A layer of juicy strawberries topped with vanilla cake and a brown sugar crumb topping. Serve this Strawberry Crumb Cake warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.
Just in case you needed a reason to get extra excited about spring, I present to you (drumroll, please)… Warm Strawberry Crumb Cake.
“What is a Warm Strawberry Crumb Cake?” you might be asking yourself. It is a dream come true. Juicy, jammy strawberries topped with fluffy vanilla cake and finished with a buttery brown sugar crumb topping. Eaten warm with a scoop of slow melting vanilla ice cream or a dollop of softly whipped cream, it is absolute perfection.
Not only can this be served for dessert, but it’s also a fantastic breakfast or brunch cake. I’m thinking Easter or Mother’s Day? Or every single weekend from now through the end of summer?
Strawberry Crumb Cake
Let’s go through each element of this recipe. There are three components which work beautifully together.
- Strawberries: 3 pounds of fresh strawberries are tossed with sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Place the strawberries into the bottom of a 9×13 pan.
- Cake: A vanilla flavored buttermilk cake tops the strawberries. The cake batter gets spooned over the strawberries, then smoothed into an even layer. The cake bakes up fluffy and tender, yet sturdy enough to hold up to all those berries underneath without getting soggy.
- Crumb topping: A typical crumb topping of butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt gets sprinkled over the top of the cake batter. This topping adds a sweet-buttery crunch to every bite of this cake.
While baking, the strawberries release their juices and thicken into a bed of sweet jammy goodness. The cake batter puffs up into a soft vanilla-scented cake, and the crumb topping brings a texture, sweetness and buttery flavor that can’t be beat.
Does This Cake Have To Be Served Warm?
It is absolutely best when served warm. The berries are extra juicy and the cake is tender and soft. I highly, highly, highly recommend serving it warm.
Can you eat it cold? Yes. Did I consume an embarrassing number of bites of the leftover cake straight from the fridge? I sure did. Totally edible, and if you love cold cake, go for it. But, definitely try it warm, too.
If you enjoy fruit desserts, you will love this cake. It’s kind of like a fruit crisp, but with a cake topping. That being said, this recipe is more cake than fruit. If you’re looking for something heavier in the fruit department, I suggest: Strawberry Crisp, Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie, Berry Trifle, or Blueberry Pie.
I’m not trying to be bossy or anything, but I will tell you that you need this Strawberry Crumb Cake in your life. We’ve (almost) made it through winter, and we deserve to reward ourselves with juicy sweet strawberries and fluffy crumb cake. So delicious.
Forgot to buy buttermilk? Try this substitute.
Warm Strawberry Crumb Cake
- 3 pounds fresh strawberries see note
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved into 2 1/2 tablespoons water
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon all purpose flour
- pinch salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract optional
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, toss the strawberries with the sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch slurry, and vanilla extract. Pour the fruit filling into a greased 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish and set it on a sturdy baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, flour and salt. Add melted butter. Stir with a fork until mostly combined and then continue to mix using your fingers to create crumbs. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions and scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and almond extract (if using). Add half the dry ingredients to the batter beating until combined. Add the buttermilk, then the remaining dry ingredients, beating well after each addition.
Spoon the batter over the fruit filling, gently spreading it around (I used a small offset spatula). Sprinkle with the crumb topping. Bake in the center of the oven for 60-70 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling, the crumb topping is golden, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. If necessary, loosely place a piece of foil over the top of the cake if crumb topping is getting too dark. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly. Serve the warm or at room temperature.
Strawberries: Remove the stems and halve or quarter the larger berries and leave the smaller berries whole. The berries will cook down quite a bit, so don't cut them too small. You should have about 8 cups prepared.
Recipe adapted from Food & Wine.