Wanting to make a good first impression is what actually led me to the finished recipe.
We moved to a new house 2 weeks ago and I wanted to introduce myself to the neighbors bearing a treat. Well, since strawberries are in season I decided to try making a strawberry coffee cake. I'd made tradition cinnamon coffee cake many times before so incorporating a little strawberry jam I thought should be easy enough. Wrong! It took me 3 tries before I was satisfied with the finished product. Normally I'm not such a perfectionist when it comes to cooking/baking, however, this was going to be the first impression my neighbors were going to have of the food blogger who just moved in next door. It had to not only taste good but looked good as well.
Here is a quick summary of the morphing of this recipe over my 3 baking attempts - I changed the size and shape of the baking dish, added store bought bought strawberry jam to my homemade one, added a cream cheese mixture, changed the sequence of the layers, changed the nuts in the topping from walnuts to sliced almonds, lastly added a sprinkling of sugar to the top.
Finally, ready for it's introduction! Nice to meet you "Strawberry Cream Cheese Cake" - You sure are sweet, decadent and delicious!
I'm glad I made the extra effort to perfect this cake because not only is it going to be my neighbors first impression of my baking skills, but it's also going to be yours, the readers, as this is officially my first sweet recipe post.
Note: I initially used all homemade strawberry jam but after the first bake, I decided to add store bought to it, because the color of my jam needed some help. You can use all store bought for this recipe, and you can try other flavors. I'm thinking I might try orange marmalade next - yum!
Strawberry Cream Cheese Cake
- 2 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, separated
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sour cream (or, plain Greek yogurt)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Filling
- 1 - 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup homemade strawberry jam
- 1/2 cup store-bought strawberry jam/preserve
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees With baking spray cover well a 9 x 13 dish.
With a pastry cutter, or two dinner knives, combine the flour, sugar and cubed butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Remove 1 cup of the mixture that will be used for the topping and set aside in fridge to stay cool. To the remaining flour mixture add the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir to distribute.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, egg, almond extract and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and mix together with hand mixer, or I even just used a wooden spoon, until well combined. The batter will be thick and sticky.
This is where the extra 1 tablespoon of flour comes in. I had a heck of a time trying to spread this batter out in the pan. I used a silicon spatula, I used cooking spray and water on my hands - it was a mess. Then luckily I was watching an Ina Garten show and she said to flour your finger tips when handling wet dough. It worked like a charm!
Distribute the batter as evenly as you can around the pan. Then with floured fingers pat and cover bottom and up the sides about 1 inch, being careful not to have the dough too thick in the corners.
Next, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg until smooth. Spread the cream cheese evenly over the dough.
The easiest way I found to spread the jam over the cream cheese is using a spoon and placing dollops all around, then using the back of the spoon carefully spread out the dollops. The jam does not need to completely cover the cream cheese.
Remove the reserved 1 cup flour mixture from fridge and mix in almonds. Sprinkle over the top of the jam.
Bake for 30 minutes, remove pan rotate and sprinkle top with 1 tablespoon sugar. Continue baking additional 30 minutes or until the tip of an inserted knife comes out with no cake batter on it. The jam and cream cheese might look a little loose but will set up when cooled. Cool completely in pan before serving.
My Quick Jam Recipe:
- 3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon pat of butter
In a large/wide skillet bring to a boil all ingredients over medium high heat, reduce to simmer and cook until slightly thickened, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Will take about 15 minutes. Cool and refrigerate.