Strawberry Jam Crumb Coffee Cake

Strawberry Jam Crumb Coffee Cake

 Is it necessary for a coffee cake to have some kind of streusel or crumb topping to be called coffee cake? I tend to think not, but with the exception of coffee cakes that are baked in bundt pans (and often have a layer of streusel running through them), it generally seems to be true. Untopped cakes can easily fall out of the coffee cake category and into some other class of cake. But regardless of whether crumb toppings are necessary, they are certainly delicious and it never hurts to have a generous amount of top of a coffee cake.

In this recipe, the cake itself has a tender, moist crumb thanks to the presence of sour cream in the batter. It features the well-balanced flavors of vanilla and butter, both of which complement coffee excellently. I topped it off with a large portion of crumb topping, which I clumped together as I sprinkled it onto the cake batter in an effort to ensure that every piece of cake had an equal – and large – amount of the topping. If the cake were baked with just these two elements, it would be a fairly standard, classic crumb cake. But I wanted to take it a step further and add an additional flavor: strawberry jam.

I chose a jam (from Trader Joe’s, if you’re curious) with large chunks of strawberries and spooned it onto the unbaked sour cream cake batter once I had spread it into the baking pan. I gently swirled some of it into the batter, being careful not to over mix and turn my swirl into strawberry cake batter. The crumbs went on top of the jam. I recommend lining the cake pan with aluminum foil to ensure that you can lift out the cake without too much of the crumb topping falling off when you go to serve it.

Once baked, the result was amazing. The cake was even moister and sweeter with the presence of the jam, and the chunks of fruit in the preserves lent a fantastic, colorful look to the cake. While it is on the sweet side, when served with a strong coffee the flavors balance out perfectly. Heck – even if you serve it with rich hot chocolate, I suspect people will be going back for seconds.

Strawberry Jam Crumb Coffee Cake, in the pan

Strawberry Jam Crumb Coffee Cake
Crumb Topping
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butter, melted

In a medium bowl, stir together dry topping ingredients until combined, then stir in melted butter until damp crumbs are formed and the mixture sticks together into chunks when you squeeze it between your fingers. Set aside.

Cake
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream (light is fine)
1/2 cup strawberry jam (not jelly, preferably with fruit chunks)

Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9-in square pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Lightly grease and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, followed by the eggs, adding them one at a time until mixture is smooth.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to sugar mixture, alternating with sour cream in two or three additions, until well blended. Batter will be quite thick. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
Stir jam in a small bowl until smooth and drop by spoonfuls onto the cake batter. Gently swirl through with a knife. Top with crumb mixture, clumping it by squeezing it between your fingers while you work and spreading it into as even a layer as possible.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
Serves 12.

16 comments

  1. One of the recent issues of gourmet had a recipe for a jam crumb cake, I ripped it out to add to the stack… your post has reinspired me, I might have to dig it out and put it on top! looks yummy, and the combinations are endless and I always have more jam then I know what to do with.

  2. Good idea for a Valentine’s brunch!

  3. This looks lovely really dense and sugary. I might have to make it the next time I have my friends round for coffee

  4. Im making this tomorrow, my daughter will love it, as well as I! Thanks so much

  5. I made this today and had a bit of a problem… it rose so much while it was still runny that the crumb ran together and sunk in the middle… any idea why that happened? For my second attempt, I added the crumb after about 20 min of baking. It turned out great, even though I know, you’re not supposed to open the door…

  6. Hi Kay. Sometimes this cake does sink a bit in the middle from the weight of the jam (especially if it has heavy fruit pieces) and the weight of the crumb topping, which inevitably seems to gather most in the middle of the cake, but it shouldn’t sink too much. I’d reduce the baking powder by 1/2 tsp if it happens again. Adding the crumbs during the middle of baking was a good idea, too. Don’t worry about opening the oven door. I do it all the time to check on things. As long as you don’t leave it open for a long time, it’ll be just fine.

    I should also note that, for me, if the cake has sunk to some degree it has still always been cooked through. So if this happens to anyone else, not to worry because it’s still perfectly tasty and you can’t tell if you cut the cake up to serve it.

  7. Okay, I looked at this recipe yesterday and then last night I had a dream that I made it. I forgot to add the crumble topping though! Hahaha..anyways, it looks yummy. :)

  8. Made this one two days ago… dropped some fresh strawberries over the jam layer and doubled the amount of crumb topping. Came out very nice and to my surprise not too sweet. This one’s a keeper… perfect treat in springtime.

    P.S.: If your cake sinks in the middle, most probably a) the batter had too much liquid in it or b) the ingredients didn’t have room-temperature (means while the outer side of the cake is baked through, the middle is still too cool to build up a solid texture).

  9. I will make it right this second,and I am sure my boys will love it. Thank u for this great recipe.

  10. This recipe was linked-to recently, I made this cake today and used Trader Joe’s rasberry jam instead since I had it on hand… delicious!

  11. Hi,
    How will the cake taste without the crumb topping?

  12. I made it today and it was delicious!!!!!! You should try it too! Thank you so much for the recipe

  13. I wonder, could you use yogurt instead of sour cream (what effects would it have) ?

  14. I made this the other day for my mom’s playdate group and it was a hit. I didn’t have a 9 inch sq pan and used my 9″ round baking dish and it worked great. I thought it was going to sink in the middle during the baking process but it didn;t afterall. I followed the directions to the tee. Thank you and I will be making it again!!

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