This strawberry crumb cake is the ultimate summer dessert! The combination of moist vanilla cake, strawberry jam, and buttery crumb topping will have you coming back for seconds (and maybe even thirds).
If you love crumb cakes, try my rhubarb crumb cake next!
I'm so ready for strawberry season. I can't wait to make all the strawberry desserts, like strawberry mousse, strawberry vanilla cake, and this strawberry crumb cake!
This crumb cake is not like your typical coffee cake. It has a soft, moist, yet slightly dense vanilla cake base. Strawberry cake filling is spread over the batter and a buttery, crunchy crumble is sprinkled on top.
Top it with fresh strawberries and whipped cream for the perfect Spring and Summer dessert! Heck, you can even have it for breakfast if you want.
The thing I absolutely love about this recipe is how easy it is to make! Seriously, with just a handful of ingredients, you can create a beautiful and impressive dessert that's perfect for summer picnics, brunches, or any occasion that calls for something sweet and fruity. The crumbly topping and juicy strawberries make it look like you spent hours in the kitchen when in reality, it's a breeze to put together!
Here are some notes about the ingredients used. For quantities and the full instructions, see the recipe card below.
- All purpose flour- I usually use cake flour in vanilla layer cakes to make them light and airy. However, I chose to use AP flour in this cake to make it a little more moist, hearty, and dense.
- Granulated sugar- White sugar not only sweetens the batter but helps retain moisture. It's also used to sweeten the crumble.
- Brown sugar- Light or dark brown sugar adds depth, moisture, and sweetness to the crumble.
- Unsalted butter- Unsalted butter is needed in the cake and crumble for flavor and richness. For the cake, make sure it's softened so it mixes in easily. It'll be cool to the touch and easy to indent with your finger. Melted butter is used for the crumble because it gives a crisp texture. Use unsalted butter in both for optimal flavor control.
- Baking powder- This leavener helps the cake rise by adding air bubbles. Make sure it isn't expired and don't substitute baking soda since it's much stronger.
- Salt- Incorporate salt to avoid a cloyingly sweet cake. Your options are finely ground sea salt, Kosher salt, or pink Himalayan salt. If your salt is coarse, add an extra ¼ teaspoon.
- Eggs- Two large eggs add moisture and richness while binding the ingredients together. Make sure they're room temperature so they mix in easily.
- Vanilla extract- Vanilla rounds out the cake's flavor profile and enhances the other flavors.
- Buttermilk- Buttermilk might be my favorite ingredient to bake with. It adds a tangy flavor while its acid tenderizes the gluten. Using it results in a soft, fluffy cake!
- Strawberry jam- Homemade or store-bought jam both work. You can use strawberry compote or cake filling too. Use whatever tastes the best to you!
- All purpose flour: Use Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour to make this cake gluten free.
- Unsalted butter: No worries if you only have salted butter! Just leave out the extra salt in the recipe.
- Buttermilk: Substitute plain kefir, plain Greek yogurt, or sour cream for buttermilk at a 1:1 ratio. You can make your own buttermilk by combining ½ cup of whole milk with 1 ½ teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice. Just let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes and it's ready to go.
- Strawberry jam: Not a strawberry fan? No problem! You can make this crumb cake with a variety of fruit compotes, like blueberry, cherry, raspberry, or blackberry.
Helpful Equipment & Tools
- You'll need a 9x9" square baking pan. Make sure it's metal rather than glass or silicone since they don't heat up evenly and can cause your cake to burn. If your pan isn't non-stick, don't forget to spray it with baking spray before lining with parchment paper.
- An electric hand mixer is needed for making the cake batter. You can also make it with a stand mixer.
Step by Step Instructions
Here are the steps to make the strawberry crumble cake. Before you start, butter and line a 9x9" square baking pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
STEP 1: In a medium mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and flour with a fork or whisk until the mixture is crumbly. Place it in the fridge to chill until you're ready to use it.
STEP 2: Pour the all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Give it a quick mix with a hand mixer on low to evenly distribute the ingredients.
STEP 3: Next, add the softened butter to the dry ingredients. Beat the mixture on low for about 5 minutes or until it looks like wet sand. This is called the reverse creaming method, and it keeps the gluten from getting overdeveloped, resulting in a tender texture.
STEP 4: Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined. Then, stream in the buttermilk and mix on medium speed until combined.
STEP 5: Spread the cake batter into the square baking pan. Then spread a layer of strawberry jam on top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, being careful not to press it into the batter.
STEP 6: Generously sprinkle the crumble on top of the jam. Bake the cake for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with a few moist crumbs. Let it cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, then remove it from the pan and let cool completely on the rack. Slice, dust with powdered sugar, and enjoy!
Expert Baking Tips
- Use a kitchen scale. For the most accurate results, measure the ingredients in grams with a food scale instead of using cup measurements.
- Use room temperature ingredients. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature before you start baking. This helps them incorporate evenly and results in a smoother batter.
- Don't overmix the batter. Overmixing can make the cake tough and dense. Mix the ingredients until just combined to ensure a tender and moist cake.
- Chill the crumb topping. Chill the crumb topping in the fridge for at least 10 minutes before sprinkling it over the cake batter. This will help it hold its shape and prevent it from melting into the cake.
- Don't skimp on the crumble! The crumb topping is what makes this cake so delicious, so be generous with it!
Additions & Variations
Here are a few ingredients you can add to the cake or crumble for some extra flavor.
- Lemon zest: Add some lemon zest to the cake batter to give it a bright citrus flavor that pairs well with sweet strawberries.
- Almond extract: A small amount of almond extract can add a subtle nutty flavor that complements the strawberries nicely.
- Cinnamon: A pinch of cinnamon in the crumb topping gives the cake a warm, cozy flavor.
Storage & Freezing
Leftover strawberry crumb cake can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days, either wrapped in plastic or in an airtight container. I don't recommend storing it in the refrigerator because it can make the cake dry and the crumble soggy.
Freeze cut slices in a sealed, freezer-safe container for up to 1 month. Let it thaw on the counter for a few hours or in the fridge overnight.
Frequently Asked Questions
You unfortunately can't! I created and tested this recipe using strawberry cake filling, so only a similar thick jam or compote will work.
You sure can! Any kind of jam or filling will work for this cake, including raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, currant, and more.
Yes! You can use an 8x8" pan or 9x13" baking dish. If you use a 9x13" pan, I'd probably double the recipe so it isn't super thin.
More Cakes to Try
Strawberry Crumb Cake
For the Crumb
- 56 grams unsalted butter melted
- 60 grams granulated sugar
- 35 grams brown sugar light or dark
- 70 grams all purpose flour
For the Cake
- 180 grams all purpose flour
- 200 grams granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 150 grams unsalted butter softened
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 120 grams buttermilk room temperature
- 250 grams strawberry filling compote or jam
- Lightly butter a square 9x9 baking pan and line it with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
For the Crumb
- Combine the melted butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and flour in a medium bowl until the mixture is crumbly. Place it in the fridge to chill.56 grams unsalted butter, 60 grams granulated sugar, 35 grams brown sugar, 70 grams all purpose flour
For the Cake
- Whisk the all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large mixing bowl.180 grams all purpose flour, 200 grams granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Add the softened butter to the dry ingredients and beat on low with a hand mixer until it looks like wet sand.150 grams unsalted butter
- With the mixer running on low, add the eggs and vanilla. Then, stream in the buttermilk, mixing on medium speed until well combined.2 large eggs, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 120 grams buttermilk
- Spread the cake batter into the prepared baking pan evenly. Then spread an even layer of strawberry filling on top. Next, generously sprinkle the crumble on top.250 grams strawberry filling
- Bake for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then remove it from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar, slice, and enjoy!
- Use a kitchen scale. For the accuracy, measure the ingredients in grams instead of using cup measurements.
- Use room temperature ingredients. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before you start baking. This results in a smoother batter.
- Don't overmix the batter. Overmixing can make the cake tough and dense.
- Chill the crumb topping. Chill the crumb topping in the fridge for at least 10 minutes before sprinkling over the cake batter.
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