I have often used strawberries on top of a pastry base but can’t recall baking with them so I was intrigued as to how they would taste in this recipe. The short answer is: delicious!
As the cake bakes for a long time at a medium heat the strawberries break down into a fruity, syrupy consistency that creates an almost ripple-like effect in the cake. The flavour also intensifies to such a degree that they were similar to very sweet rhubarb. I now understand why rhubarb and strawberries are seen as a classic combination. This slice was photographed the day the cake was made – you can see how some strawberries retained their shape, whereas others collapsed into syrupy goodness:
The next day, the cake firmed up and became almost scone-like:
The crumble topping adds a delicious light, crumbly, biscuity crust to the surface which is lovely to push your fork through.
You can serve this warm with custard but I went for room temperature with clotted cream. I mean – come on! Strawberries have to be served with cream...we’re in England for goodness sake!
For the crumble topping:
40g plain flour
50g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
95g soft brown sugar
For the cake:
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g self raising flour
225g caster sugar
375g strawberries, washed and hulled, halve any large ones
How to make:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Line one 20cm loose bottomed square tin with baking paper.
- Start by making the crumble topping: rub the butter into the flour until you have the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.
- Stir in the sugar.
- I then put the crumble in the fridge until needed as this stops it becoming soft and retains the lovely crumb texture.
- Put the butter, eggs and buttermilk into the food processor and blitz until smooth and well combined.
- Add the flour and sugar and blitz again until well mixed.
- Transfer all the mixture into a large mixing bowl and gently stir in the strawberries.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and sprinkle the crumble over the top.
- Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out cleanly. Mine took 55 minutes.
- Leave to cool in the tin before removing as the strawberries make the cake quite fragile when warm.
- Serve either warm with custard/ice cream or at room temperature with your choice of cream.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.