There is something rather delightful that happens when the food about which you write is also being consumed as a snack at the same time. In this case, I’ve got a thick slice of strawberry coffee cake alongside a large mug of chai tea, and am ready to write about it.
First, I take a bite of cake. Mmmm. Moist, and a bit spongy. The fruit is creating tender humid divots in the cake crumb, and the brown sugar almond topping has remained nice and crunchy. A few almond slivers fall on my plate, just waiting for me to mop them up with a damp finger tip that’s just been licked clean from all that sugar. Oh my, this cake takes break time to a brand new level of enjoyment. All in all, a wholly successful recipe, both from the cook’s and the eater’s perspective.
This was easy to make, with ingredients you probably keep on hand. At this time of year, berries seem to come on sale rather frequently, and often involve offering the purchase of two packages of berries for one low price. I find I can’t quite get through two packages of fruit in a week, so the next best thing is to use one up in baking, and reserve the other for my morning meals and lunch box snacks.
While I’m sure this cake would taste at its’ season’s best in the summer, it make remarkably good use of winter berries, and tastes divine. Like tasting hope and summer on a plate, while we’re still experiencing sub zero weather outside. I needed that today.
I came across this recipe from one author I quite admire, Lou Seibert Pappas, in her book called quite simply, Coffee Cakes. The recipe is pretty much as is, except that I’ve added some cardamom to the cake batter and some cinnamon to the nut topping, because it’s not like me to leave things as is…
This easy and delicious coffee cake stays moist with the addition of cream cheese and berries. I used low fat cream cheese in this cake.
This recipe is adapted from Lou Seibert Pappas' recipe in her wonderful book titled Coffee Cakes, and is great to make any time of year.
- 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 8 tbsp (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
- 3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
- 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds or walnuts
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
- In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, butter and sugar and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add in the milk, eggs, and vanilla, and beat thoroughly.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom. Stir to blend. Add this to the cheese mixture and beat until smooth.
- Spread half the batter in the prepared pan.
- Scatter the berries evenly over the batter.
- Dot the remaining batter over the berries.
- Mix the brown sugar, nuts and cinnamon and sprinkle over the batter.
- Bake for 40 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack.
- Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into squares. The next day, serve it cold for breakfast with a cup of coffee, or a tall glass of milk.