Strawberries make me restless.
It’s a fact. Yes, a strange fact, but no less true.
See, in my part of the world, strawberries come along every year right around May. This is around the time when I’ve loooooong ago let slide any New Year’s resolutions I might have made for myself, when it’s possible that I’ve slacked a bit on my workout routine, and the goal of reading a chapter of a book a night before I fall asleep has somehow transferred into watching an old episode of House every night before I pass out.
Don’t even get me started on the mania that I try to pass off as my closet. It’s not pretty.
So…. strawberries come along at a time of year when I’ve cemented in some slightly lazy and ooooooh so comfortable habits for myself.
I don’t know how or why this works, but strawberries inspire me to shake my world up a bit, maybe introduce something new, maybe hop on one leg every morning just for the hell of it…. whatever. This is the time of year when I change things up a bit.
This year, strawberries have inspired me to do two things: learn Italian and combine fresh strawberries with one of my favorite cakes of all time…. streusel topped coffee cake.
Let’s do this.
Now seems like a good time to admit that you could put streusel topping on just about anything and I’d devour it with few regrets. Please don’t let that take away from how crazy awesome this strawberry coffee cake is. Moist sour cream coffee cake is mixed with cooked down fresh strawberries and topped with streusel topping. It’s both lovely ad humble, and just the perfect little cake to sit with in front of my computer as I work my way through Italian flash cards.
Strawberry Coffee Cake
inspired by Panache at Rose Hill
1 heaping cup sliced strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a few drops of almond extract (optional)
3 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
To make the topping:
Combine all the topping ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly. Set aside.
To make the strawberry mixture:
Combine strawberries, 1/3 cup sugar, water and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened and strawberries are soft and somewhat broken down. Set aside to cool.
Grease and flour a 10×10-inch baking dish, knocking out excess flour, and set aside.
To make the coffee cake:
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract, and almond extract if you’re using it.
Sift dry ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter in 3 parts alternating with the sour cream in 2 parts, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat just until combined.
Spoon 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Spread the cooled strawberry mixture over the batter. Spoon the remaining batter onto the strawberries and spread evenly. Top with streusel topping and bake in the upper third of the oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.