Cinnamon Coffee Cake with Roasted Strawberries and Streusel
April 29, 2021
Coffee cake is one of those breakfast dishes that I could probably eat every single day and never get tired of. I mean, come on, cake for breakfast? Umm, yes please. Then add on a streusel topping and jammy fruit. I am sold. In this version, enjoy moist cinnamon coffee cake, smothered with a layer of roasted strawberries and crumbly streusel.
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If you’ve never tried roasted strawberries before, then you are in for a real treat. These are already one of my favorite fruits, but the heat of the oven just brings out all their sugary goodness. I add a little extra sugar, so it’s more like a jam on top of this coffee cake.
And of course, what is a coffee cake without streusel? It’s one of the easiest things to make, and it can take all kinds of baked goods to the next level. No one can resist a crumbly pocket of sweet, cinnamon goodness.
What You Need to Get Started
You can easily find all of the ingredients for this roasted strawberry streusel coffee cake at your grocery store:
- Produce: Strawberries
- Pantry: Sugar, All-purpose flour, White whole wheat flour, Cornstarch, Baking soda, Brown sugar
- Spice Rack: Cinnamon, Cream of tartar, Salt
- Fridge: Butter, Egg, Milk
- Equipment: 9×13 Baking pan, 8×8 Baking pan, Parchment paper, Whisk, Mixing bowls
How to Make Roasted Strawberries
The first thing you will want to do when making this recipe is roast the strawberries. Luckily, they roast at the same temperature the cake bakes at, so no messing around with the oven. That makes this cake come together pretty quickly and easily. Get started by preheating your oven.
Depending on the size of your berries, you will want to cut them differently. First, hull all of them, either by simply slicing off the tops, or scooping out the hulls. Then halve the smaller berries, anything under and inch and a half wide. For the larger ones, you will want to quarter them.
Arrange the strawberries in a single layer in a roasting pan. They should fit nicely but snugly in a standard 9×13, but any casserole dish will do. Place them in the oven, and cook for 20 minutes.
At this point, you won’t notice a lot of difference in the appearance of your berries, but the color has likely started to darken slightly. Remove them from the oven and give them a stir. Then sprinkle evenly with sugar.
The sugar will cause the berries to release some liquid a bit faster, which means they will start to shrink into the jammy roasted bites and they’ll be swimming in a sweet red syrup.
Roast these for another ten minutes before giving them a stir again. Then finally, roast for ten minutes more. When they are done, the berries will only take up about half the space they did before, but they will be extra sweet.
Use a spoon to mash the berries gently into the sides and bottom of the pan. You can mash them up a lot to make them more like jam, or leave larger pieces for some big berry chunks in your coffee cake. Once they are mashed to your liking, set the pan aside to cool.
If you prefer, you can roast the strawberries a few days in advance. After they are finished, allow them to cool, and then transfer to a sealed container and store in the fridge. Bring the berries up to room temperature before using them to top the cake, which I’ll explain below.
Let’s Make Streusel Coffee Cake
While the berries are cooling, you can begin working on the cake batter. First, prepare your baking dish by lining it with parchment paper, with some hanging over the edges. This will make it easier to slice the cake later.
Get started by whisking together the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl: both flours, cornstarch, cinnamon, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. I like using half white whole wheat flour in this recipe because of the depth of flavor. Plus, then I can say it’s healthier!
If you don’t have white whole wheat flour, or if you prefer a coffee cake made entirely with white flour, you can use all-purpose flour in its place. Just replace it for the same amount, and don’t worry about changing anything else.
If you’d rather work with baking powder than cream of tartar, replace both the baking soda and cream of tartar in the recipe with one teaspoon of baking powder and a half teaspoon of baking soda. Cream of tartar is an acid which will activate the baking soda. Baking powder contains a mix of baking soda and an activating acid.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar until combined. This recipe uses melted butter that is then cooled down. This means there is no need to use a mixer to make this. Just a whisk will do!
Using melted instead of softened butter helps to give this cake a texture more similar to a quick bread rather than a layer cake. Once combined, stir in the egg and vanilla extract until everything is thoroughly mixed together.
Add the dry ingredients into the bowl with the butter. At this point you can also add in the milk, and if you’d like, just a couple spoonfuls of the strawberry syrup from your roasting pan. Mix everything using a folding motion, which will allow you to create a cohesive batter that is just combined, without any large streaks of flour.
Transfer the batter into your parchment-lined pan, and bake it for twenty minutes. After this, the cinnamon coffee cake will not be fully done, only par-baked. However, the top will appear dry, creating a perfect surface for our toppings.
While the cake is baking for the first time, you can mix up the streusel topping. Streusel is super forgiving and easy to experiment with. In the recipe, I use a very basic cinnamon streusel. If you’d like to use a different type of flour, add oats or nuts, or play around with the proportions, feel free.
in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt until they are thoroughly combined. If you are going to add anything extra like chopped nuts or additional seasonings (allspice is a great one!) do that now as well.
Then pour in the melted butter and use your hands to mix it all up into a crumbly streusel. It’s ready when there are lumps about the size of cranberries, and will hold together when pinched gently.
Remove the par-baked cake from the oven, and then add the toppings. I like to start with the roasted strawberries, using a slotted spoon to leave any excess liquidy syrup behind. If you have a bunch left over, drizzle it over some vanilla ice cream or use it in a cocktail.
Then use your finger tips to crumble the streusel on top. To make it a little bit prettier, and give the berries some room to breathe, you can flip a few pieces. Either use a spoon to carefully get under the berry layer, and turn a couple upside-down, so they lie on top of the streusel.
Alternatively, you can add the berries and streusel in patches when you are first topping the cake. The second method gives you a little bit more control, but the first allows for little bits of streusel stuck on the berries. Once topped, return the cake to the oven, and bake it until the berries are bubbling gently.
Now the cake is fully baked! But you don’t want to cut or eat it right away. Instead, let the coffee cake cool in the pan for at least twenty minutes. The residual heat inside will continue cooking it, and as the outside cools, it will start to become more stable.
Then you can use the edges of the parchment paper to remove the cake from the pan and let it cool completely. It should no longer feel warm to the touch when it’s done and ready to cut into sixteen squares.
The good news is that this strawberry and cinnamon coffee cake tastes great baked in advance! You can easily store it at room temperature in a sealed container, either whole or sliced. Then you can serve slices as is, or warm them quickly to your taste in the microwave.
A layer of roasted strawberries takes this cinnamon streusel coffee cake to the next level! Can I get you a slice?
How to Serve Strawberry Coffee Cake
I always love to have a slice of coffee cake for a quick weekday breakfast. Since this is easy to make ahead, you can enjoy pieces all week. Don’t forget a fun morning coffee to go with it, like a honey chestnut cafe au lait or a cold brew with vanilla spice cream.
You can also start off a multi-course brunch by serving this cake. Follow it up with something savory, like a caramelized onion balsamic cheesecake. Then end with a platter piled high with cherry chocolate chip cookies.
And of course, this cinnamon coffee cake is the perfect snack to serve with cocktails. For brunch, try a raspberry lemon mojito. At happy hour, you can’t go wrong with a birthday cake martini. Or for dessert, pair this cake with a chocolate old fashioned.
What to Do With Extra Strawberries
- Wake up to the aroma of a strawberry rhubarb crumble with mascarpone cream.
- For a sweet summer lunch, try a strawberry caprese salad with balsamic vinaigrette.
- Chocolate lovers, make up a bunch of strawberry and balsamic chocolate tartlets.
- End your evening on a sweet note with a couple strawberry ice cream sundaes.
Cinnamon Coffee Cake with Roasted Strawberries and Streusel
- 1 Qt Strawberries hulled and halved or quartered if large
- ¼ Cup Sugar
- ¾ Cup All-purpose flour
- ¾ Cups White Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- ½ tsp Cream of Tartar
- ½ tsp Salt
- 6 Tbsp Butter melted and cooled
- ½ Cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Egg
- ¼ Cup Milk
- 1/2 Cup Flour
- 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Tbsp Cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp Salt
- 2 Tbsp Butter melted
- Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper, hanging over the edges.
- First make the roasted strawberries: Add the strawberries in an even layer in a 9x13 roasting pan. Cook for 20 minutes, stir and sprinkle evenly with the sugar. Then roast another 10 minutes, stir again, and roast for a final 10 minutes. Smash the berries gently with spoon and set the pan aside to cool.
- To make the coffee cake, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, cornstarch, cinnamon, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar until combined. Then stir in the eggs and vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients, milk, and 1 ½ tsp of syrup from the pan with the berries into the butter mixture, and fold in until just combined, and there are no large streaks of flour.
- Bake the cake for 20 minutes, until the top appears dry. It will not be fully done at this point.
- While baking, mix the streusel topping: in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt until combined. Add in the butter and use your hands to mix until a piece holds together when pinched gently.
- Top the par-baked cake evenly with the roasted berries and the streusel. Return to the oven, and bake another 20-25 minutes, until the berries are bubbling.
- Let cool in pan for at least 20 minutes. Then remove the cake using the parchment paper and allow it to cool completely before cutting.
- Make ahead tip:
- You can roasted the strawberries in advance. Allow them to cool, and then cover and store in the fridge for 1-2 days. Bring to room temperature before topping the par-baked cake.
- This coffee cake tastes great baked in advance! Store it at room temperature in a sealed container. Warm individual slices to serve, or enjoy at room temperature.
- If you don't have white whole wheat flour, you can use all-purpose flour in its place.
- Replace the baking soda and cream or tartar with 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda.