Monday, July 5, 2010
A Perfect Pair
This summer seems to be flying by. One minute I'm eagerly anticipating the warm weather, and before I know it strawberry season is almost over! Rue and I went strawberry picking on the last weekend in June. And of course, with strawberries come rhubarb for some delicious baked goods. Yum.
We made the requisite strawberry rhubarb pie (with a crumble topping) which was oddly received with enthusiastic praise from everyone at the pool party that I brought the first pie to, and a thumbs down from my family who thought it was too tart. I guess rhubarb isn't for everyone?
The majority of the remaining berries went into some refreshing agua frescas the following weekend. But I still had about a pint and some rhubarb left over so my plan was to make muffins. Unfortunately you need a muffin tin for that (I seem to have lost mine) so I decided to make coffee cake instead.
Sometimes you make something that just know is going to be delicious before you even start getting the ingredients together. You can just kind of feel it. That's what this cake was like. A not-too-sweet cake batter infused with vanilla flavour and some sour cream to keep it moist, a fairly heavy crumb topping and some delicious seasonal fruit...what's not to love?
Anyway, I was right and then some. The cake was moist, perfectly sweet and just the right combination of cake and fruit. And the smell. Oh god. I took some in to work and could hardly restrain myself from eating the entire batch. It's really too bad that strawberry season is over...but the best part is that you could make this cake with any seasonal fruit. Next up...peach crumb cake?
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1/4 lb rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 lb strawberries, washed and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch or flour
1/6 cup brown sugar
1/6 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (2 oz) butter, melted
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup softened butter, cut into pieces
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit, 163 degrees Celsius
1. Grease an 8-inch round baking pan. For filling, toss strawberries and rhubarb with sugar and cornstarch or flour. Set aside.
2. To make crumbs: in a large bowl, whisk sugars, spices and salt into melted butter until smooth. Then add flour with a spatula or wooden spoon until the mixture is more doughy than crumb-ly. Leave it pressed together in the bottom of the bowl and set aside.
3. To prepare cake: in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Using an electric mixer of some sort or a wooden spoon (I used my immersion blender with the whisk attachment) mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and about half the sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture and beat for about another 20 seconds.
4. Scrape all but about a 1/2 cup of batter into the prepared pan. Spoon fruit filling over batter. Drop the remaining batter over the fruit filling; it does not have to be even.
5. Using your fingers, grab bits of the crumb topping and squeeze into a big clump, breaking it into large crumbs about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size over the cake. Keep doing this until the topping is all used up. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (it may be moist from rhubarb), about 35 to 45 minutes. Cool before serving.