strawberry jam crumb coffee cake

strawberry jam crumb coffee cake

i’m usually the type who needs to get all the work done and out of the way before truly being able to relax. on a typical weeknight, i’ll drive home from school and get going on my checklist: send last work emails, feed dogs, walk dogs, exercise (maybe) and shower before finally getting myself to sit down, eat, and unwind. but today, i heard this: go slow. pay attention.

the porch was so inviting today. the light so soft, this spring evening air so cool and so gentle after the heat wave of last week. so i did things out of order. i sliced off a thick square of this crumb cake, brought out a cup of milky tea, and sat with the evening light until it started to fade and i thought i saw the first of the mosquitoes.

how many more days do we have like this? how many other breaths will come this sweet, this easy? it’s hard to say, and maybe better not to know. instead, i’ll try to remember today’s lesson: every once in a while, go slow; pay attention.    

Strawberry Jam Crumb Coffee Cake
Adapted from Baking Bites
Makes 9-12 servings

Crumb Topping
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

A pinch of salt

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
In a medium bowl, stir together dry topping ingredients until combined, then stir in melted butter until damp crumbs are formed and the mixture sticks together into chunks when you squeeze it between your fingers. Set aside.
¾ cup sugar

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 cup sour cream (light is fine)
½ cup strawberry jam, melted and stirred until smooth

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9-in square pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Lightly grease and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, followed by the eggs, adding them one at a time until mixture is smooth.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to sugar mixture, alternating with sour cream in two or three additions, until well blended. Batter will be quite thick.
  4. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
Stir jam in a small bowl until smooth and drop by spoonfuls onto the cake batter. Gently swirl through with a knife. Top with crumb mixture, clumping it by squeezing it between your fingers while you work and spreading it into as even a layer as possible.

  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

ready for the mess

it’s been so many damn years since my last relationship that even if my personal growth weren’t enough, the sheer amount of time would’ve done the trick — it’s history.

but to hear this song after this movie was like someone taking me by the wrist and leading me back, just for a short visit, to that time. to my young, new, raw self, just learning how it’s possible to hope and to walk away at the same time.


i loved it. i love how one movie and one song can shovel under all the progress i’ve made, undo it all just for a sweet miserable moment, long enough for me to remember the taste of that specific grief, the dismantling, the mess.

and then to remind myself: i know how to put it all back.