Strawberry Coffee Cake
Published May 14, 2013•Updated Mar 08, 2023
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Ripe red strawberries, tender yellow cake with hints of cinnamon and sugar, and (and!) a golden-brown crumble topping make this Strawberry Coffee Cake perfect for breakfast or brunch. Also don’t miss enjoying the leftovers as an afternoon snack with coffee or tea.
A good coffee cake is a must-have this time of year. Spring birthdays, Easter, mother’s day – all are begging for a beautiful, fresh-fruit, brunch-approved cake as a centerpiece. Once you see how easy it is to make this moist, crumbly strawberry coffee cake, this will become your go-to for spring celebrations.
There’s a lot to love about this recipe, but it’s the strawberries that steal the show. Strawberries are naturally sweet and juicy, but their vibrant red color takes a simple baked treat and turns it into a showstopper that will impress even the toughest critic. With beautiful ribbons of strawberries and decadent yellow cake, your guests will be thinking about seconds before they have “firsts”! If strawberries aren’t your thing, check out my sister recipe where bananas steal the show instead: Banana Coffee Cake.
Here’s how to make this beauty.
What Is Coffee Cake?
Coffee cake has such a fun history. These crumb-covered cakes were first created in Germany and Denmark sometime around the 17th Century as tasty sweet treats to serve with coffee or tea. So, the name literally means a cake to enjoy with coffee.
How to Make It
To make the crumb topping
- Whisk flour, sugar, and salt, then add the cold butter.
- Combine until moist crumbs form.
To make the cake
- Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Beat ¾ cup of sugar and butter until light and fluffy, 3–4 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, followed by the eggs.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients, alternating between the two as you go. You should begin and end with the dry ingredients.
- Pour half of the mixture into the springform pan, and sprinkle remaining sugar and cinnamon over the top. Spoon the rest of the batter into the pan, and smooth the top.
- Add the strawberries, and sprinkle crumb topping over the top.
- Bake at 350° until the top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 55–60 minutes.
- Let the coffee cake cool completely in the pan before removing and serving.
For the Crumb Topping:
- All-Purpose Flour – Good old fashioned all-purpose flour binds the butter and brown sugar together.
- Light Brown Sugar – Every crumb topping needs some sweetness. Light brown sugar has a more subtle sweetness than dark brown sugar.
- Kosher Salt – To enhance the butter and sugar flavors.
- Unsalted Butter – When making a crumble or streusel topping, the butter must be refrigerator-cold so that it can be cut into neat cubes. Cold butter helps the crumbs hold their shape, and the cubes make it easy to mix everything together.
For the Cake:
- Nonstick Spray – A nonstick cooking spray will make removing the cake from the pan a breeze.
- All-Purpose Flour, Cornmeal, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt – These dry ingredients provide structure and help the coffee cake rise.
- Sugar, Unsalted Butter, Vanilla Extract, Eggs – Creaming the butter, then adding moisture-rich eggs and fragrant vanilla creates a light cakey texture, and prevents the strawberry coffee cake from becoming dry.
- Buttermilk – Buttermilk softens a cake’s texture, while adding a little tang to balance the sweetness.
- Cinnamon – A touch of cinnamon to add warmth to the fruity strawberry flavors.
- Strawberries (see note) – When buying strawberries look for fruits that are a deep red color, none of those still pink (or green) around the top or bottom fruits. Fully ripe berries will give you the deepest strawberry flavors. You can use fresh or frozen strawberries in this recipe. To get the most accurate volume, cut the whole strawberries into quarters before pulling out your measuring cups. Before you measure frozen strawberries, defrost, drain, and then chop or slice for measuring.
- Try Different Fruits – This coffee cake recipe is so versatile that it makes trying different fruits easy. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, plums, cherries, apricot, and peaches all produce a great filling for this cake.
- Add More Toppings – Coffee cake is absolutely amazing on its own, but you can also drizzle this sweet crumbly cake with a vanilla glaze or add a dollop of whipped cream.
- Add nuts – Strawberries and almonds are a classic flavor combination. Use sliced or slivered almonds and toast them first for a deep nutty flavor. Chopped pistachios or walnuts would also be great additions and add nice crunch to the topping.
Fresh coffee cake should be stored at room temperature so that it remains soft and moist. Store the cake in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can also freeze coffee cake for up to 3 months if you wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.
The main difference between cake and coffee cake is the way the cakes are topped. Regular cake is frosted with buttercreams, meringues, whipped cream, or ganache. Coffee cake, on the other hand, is all about the buttery-sugary crumble topping.
More Baked Breakfast Recipes
- Baked Blueberry Oatmeal
- Brioche Baked Egg in a Hole
- Banana Bread Coffee Cake
- 1-Hour Cinnamon Rolls
- Baked Banana French Toast
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Strawberry Coffee Cake Recipe
- Mixing Bowls
- Stand or Handheld Mixer
- 9-inch Springform Pan
For the Crumb Topping:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, and cubed
For the Cake:
- nonstick spray
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 6 tablespoons unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature (6 Tbsp = 3/4 stick)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups quartered strawberries (see note)
- To make the crumb topping, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter. Using your fingertips, work the butter into the dry ingredients until large, moist crumbs begin to form. Refrigerate the topping until you're ready to use it.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray.
- To make the cake, in a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- Using a standing or electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup of sugar and butter in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, 3–4 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until pale and fluffy, 3–4 minutes more.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the bowl in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
- Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Whisk remaining 3 Tbsp. sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; sprinkle evenly over batter in pan. Spoon the remaining batter over the top and smooth it out again.
- Pour the strawberries evenly over the batter. Break apart the crumb topping over the strawberries.
- Bake the cake until the top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 55–60 minutes.
- Let the coffee cake cool completely in the pan.
- Store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.