Fresh Cherry Crumb Bars Recipe

This recipe can really be described in just a few words: fresh, sweet cherries, buttery crumb cake, and a hint of almond. It’s sort of a multi-occasion treat – served best warm, or cold, or for breakfast, or for a mid-day snack, or even for dessert… and probably amazing with fresh whipped cream, although I didn’t think to make any before we cleaned out the entire pan. (Twice… I’ve made this two times in the month of July already, it’s that good!)

 

Fresh Cherry Crumb Bars

If I were to change anything else, I’d probably sprinkle sliced almonds onto the top layer of the batter before putting it in the oven. I did add a little splash of vanilla extract and almond extract to the cherry filling,, which wasn’t called for in the recipe but was something I felt it needed. I also omitted the orange zest, as we had fresh squeezed OJ but no zest.

 

Fresh Cherry Crumb Bars plated

Fresh Cherry Crumb Bars

Recipe found on Bakeaholic
Yield: 30 1 1/2 inch Bars

Crust and Topping
1/2 cup brown, packed
1/2 cup white
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of one orange
Cherry Filling
4 cups cherries, pitted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
Zest and juice of one orange

*splash of vanilla extract and almond extract (about 1/2 tsp. each) Optional, but I liked the addition

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 inch pan.

In a large bowl (or food processor), stir together 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and orange zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter (or pulse mixture if using food processor) to blend in the butter and egg. [I used my hands to gently mix. It was more fun, and achieved the same consistency.] Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

In another bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, juice and zest of one orange , *and extracts, if using. Gently mix in the cherries. Sprinkle the cherry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

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Summer Strawberry Cake

Designing collections essentially means that you’re always thinking at least a full season ahead..usually 6 months or more! This happens so often, that I sometimes forget to live at least a little bit in the season we’re in right this moment.

Not wanting summer to completely pass me by without notice, I took advantage of the beautiful weather and went strawberry picking with my guy. I’ve been wanting to do this since May; needless to say, it was long overdue! We packed a lunch and headed west towards Highway 1, to Swanton Berry Farm in Pescadero – a cute little town along the California coast.  Swanton’s has two strawberry fields to choose from. One field is north of the farmstand, and overlooks the ocean. The second field is adjacent to the farmstand itself. We chose the field overlooking the Pacific. Wouldn’t you?

Sadly, I didn’t remember to bring my camera, but we did get a couple of pics on the cell phone.

 

These berries have a pretty amazing view, don’t you think?

Swanton Berry Farm northern field

 

Pretty little strawberry blossoms..

Strawberry flowers

 

We ended up coming home with 6 pounds of strawberries! Not wasting any time, this weekend I made a batch of strawberry jam, strawberry butter, and strawberry cake. We’ll be having strawberries on our salad today, and will freeze the remaining berries for using later on. (Maybe strawberry rhubarb jam?)

The strawberry cake:

Slice of Strawberry CakeTopped with a dusting of powdered sugar..

Strawberry CakeFull cake!

Strawberry Cake close upClose-up – Yum!

My only regret is that we did not have any vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream. Darn. This recipe was ideal, because it only makes one pan of cake – perfect for two people! (Or four, if you feel like sharing…) Here’s the recipe, courtesy of Martha Stewart’s website:

Strawberry Cake

Martha Stewart Living, June 2005

  • Yield Makes one 10-inch cake

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pie plate
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch pie plate. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl.
  2. Put butter and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low; mix in egg, milk, and vanilla.
  3. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Transfer batter to buttered pie plate. Arrange strawberries on top of batter, cut sides down and as close together as possible. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.
  4. Bake cake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake until cake is golden brown and firm to the touch, about 1 hour. Let cool in pie plate on a wire rack. Cut into wedges. Cake can be stored at room temperature, loosely covered, up to 2 days.