Saturday, August 11, 2012

Warm Strawberry Crumb Cake

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...An unexpected flush of small field strawberries and a photo I had seen on the Huffington Post led to the dessert I'm featuring tonight. I was able to trace the origins of the dish back to an old issue of Food and Wine magazine and a recipe that had been developed for them by Gerald Craft. I love old-fashioned desserts and this one harkened back to the English crumbs and crumbles that I so enjoy. There was, however, a twist. The base of the dessert was a quantity of stewed berries, three pounds worth. The berries were covered with cake batter and topped with a layer of crumbs. I was curious to see if stewed berries retained enough flavor to compete with the other elements that topped them. This is why we test, and this is why the success or failure of a recipe depends on individual taste as well as the developers vision. Some will love this, others will view it as a curiosity and move on to other things. I am in the later camp. While the fault may be found in the way I handled them, I don't think the stewed berries added much, save expense, to this dessert and I will not be making it again. Mine, by the way is a minority opinion, so, please don't be put off by my comments. Here's the recipe for those of you who would like to try it in your own kitchen. Be sure to serve this warm.

Warm Strawberry Crumb Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by a Gerald Craft recipe from Food and Wine magazine

3 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved (8 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 2-1/2 tablespoons of water
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
Crumb Topping
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
generous pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1-1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

1) To make filling: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 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 minutes. Pour fruit filling into a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish set on a sturdy baking sheet.
2) To make crumb topping: Combine light brown sugar, flour, butter and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Mix ingredients, using fingers, until a coarse meal forms. Press into small clumps.
3) To make cake: Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside. In a separate large bowl, use a handheld electric mixer and beat butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in extract, scraping down sides of bowl. Add dry ingredients to batter in three additions alternating with buttermilk.
4) To finish: Spoon batter over fruit filling, spreading it to edges of pan. Sprinkle with crumb topping. Bake in center of oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until fruit is bubbling, crumb topping is golden and a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Transfer pan to a rack to cool slightly. Serve crumb cake warm or at room temperature. Yield: 8 servings.

One Year Ago Today: Pear Sorbet

Two Years Ago Today: Gingered Noodle Salad

Three Years Ago Today: Lemon Tea Cookies


Gloria Baker said...

Look. Beautiful Mary:))I love berries!

Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger said...

Mary, yes, this must be served warm for best results! Love it! Have a lovely weekend.
Duncan In Kuantan

Diane said...

Oooooo Nigel would just love this. Hope that you have a fantastic weekend Mary. Take care Diane

Anonymous said...

Dear Mary,
was the cake and crumb topping tasty enough that you'd recommend to try it with a different fruit base?
A wonderful weekend to you,

Merisi in Vienna said...

Dear Mary,
would you recommend to use the cake batter and crumb topping for another fruit base?
A wonderful weekend to you,

Kim said...

Even if it was not your favorite dessert, I think it looks good! In fact, it's tempting me right now!

What's Baking?? said...

Eventhough you do not favor this,Mary, but it does look very tempting.

Velva said...

Fresh, simple and deliicous. Perfect summer goodness.

Velva said...

This looks so good to me...

carolyn bradford said...

It looks delicious and I do think I will give it a try! Thanks for sharing it!

June said...

Sorry it didn't live up to your expectations Mary, but I think it looks so good I can almost taste it. We're still working on ridding ourselves of vacation overindulgence so desserts are on the back burner. Wish I could sneak into your kitchen and relieve you of some of this. The Silver Fox is one very lucky guy!

Angie's Recipes said...

I think it looks terrific though it's not your favourite.

Shug said...

I do believe this will be a perfect dessert for our Sunday Meal...
Have a great weekend..hugs.

sississima said...

This very tasty crumb cake, bye SILVIA

Sue/the view from great island said...

It's almost like a strawberry jam under that delicious crumb cake. I think I'd like it, I think the stewing would bring out the flavor of the berries, thanks Mary!

David said...

Mary, Your warm strawberry crumb cake looks delicious! Now I have to go and find something sweet and satisfying to eat... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Susan Lindquist said...

I respect your honesty here ... when I first saw the recipe post, I thought, "Oh how lucky to still have berries ... must be an everlasting variety. Then, I wondered how they'd stand up to having a warm sugary crumble atop them. Do you think the cornstarch element made them too smooth and less tart/sweet?

Banana Wonder said...

Ooooh I would love a huge slice of this cake. How delicious and perfectly summer.

Monet said...

I love old-fashioned desserts too, so I think this would be a favorite of mine. Thank you for sharing! I can never turn down berries!

tender b. said...

I love any cake with crumbs. Interesting approach to cover the berries with cake batter.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Meisi, I would try this with a different fruit base. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Joanne said...

I love how this is almost a combination of a cobbler and a crisp! Delicious!

France@beyondthepeel said...

fun. I know my hubby would love this combo of cake and crisp.

Susan..... said...

Somehow I missed this post the first time around but I am glad I caught it tonight.
I am publishing a post tomorrow about posting a "less then stellar recipe" and how we, in the blogging world, would handle this.
It seems we both are cut from the same cloth, Mary, and I respect you more then I already, happily did.
Hope all is well.

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