Howd you like to have a cake recipe on file that is your go-to people-pleaser? This fabulous streusel cake recipe can be adapted to suit the ingredients you have on hand and the palates of those you are serving.
You can use nearly any fruit such as frozen or fresh berries; chopped apples, peaches or pears; dried fruits like raisins, apricots or figs; or even drained, canned fruit in a pinch. For any variation, use 1 - 1½ cups of fruit use the lesser amount of dried fruit because its so sweet.
You can add dry ingredients to the cake or the topping, such as coconut or nuts. And you can flavour the cake base with citrus zest or the extract of your choice to make wonderful flavour combinations. For instance, try:
Lemon-blueberry-almond: Add 1/2 tsp lemon extract to the cake, blueberries in the middle and sliced almonds in the streusel topping (make sure what you add to the streusel is unsweetened, or it will brown too quickly and burn).
Apricot-coconut: Add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract in the base, chopped dried apricots in the middle and unsweetened coconut in the topping.
Apple cinnamon-pecan: Add a few drops of almond extract to the cake, chopped apples and 2 tsp ground cinnamon in the middle, and chopped pecans in the streusel.
Or, try out our personal favourite, below.
Orange Partridgeberry Streusel Cake
(serves 12 -14)
1½ cups partridgeberries (if frozen, thaw and drain off liquid)
1 tbsp flour
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, cold from the fridge, cut into one-inch cubes
3/4 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
1½ cups sugar
Zest of one orange
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1½ cups flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup sour cream (or plain yogurt)
Juice of the orange you zested
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 11-inch springform pan (lining with parchment is a great idea to keep fruit and streusel topping from sticking).
Toss berries (fresh or thawed and drained) with 1 tbsp flour. Set aside.
Make the streusel topping: This is easiest in a food processor, but can be cut in by hand. Place flour and cinnamon in food processor; pulse to combine. Add cubes of cold butter and pulse until it resembles coarse meal or small peas. If doing by hand, cut butter into flour-cinnamon mixture with a fork or pastry blender. Set aside.
Make the cake base: With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and orange zest until light. Add vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, creaming in between; beat until fluffy.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Measure the sour cream into a measuring cup and stir in the juice of the orange you zested earlier.
On low speed, add the flour mixture and sour cream mixture to the butter mixture, alternating dry and wet, mixing in between. Mix in one-third of the flour; half the sour cream; another third of the flour; remaining sour cream; remaining flour. Dont overbeat. Just combine so there are no patches of flour.
Transfer batter to the springform and top evenly with berries. Bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes. The cake will not be done but beginning to set. If really wet or wobbly, continue baking another 5 minutes. Then sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the cake and continue baking another 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Allow to cool a bit in the pan, then remove to a serving platter. Delicious served warm with whipped cream or ice cream (also nice at room temperature). You can make it ahead and heat slices in the microwave about 45 seconds before serving.
Handy kitchen hint: Streusel has many baking uses. Make a big batch and freeze it in a resealable freezer bag. Then use it sometime as a pie topper, or to sprinkle over muffins before baking.