2 ½tablespoonscornstarchdissolved into 2 ½ tablespoons water
½cuplight brown sugarlightly packed
½cup plus 2 tablespoonall purpose flour
2 ¼cupsall purpose flour
1 ¼cupsgranulated sugar
1 ½teaspoonspure vanilla extract
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.