As promised, here comes the berry parade and first in line is this chock full of strawberries coffeecake with an irresistible streusel topping that epitomizes lazy weekend summer mornings to me. When made with farm fresh strawberries it is out-of-this-world good!!
And speaking of farm fresh strawberries, here are some gorgeous shots of them that I just had to share with you. Look at the intensity of these berries--I could stare at them all day long!! And eat them too, of course. If you have the chance, I urge you to go and pick them now if there are any berry farms near where you live. Every year after I taste just picked berries, I swear to never again buy the essentially tasteless offerings masquerading as strawberries in the supermarket--a promise I never keep of course, because I have no willpower to actually wait until the next year when we go pick berries, but I should. These actually taste like strawberries and are so sweet and mouth-wateringly luscious, melty, and eye-catchingly red, that you won't believe it!
Now back to this adorable little cake which would be equally welcome at the brunch table as it would for dessert or in the afternoon with a cup of tea. And like all of the truly best dishes, it comes together easily without a lot of fancy ingredients. Once you've made the cake batter, you top it with a ton of those chopped fresh berries and then finish off with a wonderfully buttery and nutty streusel topping.
The cake is nice and light and the combination of the slightly tart and soft berries are perfectly offset by the sweet, buttery, crisp streusel. It's so homey, simple and easy to eat that if you don't exercise restraint, you'll wind up with half a cake gone before you notice--not that that's ever happened to me, mind you. Just sayin'! It's berry, berry good--just a little berry picking humor--I had to go there! Sorry! Make this soon and enjoy!
Easy Strawberry Coffee Cake
Makes one 9-inch square cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes; Bake Time: 40-50 minutes
For the cake
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup half-and-half, room temperature
- 2 heaping cups fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
For the Streusel Topping
- 1/2 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and spray a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. To make the batter: Into a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and soda and salt. Set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the melted butter for 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat at medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl as it mixes together so all gets incorporated evenly. On low speed add the egg, mixing well. Add the vanilla and beat until just combined. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat on low speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add about 1/2 the half-and-half and mix until combined. Then add another 1/3 of the flour and mix, then the rest of the half-and-half, finally finishing with the last third of the flour mixture. Only beat until you can no longer see any traces of the the flour. If you overbeat this, the cake will be tough.
3. To make the Streusel topping: Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl and use your fingers to combine them until they form a crumb. Set aside.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top so that it is spread evenly. Top with the chopped berries. Then scatter the streusel over it all evenly.
5. Bake the cake for 40-50 minutes, until it looks golden brown all over and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a baking rack for 10 minutes and then turn the cake out onto the rack for it to finish cooling completely. Serve cake at room temperature. Cake keeps well wrapped at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Note: Recipe adapted from Sweet Mornings by Patty Pinner.