cherry streusel coffee cake recipe (and ruminations of a morning on the farm)

[28 Feb 2013 | By | 9 Comments]

cherry streudel recipe @talkoftoamtoes

I imagine the farmhouse full of early morning hustle and bustle. Up at the crack of dawn, out in the barn with a pitchfork, boots with crusted mud from the day before*. If I were that farmer, I imagine saying hello to the snorts of pigs and the loud squawking of ducks and chickens. My eyes take in the status of my crops—I lean over to inspect some garden greens. A dog mirrors my steps, somehow only an inch from my right stride. Dew covers the whole picture, and I am there to watch the farm wake.

But I am pulled. I would want to be in two places at once: outside with the therapeutic hum of farm chores and inside the equally bustling kitchen—laced apron pulled tight and hair tossed nonchalantly on top of my head. Oven on, hands deep in a bowl with dough and the scent of percolated coffee floating aimlessly. It is warm, the inside of the windows dripping with condensation as the inside heat is trapped and staring at the outside early morning chill. I like to be warm.

sweet cherry coffee cake @talkoftomatoes - 08

If I had a farm kitchen**, it would be stocked with jars of preserves, buckets of onions and potatoes from my garden, hanging heads of braided, dried garlic and rows of dried fruits and beans. A large freezer out back would be teaming with our own heritage birds, a few rabbits and bags of homemade chicken stock. A pantry would whisper inspiration, handing me ideas for what to toss into the stockpot or fold into this morning’s dough.

Having found a cherished bag of last summer’s sweet cherries hiding in my freezer***: this particular morning I will make cherry streusel coffee cake.

Cherry Streusel Coffee Cake Recipe
adopted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook; inspired by my underused bundt pan

1 stick butter
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract (make your own)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup frozen cherries, thawed and drained
1 cup streusel
Milk Glaze

Oven to 350, butter your bundt pan. Beat butter and sugar together, then add eggs and vanilla. Beat 2 min. In separate bowl combine flour, soda, salt, baking powder. Alternate: adding flour/sour cream/flour/sour cream/flour. Scrape bowl as needed, stir just to combine. Add half dough to pan. (I make a little trough for the cherries). Add cherries, top with dough, then top with streusel. Bake 40-45 min.Let cool 10 minutes, then invert. Spoon glaze on top of streusel. Keeps well at room temp for four days.

Make Streusel: 1/4 cup butter, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 heaping tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup brown sugar, heaping 1/2 cup flour. Combine until crumbly.

Make Milk Glaze: combine 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 T milk (I like to use half & half).

cherry streudel @talkoftomaotes

*I have great news: I will be attending Farm School at Quillisascut late this Spring. I will necessarily get up at the crack of dawn and do farm chores—and learn about life on the farm. It will be hard work, but I am a glutton for farm-induced-punishment. I look forward to experiencing the rhythm and knowledge of farm life (not to mention making cheese); of course I will be sharing countless photos, stories and lessons.

**Though I only have an ‘urban’ farm kitchen, it isn’t impossible to adopt the seasonal, efficient, thoughtful ways of a true farm kitchen. In fact, the above is a pretty accurate description of my own pantry/kitchen. It is a way of approaching food: grow as much of your own as possible. Take the bounty of fruits and vegetables from each month, each season and ‘put it up’. Cherries are a good example: I buy boxes of them from a farmer and barter even more from neighbors-with-cherry-trees. I dry trays upon trays of them in my dehydrator—so all year I can tuck them into salads, sauces and sweets. I can cherry chutney, make cherry jam and pickled cherries. I pit and freeze cherries—so in the middle of a cold spring I can warm my kitchen and partner’s heart with warm-from-the-oven cherry coffee cake.

sweet cherry coffee cake @talkoftomatoes - 82

***Though cherries are only one of countless fruits I put up and play with (they are very easy to love), they are now a special focus. I have a [paid] relationship with the Northwest Cherry Growers (part of Washington State Fruit Commission). I have worked with a number of commissions, been a Blog Ambassador for various food companies (corn, raisin, fig, wine, olive oil etc.) and will always let you know/be straight with you about those relationships. I am thrilled to be supporting so many hard working fruit growers (2,500 growers across ID, MT, OR, WA, UT); this means I will occasionally give ‘extra’ cherry love on Talk of Tomatoes. Note: my opinions, recipes, food philosophies and penchant for farm kitchens are my own.

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  • James said (28 February 2013 at 1:57 pm):

    Looks tasty! What a great way to start a cold Northwest morning. There’s no school, but any time you’d like to get in some orchard chores, I’m sure the growers would welcome it. Especially in another few weeks when the frost season starts and they’re out in the middle of the night starting fans and “icing” trees with irrigation water to protect the buds. Chores in the cold and dark are always more enjoyable with company and coffee…and maybe coffee cake!

  • Janelle (author) said (28 February 2013 at 2:36 pm):

    I may take you up on it: I will be passing through in mid April and would love to drink coffee with cherry growers! And snapping photos is… like a cherry on top (couldn’t resist).

  • Krista said (28 February 2013 at 3:39 pm):

    You’ve spun such a beautiful picture. :-) It makes me smile as I just came in from the pouring rain, boots covered with mud, new baby Muscovy ducklings tucked into their new pen with their mama. Now I’m sipping coffee, reading blogs, and listening to the rain fall. It’s a really wonderful day on the farm. :-)

  • Janelle (author) said (28 February 2013 at 3:55 pm):

    Krista: you are living the life! Makes me so happy! Couldn’t be to a more lovely, deserving person;) Life is good!

  • Karista said (1 March 2013 at 8:44 am):

    Janelle! I’m so excited about the Farm School! I cannot wait to hear (read) about it. That is definitely on my list of things I want to accomplish one day. For now, I’ll have to be happy with my four chickens and some gardening classes at Seattle Tilth. LOL! I will live the dream through you my friend :) Love, love this cherry streusal coffee cake. Delicious!

  • Teresa said (1 March 2013 at 9:32 am):

    Love this post! The coffee cake looks delish and I know my family will love it.
    Congrats on Farm School. :-) You go girl!!

  • Heather C. said (1 March 2013 at 5:27 pm):

    This looks delicious and I’m going to take it for a spin! I love the way you talk about your kitchen and eating/putting up seasonally. It’s a challenge in my glorified postage stamp, but we work on it here and I love reading about other people thinking about the same things!

  • Carolyn T said (2 March 2013 at 10:36 am):

    What a wonderful visual image you conjured up about the farm. My grandparents were farmers, and I remember going down into the cellar with my grandma to retrieve canned tomatoes, green beans and quarts of canned peaches. My grandfather used to make a dessert nearly every lunch and dinner (unless my grandmother had made something). He called it a “batch.” It was a piece of white bread (because there was always a tall stack of sliced bread put on the table for every meal too) torn up into pieces in a sauce dish (also a stack of those on the table for every meal). Then he’d add some milk (in a jug) or even some canned evaporated milk, and either jam (which also lived on the table 24/7) or the canned peaches and some of the syrup. Isn’t it crazy what we remember sometimes?

    Life in the 21st century just gets in the way of our trying to live that kind of seasonal provisioning. Canning is so “in” right now, but I just haven’t made the time. The coffeecake looks wonderful. I too, have some frozen bing cherries I froze last year that are cooked in port wine. I think they’d work perfectly in that cake. Usually I serve them on top of vanilla ice cream, but the coffeecake just sounds divine.

  • kelley {mountain mama} said (11 March 2013 at 12:22 pm):

    This looks amazing. You’re going to have a blast at Farm School. Can’t wait to hear about your adventures. Isn’t it the best, enjoying the hard work of preserving months later? Hope you’re well!