A crumb cake recipe from the strawberry capital of Southern California
by Barbara Barrielle
Are these strawberries from Oxnard?” Asked the 12 year old as he dug into the strawberry crumb cake in Malibu in Mother’s Day.
“Yes, they are, fresh picked this morning,” I responded.
“Good, because the best strawberries are from Oxnard.” And, with that we polished off the crumb cake from the quick and easy recipe below.
Only 36 miles up the coast from Malibu is the oft-overlooked town of Oxnard in Ventura County. But, stop and enjoy the miles of uncrowned beaches and fantastic restaurants (The Annex will be your new favorite food hall with both established restaurants and upstarts in a cool incubator setting) and realize Oxnard is your new, affordable escape from LA.
Family-friendly yet sophisticated, the city is a mix of farmers and entrepreneurs. It’s a place that’s guaranteed to surprise…in an good bite-that-berry way. Stay at the Embassy Suites Mandalay Bay. It feels like a Hawaiian resort dropped next to the Oxnard beach. Ask them for chocolate-covered strawberries and sparkling wine because that never gets old, does it?!
A berry and hotel snob, I’ve converted and can’t wait to get back to the coast I just discovered after ten years in SoCal. In the meantime, Strawberry Crumb Cake will be my fix. Or strawberries in any form!
This mouthwatering variation on crumb cake comes from Chef Michelle Kenney from Southern California's strawberry capital, Oxnard. Serve it warm topped with vanilla ice cream for a decadent combination of flavors and textures.
- 3 pounds strawberries hulled and halved (8 cups)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 1/2 tablespoons of water
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon of Vanilla
- 1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons butter cubed and chilled
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 stick butter softened
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 350.
In a large bowl, toss the strawberries with the sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch slurry and vanilla seeds and let stand until the berries release some of their juices, about 30 minutes while you make the cake batter.
Pour the fruit filling into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish set on a sturdy baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, mix all of the ingredients with your fingers until a coarse meal forms; press into small clumps.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions.
Beat in the vanilla extract and scrape down the bowl.
Add the dry ingredients to the batter in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk.
Pour the batter evenly into your prepared baking dish and spoon the fruit on top, spreading it to the edge.
Sprinkle with the crumb topping.
Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling, the crumb topping is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
Transfer to a rack to cool slightly.
Serve the crumb cake warm. (Optional: top with vanilla ice cream.)
Store leftover cake in the refrigerator overnight.
Note:The fruit filling can also be made with a combination of blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.
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