This buttery, bright Strawberry Lemon-Ricotta Crumb Cake features a layer of fresh sliced strawberries, a crumbly streusel topping, and a drizzle of sweet glaze atop a moist lemon cake. Serve it for an elegant breakfast, brunch, or dessert, and make lemon-lovers out of everyone who takes a bite.
- A Bright And Tangy Spring Dessert
- Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- The Ingredients
- Shop This Post
- How to Make Strawberry Lemon-Ricotta Crumb Cake
- More FAQs
A BRIGHT AND TANGY SPRING DESSERT
Maybe maturing is realizing that fruit-flavored desserts are the most undeserving underdogs of all the sweets.
I think I personally had my "aha moment" earlier than most-- in my early 20s, when I first tried Italian Lemon Ricotta Cake at a brunch get-together. It was bright, tangy, and bursting with flavor, but not at all too overwhelming for a morning treat with coffee (or, to be honest, mimosas).
And it was the catalyst for an entire lemon obsession. In fact, just days later I decided to try my hand at Honey Lemon Chiffon Pie, which became just one of the lemon desserts to have me in a citrus-flavored chokehold. I mean, who can resist Lemon Sugar Cookies (my absolute favorites) or Gooey Lemon Bars, right?
So when, years later, I found myself brainstorming ideas of recipes to bring to Easter brunch, it should be no surprise that the moist and tender-crumbed lemon cake popped back into my mind. But this time, I thought, why not try to combine it with another beloved brunch-appropriate cake? And heck, why not add in some more seasonal fruit-- sweet strawberries-- which pair amazingly with bright lemon and are a favorite for breakfast treats? I'd start with a rich lemon ricotta base, layer over slices of fresh strawberries, top it with a coffee-cake-style streusel, and finish with a lightly lemon and vanilla flavored glaze to tie it all together. It sounds delicious, and let me tell you, the manifestation of that idea DID. NOT. DISAPPOINT.
This Strawberry Lemon-Ricotta Crumb Cake might be my new favorite.
WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
There are lots of things to love about this recipe, from the rich flavor and texture to the fact that you'll feel like a pro when you whip it up. But here are the highlights:
- EASY TO MAKE. There might seem like a lot of components here-- the streusel, the cake, the strawberry layer, and the glaze-- but each is forgiving and quick to put together. With simple ingredients and techniques, this recipe is accessible for any level of baker.
- PERFECT FOR ANY OCCASION. This cake can be enjoyed for breakfast, brunch, or dessert, making it a versatile addition to any event.
- BURSTING WITH FLAVOR. From the tangy lemon to the sweet strawberry and crunchy streusel, every bite is full of flavor.
ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS
Get your ingredients together before baking so there's no waiting around-- the lemon juice in this Strawberry Crumb Cake recipe will activate the leavening agents so you don't want it to sit too long in-between steps! Luckily the recipe is easy as pie. Well, easy as cake, I guess. Here's all you need:
- All-purpose flour: No need for fancy flours for this recipe, just grab the AP flour from the cabinet (or canister) and use it in both the base and the streusel.
- Baking powder and baking soda: These leavening agents are used to help the cake rise and create a tender crumb. Using both also helps with a tangy texture and browned appearance to the cake!
- Salt: Salt seems like a strange thing to add to sweets, but it is a necessary component in baking! It also balances and brings out the natural flavors of the cake.
- Unsalted butter: We use butter in this cake to lend richness and flavor to the cake batter and streusel. Using unsalted butter gives you more control over the amount of salt in the recipe.
- Granulated sugar, brown sugar, and powdered sugar: Granulated sugar is used in both the base of the cake and the streusel for sweetness, and we also add in some brown sugar for deeper flavor and color in the streusel. Powdered sugar (also called confectionary sugar) is more finely powdered, so it is ideal for making the glazed topping.
- Eggs: Eggs add structure and richness to the cake batter. But make sure they're room temperature-- using cold eggs can encourage your batter to curdle too much!
- Ricotta cheese: Ricotta cheese is an unusual addition to cake, but it makes it extremely tender and moist while also adding a lot of richness. There's almost a very subtle cheesecake-like flavor you get from the ricotta!
- Lemon juice and zest: Count on lemon juice and zest to add bright and tangy flavor that complements the sweetness of the strawberries and streusel.
- Vanilla extract: Vanilla is another flavor enhancer that will round out the flavors of the cake (and its fruity components). Add it to both the base and the glaze for the most delicious results.
- Strawberries: A thin layer of sliced strawberries packs a surprisingly large strawberry-flavored punch! The juices from the strawberries seep into the cake as it bakes, and the strawberries themselves become jammy and delicious without any sort of pre-cooking required.
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Frieling Tin-Plated 9" Springform PanBuy Now →
HOW TO MAKE STRAWBERRY LEMON-RICOTTA CRUMB CAKE
Baking a cake with a lot of components can seem intimidating, but this one, which has no layers, no crumb coats, no frosting, etc. really comes together much more easily than you'd expect! It all comes down to just 4 main steps:
- PREPARE THE CAKE: Preheat your oven and prepare a cake pan. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, then cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl or stand mixer. Add the wet ingredients to the creamed butter mixture, and then slowly pour in the dry ingredients to combine. Don't overmix!
- MAKE THE STREUSEL: Mix together flour, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Pour in melted butter and stir with a fork until coarse crumbs form. Feel free to use your fingers to work any excess flour in and break apart large clumps.
- ASSEMBLE AND BAKE: Spoon the cake batter into the prepared cake pan. Top with sliced strawberries. The strawberries can overlap, but try not to make the layer too thick as it can impede rising in the oven. Top with the streusel, and then bake until the cake is golden and set.
- DRIZZLE AND DECORATE: As the cake cools, whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract to make the glaze. Drizzle over the cooled cake and top with strawberries and edible flowers (if desired) to garnish!
MORE STRAWBERRY CRUMB CAKE FAQS
Q: Can I use frozen strawberries instead of fresh ones?
A: Yes, you can use frozen strawberries instead of fresh ones. Just make sure to thaw them first and drain any excess liquid before using them in the recipe.
Q: Can I use jelly or jam in this recipe?
A: Yes, feel free to swirl in strawberry (or other-flavored) jam instead of, or in addition to, the fresh berries in your Strawberry Lemon-Ricotta Crumb Cake!
Q: Can I use a different type of fruit for the fruit layer?
A: Yes, you can use other types of fruit below the streusel, such as blueberries, cherries, raspberries, peaches, or blackberries.
Q: Can I make the cake ahead of time?
A: Yes, you can make the cake ahead of time and store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. You can also freeze the cake for up to 1 month.
Q: Can I skip the glaze?
A: Yes, you can skip the glaze if you prefer. The cake is delicious on its own or with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Strawberry Lemon-Ricotta Crumb Cake
- Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
For the cake batter:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice + 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8-10 strawberries, sliced, plus more to garnish
For the streusel:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
For the lemon-vanilla glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Prepare the cake: Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9-inch round springform pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. To make the cake batter, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, massage together the sugar and lemon zest until sandy in texture and the sugar becomes a light yellow. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until well combined. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and vanilla extract to the butter mixture, then gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Be sure not to overmix.
- Make the streusel: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar, and melted butter until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.
- Assemble and bake: Spoon the cake batter into the prepared springform pan. layer sliced strawberries over the cake batter. Sprinkle the streusel over the top of the strawberries to fully cover. (You may wind up having a little extra!) Bake for 45 minutes, then tent with foil and continue to bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 more minutes. Let cool completely in the springform pan.
- Drizzle and serve: As the cake cools, whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth. Remove the Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake, garnish with extra strawberries, then slice and serve.
Frieling Tin-Plated 9" Springform PanBuy Now →
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 70 mins
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