Cookin’ with Condley
Published 2:32 pm Thursday, June 1, 2023
By Sarah Condley
Well, it’s spring, our local farmers market is open, and strawberries are in season. For the past two weekends, I bought some great strawberries. This weekend may be the last time you can get locally grown berries (so head to the farmers market early on Saturday). With all those deliciously sweet berries in the refrigerator, it’s tempting just to sit and eat and eat them. But so we can enjoy them later this summer, I’ve been freezing many of them. Those that don’t end up in the freezer end up in pies, cakes, on top of my cereal and ice cream.
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I wanted to make a quick sweet treat for us when I stumbled upon a recipe for Strawberry Crumb Cake. It’s a recipe I tore out of a copy of Family Circle magazine during my years of recipe collecting.
I had all of the ingredients on hand when I decided to make this crumb cake for our evening meal dessert one afternoon.
After preheating the oven and greasing an 8×8 baking dish, I grabbed a large bowl from the cabinet and whisked together the dry ingredients for the cake batter. I was ready to combine the wet cake ingredients in a small bowl in less than two minutes. Since there was just one egg in the recipe, I broke it right into the bowl and darn if I didn’t get a piece of eggshell. I spent about a minute chasing that little speck of shell all over that bowl – finally, I got it out. I was so glad I’d broken the egg into the bowl first before the milk, oil, and vanilla were in there; I think it would have been hard to get the eggshell out of that mixture. Once the wet ingredients were combined, I made a small well in the flour mixture and poured the wet stuff in. I beat the batter with a wooden spoon for precisely one minute (one minute seems like a long time when you are hand-mixing the batter). I’m not sure why the recipe says to use a wooden spoon, so don’t worry about it if you don’t have one.
After pouring the batter into the baking dish, I sprinkled the great-smelling strawberries all over the top and sat the pan to the side while I put the crumb mixture together.
The flour and brown sugar were in the bowl and I cut up the cold butter, letting the pieces fall over the top. I used a pastry blender to combine those three ingredients until they were crumbly and then stirred in the walnut pieces. I used my hands to sprinkle the topping over the strawberries.
The strawberry crumb cake went into the oven, baked for 40 minutes and was done when the timer sounded. The cake cooled on a wire rack while I started preparing supper.
Once we finished our meal, Brad sat at the table and said he was ready for dessert. I did not sprinkle the top with powdered sugar because I’m trying to watch my calorie intake, and it would have put me over my limit for the day. And besides, I didn’t think the cake needed it. If we’d had company, I would have sprinkled it on just for looks. We each took a slice out of that little square cake and began our taste test. Wow, we were not disappointed. This cake was moist and delicious, and the flavor of those local fresh strawberries sent it over the top.
Of course, we had cake left over, so we took some to our kids, who all approved. I Nailed this recipe, and it’s headed to my self-made cookbook.
Strawberry Crumb Cake
• 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 cup milk
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1/4 cup cold butter, cut in pieces
• 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
• 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
• Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 8 x 2-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
• In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In small bowl mix egg, milk, oil and vanilla.
• Make well in center of flour mixture. Add egg mixture to well. Beat with wooden spoon 1 minute until evenly moistened. Spoon into prepared pan. Top with strawberries.
• Crumb Topping: In small bowl, mix flour and sugar. Cut in butter with pastry blender until crumbly. Stir in nuts. Sprinkle topping over strawberries.
• Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Let cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into 9 squares. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.