Sunday, June 6, 2010

Warm Strawberry Crumb Cake

Another strawberry recipe! If you have mass quantities of strawberries, you should definitely try this recipe (it requires 3 pounds of strawberries, but it's totally worth it). In addition to being absolutely delicious, the three contrasting textures of this cake make it absolutely exquisite. The strawberry layer is soft, jammy, and sweet, the cake layer is buttery and light, and the crumb topping is rich and crunchy. My one complaint is that the strawberry layer was almost too sweet for my taste. If I had made this cake with the sorry excuses for strawberries that are trucked across the country to my local chain grocery store, the level of sugar would have probably been appropriate, but the smaller, sweeter farmer's market strawberries don't need as much sugar to achieve the same level of sweetness.

Warm Strawberry Crumb Cake
from Food and Wine

 3 lbs. strawberries, hulled and halved (8 cups)
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2.5 T. cornstarch dissolved in 2.5 T. of water
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

1/2 c. lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
4 T. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled


2.25 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1.25 c. sugar
3 large eggs
1.5 t. pure vanilla extract
3/4 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
4 T. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

1. Make the Filling: Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, toss the strawberries with the sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch slurry and vanilla seeds 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. 

2. Meanwhile, Make the Crumb Topping: In a medium bowl, mix all of the ingredients with your fingers until a coarse meal forms; press into small clumps. 

3. Make the Cake: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in the vanilla extract and scrape down the bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the batter in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk.

4. Spoon the batter over the fruit filling, spreading it to the edge. 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.

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