He steps warily over boxes and scraps of paper as he navigates around the room. His eyes track from the sink full of dirty dishes to the pot on the stove filled with some kind of white crystalline concoction and then over to the oven door covered with red sticky stuff. Paint brushes, bottles of paint, and scraps of bunched-up dirty paper towels litter the dark granite countertop. He hears a sound and immediately turns towards it. Suspiciously, he eyes a bedraggled stranger sitting on the family room sofa. “What have you done with my wife?” he demands of the stranger. With hair jutting out at awkward angles and a face covered with smudges, the stranger casts a stern look at him and shouts back, “What?!! Bloggers have bad days, too!”
Needless to say, some of my projects did not go very smoothly today. I won’t bore you with the whole story, but let me just say that my completed craft project looked like a kindergarten student made it and I made more than one mistake when making the coffee cake! After getting back on track with the recipe, all was well again until the coffee cake rose over the top of the pan and heaved big globs of sticky fruit sauce imbedded with streusel chunks all over my oven racks. But despite all that happened today, this Strawberry-Rhubarb Coffee Cake AKA Bad Day Coffee Cake turned out perfectly delicious!
Strawberry-Rhubarb Coffee Cake
Recipe developed by Emily Donahue for Rosey’s Coffee and Tea in Hanover, New Hampshire, and featured in Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine.
1¼ cups chilled unsalted butter, plus more, softened, for pan
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/3 cup cornstarch
2¾ cups sugar
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
1½ pounds rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a 9-by-12-by-3-inch baking pan with butter, and set aside. Make fruit sauce: Combine lemon juice, cornstarch, and 1 cup sugar in a medium saucepan. Add strawberries and rhubarb; cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until rhubarb is soft and liquid has thickened, 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; let cool.
2. Make the crumb topping: Combine 3/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cup flour in a medium bowl. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Drizzle butter over flour mixture; using your hands, mix until crumbly. Set aside.
3. Make cake batter: Whisk together remaining 3 cups flour and 1 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife or two forks, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Pour into flour mixture; stir to combine.
4. Spread half the cake batter evenly into the prepared pan. Top with half the fruit sauce. Carefully spread the remaining batter over the fruit, and top with the remaining fruit sauce. Sprinkle with the crumb topping.
5. Bake until cake is golden brown and springs back when touched in the center, about one hour. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into squares.
1. Please note that there is divided use of the sugar, flour, and butter!
2. The fruit sauce thickens quickly. Keep stirring, but continue to cook it long enough to allow the strawberries and rhubarb to soften and release juices.
3. I melted the butter in a glass measuring cup in the microwave.
4. The next time I make this, I will place a parchment paper-lined pan under the baking dish to catch the globs of fruit and streusel that spill over!