Strawberry Coffee Cake

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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.

strawberry coffee cake on a black plate

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

  1. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt, then add the cold butter.
  2. Combine until moist crumbs form. 

To make the cake 

  1. Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Beat ¾ cup of sugar and butter until light and fluffy, 3–4 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, followed by the eggs.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, alternating between the two as you go. You should begin and end with the dry ingredients. 
  4. 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. 
  5. Add the strawberries, and sprinkle crumb topping over the top.
  6. Bake at 350° until the top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 55–60 minutes.
  7. Let the coffee cake cool completely in the pan before removing and serving.

Ingredients

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. 
fresh strawberries in a black bowl

Variations

  • 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. 
removing a slice of strawberry coffee cake

FAQs

Should you store coffee cake in the refrigerator or at room temperature?

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.

What is the difference between cake and coffee cake?

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. 

a slice of strawberry coffee cake on a white table

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4.29 from 7 votes

Strawberry Coffee Cake Recipe

This moist coffee cake is topped with tart strawberries and a light crumb, making it perfect for breakfast or a tasty snack.
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 10

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowls
  • Stand or Handheld Mixer
  • 9-inch Springform Pan

Ingredients 

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)

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

Strawberries – If using fresh strawberries, measure them after you’ve quartered them. You can also use frozen strawberries. Defrost them first, drain them well, and then slice or chop. 
Adapted from Old-Fashioned Blueberry Coffee Cake by Eric Wolitzky, Bon Appetit September 2012.

Nutrition

Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 276mg | Potassium: 177mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 519IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $6.00
Calories: 400
Keyword: coffee cake, crumb cake, fruit, raspberry
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at InquiringChef.com. She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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34 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Cake looks amazing, going to be making it this weekend. I was wondering if you can use any other type of fruit, fresh or frozen as the filling or does it only have to be raspberries? Has anyone tried making it with other kinds of fruit, fresh or frozen?

    1. I haven’t tried any other type of berries with this recipe, but I do usually find that you can swap berries in and out – I’m sure it would work with almost any type.

  2. 5 stars
    That crumb topping is a taste bud’s special. I made it the first time and loved it instantly. I love how simple it is and honestly, I have been sharing the recipe with friends and they have also told me how amazing the almond cake is.

  3. Just baked this cake for the third (or fouth?) time, and all our guests loved it! It’s definitely in my top 10 for recipes. And you are absolutely right– it’s better on the 3rd day than right out of the oven. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi there – thanks for your question. This is a pretty easy fix. I often don’t have buttermilk, so instead I use a combination of half yogurt, half milk with a couple teaspoons of white vinegar. Whisk them all together and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. That mimics the flavor and texture of buttermilk very well, and has always worked for a substitute for me.

  4. It’s baking… Used fresh raspberries and followed your recipe to the t. Anticipation is building! Will let you know how much I love it. And thank you!

  5. This looks so delicious, your photos are making me so hungry! I would absolutely love this for breakfast!