First out of the oven, this cake is beautiful. The strawberry juice is bubbling up from the sides and the cake topping should receive a reward for rising from a scant ¼ inch to 2 inches.
Then comes the taste test. A bite…and the results prove strangely average.
It may leave you wondering why you used 3 lbs of strawberries for just an average, run-of-the-mill cake. Then it may make you slightly peeved that it was listed as a “staff favorite” in the Food & Wine 2009 cookbook. Ok, maybe I do take food too personally.
I decided to ignore it the rest of the night— I didn’t even bother to put plastic wrap over it. It was dead to me.
The night weakened my resolve and I decided it might be a suitable breakfast. Perhaps I have a rat named Remy in my kitchen who fixed my kitchen blunder because the cake was delicious. I helped myself to one slice, and then another with whip cream, and then another cursing that I didn’t have ice cream, and then one more for good luck (actually, I stopped eating when my whip cream bottle ran out).
- 3 lbs of strawberries, hulled and halved (8 cups)
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
- 2.5 tbs cornstarch dissolved in 2.5 tbs of water
- 1 vanilla bean, split, and seeds scraped
- 3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 4 tbs cold, unsalted butter, cubed
- 2.25 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 tbs baking powder
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softed
- 1.25 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- Make the filling: preheat over to 350F. In a large bowl, toss strawberries with sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch slurry and vanilla seeds and let stand until berries release some of their juices (about 30 mins). Pour the fruit filling into a 9 x 13 inch glass or ceramic baking dish set on a sturdy baking sheet.
- Meanwhile, make the crumb topping. In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients with your fingers until a course meal forms; press into small clumps (I failed to make clumps as you can see from the picture)
- Make the cake. In a medium bowl, whisk flour with 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.
- Spoon the batter over the fruit filling. Spreading it to the edge, Sprinkle with crumb topping. Baking in the center of the oven for 1 hour , or until the fruit is bubbling, the crumb topping is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Transfer to the rack to cool.
Make ahead: crumb cake can be refrigerated overnight. Serve warm or at room temperature.