Strawberry Buckle with Ginger Crumb Topping

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I always seem to overlook fruit desserts. The siren song of chocolate bliss is hard to resist! But we’ve been having a fantastic sunny streak in the city, so I was inspired to bake something a little “lighter”. (In my world, desserts with fruit are instantly considered “light”.)

AND I WANTED CRUMB. I LOVE CRUMB.

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I love the idea of using ground ginger in the crumb topping rather than the usual cinnamon. It complements the strawberries wonderfully. I was a bit worried when making the cake because the batter was very thick and stiff. There was no way to “pour” the batter into pan – it was the consistency of a yeast bread dough! The cake portion came out with the heavy texture of a quick bread rather than a cake. It was still moist, but I would have liked it to be more tender. The cake wasn’t very sweet, but the sweetness was brought by the crumb topping.

The topping was sensational – it baked to a lovely golden brown and was super chunky and crisp. (Soggy crumb is a crime.) I hate it when crumb toppings or streusel don’t clump together well enough or adhere well to the cake so that when you cut the cake, the topping just tumbles right off. This topping holds on for dear life. I would definitely use the topping recipe again!

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Unlike most cakes that sink a bit while cooling, this one stays up impressively high, making for a thick crumb layer matched by a substantial cake layer bursting with soft, juicy strawberries.

This buckle (cousin to the cobbler, crumble, and coffee cake) travels well and would be great for a late spring picnic, BBQ, or tea party. It tastes just as good the next day, though a bit different. The topping is a little softer, but the cake is softer too – more cake-like and less bread-like, with a plush texture. I doubled the original recipe. My adapted recipe is below.

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Strawberry Buckle with Ginger Crumb Topping

4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1+1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk
4 cups diced strawberries

Topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1+1/3 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
2 teaspoons milk

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9×13 baking pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat to combine. Beat in 1/2 dry ingredients, followed by milk, followed by remaining dry ingredients. Stir in strawberries. Transfer batter into prepared pan and smooth top.
  3. Topping: In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, ginger, and salt and whisk to combine. Add cold butter and milk and cut into flour mixture until butter is incorporated. Mixture should have the texture of wet sand and hold together when pressed. Form mixture into small crumbs and scatter over top of buckle.
  4. Bake buckle until golden on top and a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.

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