Thursday, March 24, 2016

the BEST strawberry streusel coffee cake

I'm not sure whether its because spring break is almost over (at least for me) or if its because I've been listening to "A Little Fall of Rain" by Les Miserables for the past six hours on repeat, but I'm in a somber mood. Granted I've also spent the past week enduring rejection letter after rejection letter from companies for summer internships, so I guess its one of those "confluence of issues" situations. Nevertheless, one bright spot of my week was nestling in the corner of my kitchen like an antisocial vampire cat fisting handfuls of warm coffee cake into my face. In true honesty, I may not be giving this week's recipe the credit it deserves. This Strawberry Streusel Coffee Cake is perhaps one of the BEST desserts/breakfast hybrids I've ever had in my life. I mean Bon Apetit agrees with me (depending on who you believe said it first). A moist and strawberry-packed cake with a delectably-thick layer of crunchy streusel leaves little to desire except for a looser jaw (I'll point to YouTube for that tutorial). As for this blog, I try to stick to the food and not the potential dangerous and psychotic, although my prose often resembles psychopathy. Anyways, Strawberry Streusel Coffee Cake. Keep reading for the recipe and how to prepare it!

Adapted from Bon Appetit; yields 18 large squares, perfect for potlucks or parties

for Streusel Topping
3/4 cup of packed brown sugar
1/2 cup of white sugar
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of frozen butter, cut into small cubes before processing
2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

for Strawberry Coffee Cake
2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cups of butter, room temperature for easy beating
1 1/2 cups of sugar
2 whole eggs
1 cup of unstrained plain yogurt or 1 cup of greek yogurt + 1/3 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1. First, we should prepare the streusel topping. Like all crispy and crunchy pastry-esque things, we need to use cold butter. The colder the better. Cut the butter into medium cubes and place them in the freezer to firm up. Once the butter is completely frozen, put all the streusel ingredients in a food processor and pulse it until the mixture resembles fine sand. If you squeeze the streusel with your hand, it should clump together. Keep in the freezer while you prepare the cake. 

2. Wooohooo! Coffee Cake time. In a large bowl, dump all the dry ingredients. Whisk it a little to get rid of any noticeable lumps. In a separate bowl, beat more butter until pale and smooth, about 1 minute. If you've ever baked anything that calls for room temperature butter, you've certainly tried to beat cold butter. Please don't. It'll save you lots of time. Once the butter has softened and you've thoroughly beaten it, add the sugar and continue to beat until fluffy, about 2 more minutes. Basically, beating the sugar and butter adds air and volume to your batter so the cake isn't dense. You want to do this before you add the dry ingredients because overworking the flour with make for a tough (gunky) dough. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating them completely before each addition. You might find your batter curdling. Don't panic. When it bakes, everything will turn out fine. Trust me. I'm an "expert". 

3. Add the yogurt and vanilla extract. A couple notes: 1) if you don't have normal unstrained yogurt, substitute 3/4 cups of greek yogurt with 1/4 cups of whole milk, 2) if you only have vanilla flavored yogurt, adjust the vanilla extract accordingly, 3) be careful with the vanilla extract; it's potent stuff!

4. Rinse, dry, hull, and cut the strawberries into small, quarter to half-inch cubes. My lawyers tell me I'm not liable for injury so long as I tell you, encourage you, urge you to use a cutting board and not to follow the above-taken picture. Also, those are not my hands. Soon my hands will look like that but not yet. Add them and the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Gently fold the strawberries, dry and wet ingredients together until just before all the flour is incorporated (this will ensure you don't overmix). 

5. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the bottom of a 13x9x2 inch baking tray (it's the one for cookies) with parchment paper. If you're not sure, you can always measure it with a ruler (or take a picture and ask Siri). Spread the batter evenly all the way to the edges. Retrieve the streusel from the freezer and generously sprinkle (more like pack) a dusting (more like mountain) of streusel over the cake. Do not be afraid. If you're relatives look at you funny, send them my way because there's nothing wrong with having a coffee cake that's half cake, half streusel (what's wrong is calling it a coffee cake when no coffee is in least that's what my dad reminds me every time I mention coffee cake). Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the streusel is dark-golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. 

6. You must let it cool for a least 30 minutes before you dig in. Once it is cool, however, serve with a big pot of joe, powdered sugar, or ice cream depending on the time of day. In my wholehearted opinion, combine all three and you've got a winner any time of the day. McDonald's better be taking some notes because I'm about to steal all their "breakfast-all-day business". Warm Strawberry Streusel Coffee Cake anyone? Everyone.

That's the shpeal for this week. If you like this recipe or any of my other (adapted/stolen) recipes, please comment below or share this post on your social media. I see everything, and I appreciate all the love y'all show me. You don't have to, but you do, and I love that. Have a wonderful Easter weekend. Stay away from the men dressed as bunnies and remember the true meaning of Easter. And as always, 


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