After a long grueling week, when you finally make it around to the weekend, isn’t it time for a little treat? Nothing fancy or complicated. Just simple and downright tasty! Something like a Lemon Strawberry Crumb Cake. Seriously. Amazing.
I adapted this recipe from the original by my blogger friend, Sue, from The View From Great Island. What caught my attention was that the batter comes together in the FOOD PROCESSOR. Bam!!! Mind Blown! It starts with whirring together lemon zest and sugar .
Then zhuzshing (I’m pretty sure that’s a kitchen term) in the butter – I used that good Irish butter for this, which gave it a deeper yellow color than the generic Costco butter I usually use… but it’s up to you! Remove about 1 cup of this mixture and reserve it for the topping.
Then add the eggs, milk greek yogurt and vanilla. Zhuszh. The batter nearly filled my Cuisinart — and it’s got a 7-cup capacity. When I removed the lid, I couldn’t help but dip my finger into that lush batter. I know you’re not supposed to — raw eggs, raw flour and everything — but I was compelled. OMG – lemony, buttery FABULOUSNESS!
The topping for the Lemon Strawberry Crumb Cake starts with strawberries – duh! And check out these berries — deep red all the way through, uber sweet and juicy!
Just slice them and layer them on top. In retrospect, I wish that I had layered the batter with the strawberries – so it baked like this: Cake:Strawberries:Cake:Strawberries:Topping. But live and learn — at least you can use that tip!
I augmented the reserved crumb topping, with oatmeal, walnuts and cinnamon. If you wanted to stick to the straight mix, you could, but if you’re like me and you enjoy a little crunch in your topping, have at it!
Now just bake it off… I say that like it’s no big deal — well. It is. This makes a LOT of batter and I used a standard baking pan with 2″ sides. Halfway through the baking I checked it, only to discover an avalanche of batter overflowing one side.
There are several things you can do to avoid a calamitous kitchen experience requiring oven cleaner, rubber gloves and a sponge. First, use a pan with higher sides – they have them in restaurant supply stores – they’re about 3″ high.
Second, place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any potential spills.
Finally, don’t use all the batter – spray 1 or two cupcake liners with vegetable spray and scoop some batter into them… you can even layer with strawberries and crumble if you want… so you wind up with a whole cake plus cupcakes! Yay!
Despite my faux pas, this Lemon Strawberry Crumb Cake was a complete hit. I served it at a family dinner and while the recipe specifically says it serves 16 — eight of us devoured the whole thing.
Everything a crumb cake should be and then some! Pay attention to the notes section!
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 lemons , well washed and dried
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter , cut into small dice
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1/3 cup greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup walnuts , finely chopped
- 1/4 cup oats
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups ripe strawberries ,sliced (You just need enough to cover the cake in a layer.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 9x9 inch square baking pan with vegetable spray and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom and two sides to help with lifting it out of the pan.
Zest two lemons and transfer to the bowl of a large food processor. (Sue uses a vegetable peeler to carefully remove the zest and leaves the bitter pith). Add the sugar and pulse until the lemon is completely integrated with the sugar (about a minute).
Add the flour, baking powder and salt and pulse to combine everything (note: I have a 7 cup food processor and this took me to capacity. If you're in the same boat, cover the food processor with a towel so the excess flour doesn't fly all over your kitchen).
Add the butter to the bowl and pulse to combine (about 20 pulses). Remove one cup of the mixture and set aside for the crumb topping.
Add the milk, eggs, sour cream and vanilla to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Make a slight well in the flour mixture and pour in the liquid ingredients. Pulse until just combined.
Add the walnuts, oats and cinnamon to the reserved crumb mixture. Toss well to combine. Set aside.
Spread the batter in the prepared pan. (Or layer it, by spreading half the batter in the pan, followed by a layer of strawberries, more batter, more strawberries and finish with the topping - the way I wished I'd done it!)
Layer the slices of strawberries over the top of the batter. Top the berries with the crumb topping. Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. (note: Sue said bake for 40-45 -- I tested at 40 - and 50 but still needed time.)
If the batter is coming precariously close to the top of your pan, either use a slightly taller pan to compensate (maybe a springform pan) or scoop out enough batter to make one or two cupcakes. Place the cake pan on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any potential drips.