So it turns out that we bought way too many strawberries last week. It's a shame, really. The strawberries have been looking great this year, and I don't eat them. I wish I liked them straight up, by themselves. I would like to like them. But I just can't do it. I can't get past the seedy exterior. To me, the seeds are such a distraction on the tongue that I can't enjoy the tart fruit underneath. It's sad. Hence, the need to find some yummy recipes that I can bake strawberries into! Fortunately, I can handle them as long as they are contained inside a baked good. Go figure.
Sometime later this week I will post another recipe I tried using strawberries, and that one I actually did eat myself. However, this Strawberry Coffee Cake was sent straight to work with Andy the other day and I didn't get a drop. That's okay, though: the glowing reviews of this one kept me giddier than if I had been on a real sugar rush from actually eating the cake!
The method is fairly simple. You whip together a quick coffee cake batter made with butter and cream cheese, granulated sugar, flour, et al. You spread half the batter into a square cake pan, spread sliced strawberries across the batter, and then dollop the remaining batter onto the strawberries. Sprinkle a simple brown sugar/nut topping on top, bake, and allow the delicious aroma of the cake baking away to tempt you like crazy!
One thing I should mention about this recipe: for some reason, I had to bake mine in a differently-sized pan than what was called for. I was supposed to use a 9x13 pan, but when I spread half the batter into the pan (since only half was needed on the bottom, then the strawberries, then more batter), it didn't fit! I couldn't even get half the batter to spread thinly across the bottom; there just wasn't enough of it. So, I took out the batter and tried it out in an 8x8 pan. That was perfect! I was kinda concerned that it would overflow the pan and drip out in the oven, but I needn't have worried. The cake rose beautifully, and it did clear the top of the pan. Once the cake had been out of the oven to cool, it settled back down and was roughly at the level of the top of the pan (as you can see from my pictures).
Since Andy didn't cut into this until he was at work that day, I insisted that he bring the camera to the office so I could see what it looked like inside! That is why the lighting looks all different in the picture of the single slice of cake. Sorry; it's all I had! Anyway, I really would like to make this again for company sometime, and actually try it. Until now, take Andy's word for it: this cake was a huge, delicious hit!
Strawberry Coffee Cake
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups strawberries, sliced (Original recipe used 3 cups.)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup nuts, coarsely chopped (I used pecans. I'm sure walnuts or even almonds would work.)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (Original recipe did not use, but I thought it needed this.)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat together cream cheese, butter, and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Stir in milk, eggs, and vanilla.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to cheese/butter mixture and mix until just smooth.
3. Spread half the batter into the bottom of a greased (I used nonstick cooking spray) 8x8 pan. (Again, this recipe indicated that a 9x13 pan should be used here, but I just couldn't make that work for me.) Spread the strawberries across surface of batter, followed by the rest of the batter, dropping it in dollops. Once all the batter has been dropped on top of the strawberries, spread it gently to cover the berries.
4. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, chopped nuts, and cinnamon. Sprinkle across the top of the batter. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean, with just a bit of crumb. (Mine baked up in about 33 minutes, and a 9x13 should be kept in until 40 minutes.) Serve warm.