Spring, and a Recipe for Strawberry Coffee Cake

strawberries

Spring seems to be arriving in fits and starts here in the Northeast, but the sunlight and budding trees are making me crave spring produce. The above photo reminded me of last spring, as those were the first strawberries I bought from the farmers market. I used them to make a strawberry coffee cake that is perfect for breakfast on a  cool morning, or with tea on a bright afternoon.

I come from a line of Midwestern cooks and bakers, and treasure my grandmother’s self-published cookbook. I frequently page through the home-style recipes, reminiscing about the many meals I’ve shared with her and my mother. I rarely make the recipes as written though, as Crisco and white sugar aren’t popular in my kitchen. Instead, I adapted my grandmother’s recipe to use honey instead of sugar, and yogurt for moisture. The resulting cake is sweet and floral, studded with jammy strawberries and toasted almonds. If you give it a try, leave me a comment letting me know how you liked it!

strawberry coffee cake

Strawberry Coffee Cake with Almonds

makes one 8″ round cake

Batter:
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
½  tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
Scant ½ tsp fine grain sea salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup wildflower or clover honey
1 large egg, room temperature
2 ¼ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup yogurt
¼ tsp lemon juice
1 heaped cup thickly sliced strawberries

Topping:
4 tbsp whole wheat flour
4 tbsp rolled oats
3 tbsp natural cane sugar (such as Demerara) or lightly packed brown sugar
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch cubes
½ cup raw chopped almonds

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Butter an 8” round cake pan
  • Mix the first five dry ingredients in a bowl, and whisk briefly to combine
  • In another bowl, beat the room temperature butter on medium speed until light and fluffy
  • Add half the honey to the butter and beat to combine for 30 seconds to 1 minute
  • Repeat with the second half of the honey
  • Once the butter and honey are combined, beat in egg, vanilla extract, yogurt, and lemon juice. Mixture may look curdled but mix until mostly combined.
  • Add 1/3 of the dry mixture to the wet and stir until just combined. Repeat twice more.
  • Pour the batter into the baking dish and spread out to the edges of the pan. It will be sticky.
  • Place strawberries on top of the batter and gently push each one down so that they sink in at least half way. This will help to distribute the batter.
  • Combine the first four topping ingredients in a bowl. Use your fingers to press the butter into the other ingredients, resulting in a coarse meal. Once done, the size of the pieces of butter should be somewhere between peas and hazelnuts.
  • Mix the chopped almonds into the topping
  • Pour topping over strawberries and batter. Cover the entire top of the cake as the honey will cause the batter to brown more quickly than a sugar-based batter would.
  • Place in oven for 25-35 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the cake. When it comes out clean (look for batter and not just remnants from the topping!), remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. 
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Spring, and a Recipe for Strawberry Coffee Cake