Crumble and fruit in the same sentence...In my mind that equals goodness! Flour, butter and sugar is all you need to make a crumble topping, so simple, yet so good!
I have been eyeing down this recipe for a while from Dorie’s wonderful, big baking book ‘Baking: From My Home to Your’ and have waited for the right occasion to make it. After quickly realising that every day is simply the right occasion to try a new cake (!!!!!), I threw on my lovely apron and got busy.
I chose a mixture of frozen blueberries and cherries for this cake and although I do not even like blueberries that much, this cake tasted scrumptious nonetheless. Fresh berries are most likely even better to use but I didn’t have those available unfortunately. Next time, I may try this cake with only cherries and add a third cup to the recipe to turn the berry-ness up one notch.
What I love about this cake? The balance between the sugary, crumble and walnut crunch on top, balanced with the sweetness of the berries and the light, soft texture of the cake’s inside.
Planning on having a little, casual tea party? This is your cake!
Berry Crumb Cake
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
You can eat this cake on the same day as preparation, once it has cooled down to room temperature, but it tastes even better the next day if you store it in the fridge over night.
For the crumbs:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
For the cake:
1 pint (2 cups) berries (preferably fresh, or frozen, not thawed- I used a mix of frozen raspberries and frozen mixed berries)
2 cups plus 2 tsp all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon AND/OR 1/4 orange (I only used lemon)
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 teaspoon vinegar plus milk to make 1/2 cup)
Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F). Grease a 8 x 8 pan and line with baking paper. Set on a baking sheet.
To make the crumbs: Put all the ingredients except the nuts in a food processor and pulse just until the mixture forms clumps and curds and holds together when pressed. Scrape the topping into a bowl, stir in the nuts and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface. Refrigerate until needed. (Covered well the crumb mix can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
To make the cake: Using your fingertips, toss the berries and 2 tsp of the flour together in a small bowl just to coat the berries; set aside. Whisk together the remaining 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Working in the bowl of a stand mixer or in another large bowl, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the butter and, with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar with the butter at medium speed until light, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for about 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla extract. Don’t be concerned if the batter looks curdled — it will soon smooth out. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately, the flour in 3 parts and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients.) You will have a thick, creamy batter. With a rubber spatula, gently stir in the berries.
Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top gently with the spatula. Pull the crumb mix from the fridge and, with your fingertips, break it into pieces. Scatter the crumbs over the batter, pressing them down ever so slightly.
Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool just until it is warm or until it reaches room temperature.