You want to know what the saddest thing in the world is?
Of course you do. Everyone wants a bit of misery on a Saturday morning.
The saddest thing in the world is when you make a cake, and it's a really, really good cake (no, bear with me). And you're eating this cake, and you're thinking, 'this wasn't really the cake I had in mind', but it's nothing against the cake itself, you just sort of hoped it would be different. And you do like this cake, you really do, but you spend every mouthful thinking of the cake it could have been, and before you know it all the cake is gone, and you never really appreciated it, cause you were always thinking of something else.
Oh, yeah- I mean, sure you could apply that story to like, relationships, and life and so on. But I'm pretty much just talking about cake.
I really like cake.
So I made another one. A better one. The one I'd wanted all along.
Alright, so as delicious as Joy's strawberry streusel cake was, it wasn't the one I had in the back of my mind: you know, the one with great crumb boulders tumbled over the top, and a ribbon of strawberry filling baked through a thick, moist yellow cake. My streusel kind of got engulfed by the rising cake itself, dragged beneath the surface Atlantis-style, and my strawberries turned to chunks; and no one complained, but any excuse for another delicious attempt, you know?
Not to mention that we have so much fresh fruit in our house at the moment that I'm constantly engaged in a dramatic race-against-time to eat it before it turns to goo; as soon as I finish this post I'm going to go battle the forces of decomposition in aid of a few punnets of blueberries and some brown bananas. As soon as I bake something into safety, my mother buys armfuls more - the constant pressure! The constant lining of baking tins! I think my mum is doing this on purpose.
This really is a post full of woe, isn't it? Oh, the trouble I endure.
Strawberry Streusel Cake
Happy Love Strawberry
I turned to about a hundred different sources for this, using Joy's cake as inspiration but turning away from her recipe. This is what I had in mind: heaps of streusel topping steals the show, undercut by a generous swathe of sweet strawberry filling. You may need to bake it for a little longer; I needed to cover it with foil and give it another 15 minutes, but I later realised this was because the Aga was running cool - so use your own judgement.
Preheat oven to 180°C with rack in middle. Generously butter a 9" cake tin. Line bottom with parchment paper.
For the crumbs:
40g (1/3 c.) dark brown sugar
60g (1/3 c.) caster sugar
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 tsp salt
120g (1 stick) butter, melted
250g (1 3/4 c.) plain flour
To make crumbs: in a large bowl, whisk sugars, lemon zest and salt into melted butter until smooth. Then, add flour with a spatula or wooden spoon. It will look and feel like a solid dough. Leave it pressed together in the bottom of the bowl and set aside.
about 150g (1 heaping c.) sliced strawberries
60g (1/3 c.) sugar
2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
2 tsp water
Combine strawberries, sugar, water and cornflour in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened and strawberries are soft and somewhat broken down. Set aside to cool.
For the cake:
1 tsp vanilla extract
175g (1 c.) sugar
280g (2 c.) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
120g (1 stick) butter
2 large eggs
120ml (1/2 c.) sour cream
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down side and bottom of bowl. Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture and sour cream alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour, until just combined.
Spread most of batter in pan, then spoon strawberry filling over it. Spoon several small tsps of the remaining batter over the top of the strawberries and smooth them with as gentle of a hand as possible. Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs. Sprinkle over cake.
Bake until a wooden pick inserted into cake (not into filling) comes out clean, 45-50mins (mine took a little over an hour as the Aga was running cool). Cool in pan 30 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely, crumb side up.