Strawberry -Rhubarb Coffee Cake

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The sun has finally come to Vancouver and according to the weather network, it is FINALLY here to stay for a while! To say that this makes me happy, would be the understatement of the century. To put it quite simply I LOVE the sun! I seriously cannot get enough of it, and now that is has arrived, it has put me in the mood to bake all kinds of goodies that have a light and airy summer taste. Seriously, the prospect of berry season has actually kept me up nights the past week… I just couldn’t stop daydreaming about all the different recipes I want to try and concoct this summer.

My head is buzzing with thoughts of lemon cakes, fruit tarts, pies, homemade ice creams, fruit cheesecakes… what were we just talking about? Oh yes! Summer baking, I could go on for days about the baked goods I have been day dreaming about, but I’m sure you would prefer if I get on with the recipe.

The recipe for this Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake really came to me in different stages and I thought that putting these different parts into one fabulous cake was definitely the way to go! I do have to admit that I was a little bit worried about how the cake would turn out, but the risk was certainly worth the gain, because quite honestly this may be my favourite coffee cake recipe of all time. Not only is it incredibly delicious with all of its flavours, which seem to compliment each other perfectly, but it is also the perfect summer take on a classic coffee cake recipe. So let’s start from the beginning with how recipe came to be…

Part one: My need for strawberries!  
Every Sunday I take to my local farmers market to stock up on all kinds of fresh produce for the week to come. For the past few months my visits have been fairly uneventful when it comes to the fruit department, as not much has been in season. Little did I know, that last Sunday this was all going to change! My eyes nearly bugged out of my head when I saw the most gorgeous display of fresh, organic strawberries at the fruit stand. I hadn’t expected them to be there (looking oh so delectable) quite this early. Not to mention, the containers were on 2 for $5!!!!

So what did I do? Well, after I successfully wiped the drool from my mouth and popped my eyes back in my head, I made sure that I promptly picked up not just two, but four containers of the best looking strawberries I could find in the display. (I must confess, that I probably irritated about ten other people in the process of doing this, because I am one of THOSE people at the farmers market who searches for the best of the best in all of the displays and manages to hold up the crowd a little bit).

What to do with all those strawberries you ask??? Two containers I decided would be strictly for my boyfriend and I to pig out on with mass amounts of greek yogurt and whipping cream, and the other two containers would be put to fantastic use in my next baking endeavour. Thus, my next stop at the farmers market was at the rhubarb display, because for me, I don’t think there is any more of a heavenly combination than strawberry & rhubarb. By this point I was fully ecstatic and couldn’t contain my excitement over the baking that was in my near future, so I picked up the rest of my groceries in double quick time, and raced home to get my oven going.

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Part two: Strawberry – Rhubarb yes, but with what?
I briefly thought about putting together a classic Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with my new goodies, but that thought was quickly put to rest when I was busy putting my groceries away and I noticed two very sad, unused lemons that I had bought the previous week in the hopes of making a lemon cake (but had not had enough time to do so.) That was when the wheels started turning… Strawberry Rhubarb Cake, with a hint of lemon… YUM!!!

But how to put it all together? Should I make a simple lemon loaf with some chopped up strawberries and rhubarb in the batter? Should I smash the strawberries and the rhubarb and use the mixture to create a ribbon in the lemon loaf? But did I even want a loaf? I decided that no, I did not want a loaf, I wanted CAKE! But I also wanted that ooey gooey strawberry rhubarb pie like filling? So what was a girl to do? Well, I put my hands together and decided I would make just that… A nice lemon scented cake with a ribbon of strawberry rhubarb compote running through it. Which brings me to…

Part Three: How to finish it all off?
While I’m quite sure the cake would have been delicious just like that, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it would be even more amazing if I made a good crumbly crust to top it all off (kind of similar to a Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp topping) Not to mention, this would give me the perfect opportunity to pass this cake off as a cake that could be eaten for breakfast because not only would it have fruit, but it would also be topped with rolled oats and sliced almonds… so as the women at my work would say “It’s basically a salad.” God I love those women! So the recipe of Strawberry-Rhubarb Coffee Cake (which at my office is now known simply as “Breakfast Cake,”) was born! And oh me oh my was it a beautiful creation!

The cake rose absolutely beautifully, even with the thick layer of Strawberry Rhubarb compote. The hint of lemon within the cake & the compote lightened up the cake and really just gave it that spring/summer baking allure, while the crumbly, streusel topping with its warmer flavours like brown sugar and hints of cinnamon all combined to make an absolutely heavenly cake. You need to put this one into your recipe book and keep it for future use. This is the perfect cake for a Sunday brunch or an afternoon picnic (or in my case… breakfast and just at all times really.)

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Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake

Things you need… 

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote Filling
2 cups diced rhubarb (I like mine cut fairly thin, usually to about ¼ inch)
3 cups diced strawberries
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup corn starch (mixed in cold water)

Cake
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda

Crumble Topping
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt

How to make… 

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote Filling
In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, combine strawberries, rhubarb, brown sugar, granulated sugar and lemon juice. Cook on medium high heat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes or until the strawberries and rhubarb have broken down and become juicy.
Mix cornstarch with about half a cup of water and mix until there are no clumps. Add to the fruit mixture and bring to a boil. Stir until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat, and transfer to a heat proof bowl and allow the mixture to cool completely before moving forward with the recipe.

This will take about an hour. In the meantime, prepare your crumble topping.

Crumble Topping
In a small mixing bowl, combine all of the dry crumble ingredients with a spoon. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or with your hands until the mixture comes together and the butter clumps are about the size of a pea. Refrigerate until you are ready to use. You may have a bit extra, so you can refrigerate this and reuse.

Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×9 inch square baking pan. I used butter and a bit of flour.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, brown and granulated sugars. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add each egg in, one at a time, beating well after each addition. (The mixture should look soft and fluffy)Add in vanilla and lemon zest.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add a third of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and lightly stir until just combined. Add in half of the buttermilk, stir until just combined. Add in another third of the flour mixture, then the other half of the buttermilk. Finally stir in the last of the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Do not over mix the the cake batter as this can run the risk of making your cake tough.

Spread two thirds of the batter into the prepared 9×9 inch square pan using a spatula. Next, spread an even layer of the Strawberry Rhubarb compote over top of the cake batter gently using a spatula. The fruit layer should be about a third of an inch thick. You may have some left over, just refrigerate and reuse for another project. (I am going to use mine to make cupcake muahaha)

Next spread the remaining one third of the cake batter over top of the fruit layer using a spatula. This takes a bit of patience, so just take your time.

Sprinkle the crumble topping over the top of the cake, being sure to cover all of the top layer.

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely before serving.

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This cake is light, fluffy, moist, has a beautiful tart filling and is topped with a to die for crumble on top.  What else could you ask for? Well how about the recipe?  I could go on about this cake all day, so I really must be getting to it! So without further adieu, here is my recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake, and always remember, after you bake to share, eat and repeat.

Thank you for stopping by 🙂

KP xoxo

 

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