Kick off summer with this lovely coffee cake studded with the fresh fruits of June. Slices of strawberries and rhubarb are baked in a sweet, moist cake topped with baked brown sugar. On a sunny weekend morning, a piece of this beautiful strawberry rhubarb coffee cake, a cup of coffee, and a chair on our porch are all I need for breakfast.
What I most like about this cake, besides the fact that it uses strawberries and rhubarb, is that it is both sweet and tart at the same time. The cake part is rich and sweet, while each bite has a burst of brightness to it because of the fruit. It makes a great breakfast treat and also works as an afternoon snack. I adapted the recipe for this strawberry rhubarb coffee cake from one of my favorite cookbooks, Cranbrook Reflections: A Culinary Collection. I mixed in strawberries instead of all rhubarb, and I skipped the glaze on top, since I personally like coffee cake without a glaze. This cake is plenty sweet without it, and the flavor of the fruits really shines.
My aunt and uncle have been so awesome to give me so much rhubarb from their yard to work with this past couple weeks! It is truly one of my favorite fruits to bake with, and we have enjoyed a couple of rhubarb pies and some strawberry rhubarb crisp in this house before this delicious strawberry rhubarb coffee cake. Honestly, I cannot say which is my favorite, because they are all good. And they all make me feel like summer has begun, even though the calendar says it won’t begin for another couple of weeks. My son had a soccer tournament on a small island in the Detroit River last weekend, and my daughter and I walked all over the island exploring. Spending the whole day watching soccer and exploring, all the while surrounded by water and fresh air, made me believe that summer is here.
It has been a crazy few weeks. This evening is the first evening in awhile that we will not have one or more events going on. My brain is a bit fried and I spilled a box of rice all over the pantry this morning. Who knew grains of rice could fly so far? It took awhile to sweep/vacuum those up! Anyway, I am looking forward to eating dinner on the porch and later, possibly watching Coco on Netflix. But amidst all the craziness, with all the end-of-the-year awards ceremonies and games, I have to say I am really proud of my kids and their classmates/teammates. Hard work pays off. It is so satisfying to see the positive results and rewards of hard work.
Everyone needs to rest sometimes though, and now I can see pockets of time when we can all relax. That is the beauty of summer–it is made for slowing down. I hope we can all have a chance to make some wishes
and take the quiet way home.
And to embrace and experience all that June has to offer, including coffee cakes made with fresh fruit! I hope you all have a great weekend! (These last two photos were taken by my son in our backyard).
Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake
- 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
- 1 and 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, just add a tablespoon of white vinegar to a cup of milk)
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 2 and 1/2 cups of all-purpose unbleached flour
- 2 cups of rhubarb, finely chopped
- 1 cup of strawberries, sliced
- 3/4 cup of brown sugar
Wash and slice your rhubarb and strawberries. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and the granulated sugar. Then add the egg, buttermilk, baking soda, vanilla, and salt. Stir well, until all the ingredients are combined. If the butter is too chunky, I use a hand mixer (or you could use an electric one), to break it down and smooth out the batter. Gradually stir in the flour. When the flour is incorporated, fold in the rhubarb and strawberries. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the brown sugar. Bake in your 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until the cake is lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for a few minutes before cutting and serving it. Enjoy!