March 21st is California Strawberry Day. Not sure who makes these things up, but there it is. In honor of the beautiful red berry I made a snack cake. Yes, it could be breakfast. Call it coffee cake. Who am I to dissuade you from eating cake for breakfast? . You know when strawberries are ripe when you can smell them just passing by with the grocery cart. Standing over the berries I could tell they “looked” ripe but even more so, they smelled heavenly. We normally plow through strawberries so fast that I don’t get to eat too many before they are gone. This time however, I had just enough left to make this cake with. You will need about 10-12 berries. Mind you, leftover berries are not a problem–normally I freeze them and keep them for smoothies, but I’m trying to clean out my freezer so I didn’t want to add to it. Don’t chop your strawberries too far ahead of time, as to prevent them from becoming too watery and bleeding into the batter. Enjoy~
Strawberry Pecan Streusel Cake
1/2 Cup milk
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
zest of one lemon
3/4 Cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
1 Lg. egg
1 3/4 Cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp. vanilla will do)
1 1/2 Cup chopped (1/2 pieces) fresh strawberries
1/2 Cup seedless strawberry jam, divided (I like Smuckers)
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C light brown sugar
1/3 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 C butter, softened
1/3 C coarsely chopped pecans
1. In a measuring cup mix the milk and lemon juice and set aside for at least 15 minutes; (essentially you are making a quick buttermilk). Prepare an 8 inch square pan with a parchment sling and lightly spray with baking spray.
2. Mix the dry ingredients and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Make the streusel and set aside. To make streusel: combine the sugars, flour, cinnamon, and butter with a fork, then mix in the nuts.
3. Cream the butter and sugar until lightened and fluffy. Add egg and beat to combine. Add lemon zest, vanilla and mix to combine. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients alternating with the milk mixture in two additions, ending with the flour mixture. Take 1/2 of the batter (it will be thick) and spread it evenly in the pan. Take 1/4 C of the jam and heat it slightly in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Spread the jam evenly over the batter, then swirl with a knife. Sprinkle 1/2 of the strawberries over the batter. Take the remaining batter and dot spoonfuls of the batter over the first layer, then carefully spread batter, repeat by spreading the other half of the (warmed) jam, swirl batter layer with a knife about 1/2 inch inward, and sprinkle with remaining berries. Sprinkle enough streusel to cover cake generously, but not too heavy (you will have about 2 Tbsp. left over).
4. Bake in a preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If the top starts getting too dark, you can tent with foil for the last portion of baking. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares.