Friday, November 9, 2012

Strawberry Crumble Cake

The best part of any fruit crumble, for me, is the streusel topping on the top. Buttery and sweet: what's not to love, right? Well, imagine that crumble topping over a cake! Ah-Maaaayyyyy-zingggg! A coffee crumble cake is a true indulgence. It has lots of butter and isn't shy of sugar either. Sinful? Perhaps but you can bet your bottom dollar it is 100% worth it. A slice is all you need a day. Two would be indulging. Three? Woah, you're brave. The good news is that the cake keeps and two or even three days later and out of the fridge, it tastes even better (that is if you are baking it for yourself and don't plan on sharing!)

The original crumb cake, or streuselkuchen, is a German dessert where a yeasted cake covered with a crumb topping (streusel). I didn't make a yeasted cake. I chose to go with a regular vanilla-flavoured cake instead. Also, I added some strawberries in between the cake and crumble layers and some nuts into the crumble. 

The great thing about this coffee cake (that's what these are called, by the way, and not because there's any coffee in it) is the pay-off is so much more than the investment. It takes barely any time to put together: the streusel layer comprises just of rubbing butter into a mixture of flour, sugar and cinnamon. You can also add finely chopped nuts for some texture and crunch. That's it. Won't take you more than 5 minutes. 7 if you're watching a particularly exciting episode of Homeland (what a show, right) while crumbling.

The cake? Oh my... nothing to it. Honestly. I mean, unless you plan on creaming the butter and sugar by hand in which case, you're earning your third slice right there.

Strawberry Crumble Cake
(Adapted from Saveur)

For the crumble
11/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar (I reduced this by a couple of tbsp to reduce my guilt!)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
170g butter, cold and cut in cubes
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts/pecans/pistachios (or a mix, its up to you)

about 15 strawberries, hulled and cut in half

For the cake
113g butter, at room temp (plus a but more for greasing the pans
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk/milk

Make the crumb first. Mix the flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and nuts together. Add the cold butter cubes and using your fingers rub the butter into the dry ingredients till you get really chunky crumbs. Chill for about 30 mins or so.

Heat the oven to 180C.

Now the cake. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt till well incorporated. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla till light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat on medium to low speed till combines. Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour till combined.

Pour batter into a greased baking pan (an 8inch pan would be perfect). Arrange the strawberries on the top of the batter and then sprinkle the chilled crumble mixture over the strawberries and batter.

Bake for about 40 mins or till top is lightly brown and a tester comes out clean from the center of the cake.

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