Sunday, 19 January 2014

Strawberry Vanilla Coffee Cake

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I know I always mention how it's been so so long since my last blog post but this time really takes the cake (heh). It's been two months! I have my reasons. While I have been cooking and baking just as often as usual, I am rarely documenting it, because of how busy my life has become. Let me explain:

I am currently working full time, dog-sitting, taking two university courses online, just finished applying to five grad schools, have taken up hot yoga twice a week, and am also trying to maintain some resemblance of a social life. I think so far I am succeeding admirably, and to be honest- I do enjoy my life this way. I like filling every minute with being productive, whether that means memorizing all the bones of the human body for a test or baking a cake. I strive to be productive every day, and I feel like I need to be to feel accomplished after a day, or a week. So cheers to a busy schedule.

Today, however productive, has not been filled with the usual school work. In fact, my coffee shop friends are probably confused as to why they don't see me hunkered over my laptop for eight hours today. But sometimes your brain just needs these breaks. So cheers to breaks as well, and cheers to cake breaks specifically.

I took this recipe from Averie Cooks, and made a couple slight adaptations. Overall, it is very simple and very adaptable to suit your needs & cravings. I used strawberries, as did the original recipe, but I suggest (and so does she) that you could also use any other type of fruit you'd like, or a mixture. Blueberries, raspberries, peaches, etc. would taste great in this. I also recommend sprucing it up a bit with some vanilla bean if you have any kicking around. I'm all out, but otherwise I would have.

For the Cake
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour*
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream** 
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups frozen or fresh strawberries, halved and loosely packed
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar, for sprinkling

*Modification: The original recipe only called for one cup of flour, but the batter seemed too soupy to me, so I added 1/3 cup more.
**Modification: I used full-fat vanilla greek yogurt.

For the Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze
about 3 ounces (about 1/3 cup) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar OR about 1 cup confectioners' sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan; set aside.
  2. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and hand mixer), combine dry ingredients until well mixed, add all wet ingredients except fruit. Mix on medium speed for 1-2 min. Scrape down sides of the bowl and continue to mix until well incorporated. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
  3. Arrange strawberry slices uniformly over the top of batter (looks like a lot but they sink down and shrivel while baking).
  4. Evenly sprinkle with 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar.
  5. Bake at 400F for 30 minutes.
  6. Lower the temp to 375F and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until cake is golden and is set in the centre (use a toothpick or knife to ensure the batter is not wet still)
  7. Allow cake to cool in pan for about 10 minutes before removing from pan and turning out onto a rack to cool completely. While the cake cools, make the glaze.
  8. For the Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze - Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and beat until smooth, either with a whisk or a mixer. 
  9. Drizzle glaze over cake in big ribbons, going up and back, over the surface. I did this, and then ate what remained with a spoon- trust me, you will too.