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tablespoons of water

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out, or substitute 2 or 3 tsp. of vanilla extract

For Crumb Topping

1/2 cup (75 g.) lightly packed light brown sugar *note- if you don't have brown sugar either make your own by mixing some white sugar with a little molasses, or you can substitute white sugar, although the flavor of the topping will be better with brown.

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (60 g,) flour

Pinch of salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

For Cake

2 1/4 (225 g.) cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick (1/2 cup) (8 Tablespoons) (113 g.) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups (250 g.) sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup (6 oz.) (177 ml) buttermilk *note- if you don't keep buttermilk in the house just use some soured milk by taking regular milk and adding a Tablespoon or 2 of lemon juice or vinegar and let it sit for 15 minutes.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit, 180 degrees Celsius, or Gas Mark 4.

In a large bowl, toss the strawberries with the sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch slurry and vanilla seeds or vanilla extract, and let stand until the berries release some of their juices, about 30 minutes. Pour the fruit filling into a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish set on a sturdy baking sheet.

Make the crumb topping. Place all crumb topping ingredients in a medium bowl, use a fork to mash all ingredients together until the butter has mashed up with the other ingredients enough where pea sized pieces of crumb topping appear. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. Using a hand held electric mixer, or use a stand mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add the vanilla and mix again. Mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder in another large bowl and whisk well. Scrape down the bowl and add the dry ingredients to the batter in 3 additions alternating with the buttermilk or soured milk, if using.

Spoon the batter over the fruit, smoothing the battter to the edges. Sprinkle with the crumb topping. Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling, the crumb topping is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly. Serve the crumb cake warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.


Normgrhm@yahoo.com said...

I'm glad to see you posting again because you do such a great job. I also visited the House of Lucien . Keep sharing your wonderful recipe finds with rest of your fans.

Sarah said...

Hi Melissa, your vintage is real beauty. Timeless. I am also a lover of vintage and you're right, does food look even tastier served in vintage! All the more beauty, Congrats ! Whenever i am over that part of the world, should make it a point to visit the 'house of Lucien' for a perfect souvenir.The crumb cake looks delicious too. PS: I'm making the orange olive oil cake this weekend. Sarah (email contact)

The Alchemist said...

Hi Sarah, Thank you for your kind words about my shop, I appreciate it. You are welcome to visit whenever you are in the area. But just to let you know I also do ship internationally.

I wish you luck with the orange olive oil cake.

Unknown said...

sounds like an awesome cake and it looks divine!

Me And My Sweets said...

Yum Yum!!! I just found your blog on Mrs Foxs Sweets. I'll host a party every month with a different theme and would love you to join! Please visit my blog for more information on "My Sweet Party" post uploaded 2nd of May.



Miz Helen said...

Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you have a very special week end and enjoy your new Red Plate!
Come Back Soon,
Miz Helen

Joseph said...

For how long this cake is eatable and remain fresh i would like send gifts to pakistan this sort of hand made items.