Nigella Lawson's Very Smart Strawberry Streusel Cake

May 15, 2016

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

Here, one dough does double the work (way to go, dough!): Make it by rubbing cold butter into the dry ingredients, as you would for pie crust. Reserve a half-cup of this mixture, mix it with a teaspoon of crunchy sugar, and you've cut your crumb top. Boom! Done.

Take the rest of the sandy mess, mix in an egg and sour cream (or sub in another dairy product of similar viscosity—see how here), and you'll get a sticky batter you might have to tussle with—just a little—to spread into and up the sides of a spring-form pan, like a thick shortbread crust (I find that damp hands help). Pour over a blend of fresh strawberries, strawberry jam (to concentrate the fruit flavor), and cornstarch (to stave off wateriness), then drop more of that wet batter over top. On goes the crumble you already made, and your work is over.

Slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson's recipe in the New York Times.

Sarah Jampel

Serves: 8 to 10


For the jam layer:

  • 8 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry jam (I've also used raspberry, and I bet other types—apricot!—would be good too)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the cake and crumb topping:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour (or substitute all-purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons Demerara or turbinado sugar
In This Recipe


For the jam layer:

  1. In a blender, combine the strawberries and jam and process until combined. Make a slurry of the cornstarch and vanilla extract, add to blender, and blend until smooth. Set aside for later.

For the cake and crumb topping:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F and grease a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flours, baking powder, and baking soda. Sprinkle in butter cubes and use your fingers to rub them in—as if you were making pie dough—until mixture resembles large coarse crumbs with pea- and walnut-sized butter pieces.
  3. Remove 1/2 cup and set it aside for the topping in a medium bowl.
  4. To the large bowl, add sour cream, egg, and vanilla. Mix well.
  5. Dollop a little over half of this batter into pan. With slightly damp hands, pat the batter across bottom of pan and about 1 inch up sides; the mixture will be very sticky and somewhat uneven.
  6. Pour over the strawberry purée in an even layer over the batter, leaving a rim of dough around it. Cover with blobs of remaining cake mixture, trying to spread them as evenly as possible and using damp hands to thin them out. Don't stress about it! (Trust me.)
  7. Add the Demerara sugar to the reserved 1/2 cup dough and stir with a fork to mix. Sprinkle evenly over cake.
  8. Bake cake until lightly golden, about 45 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

More Great Recipes:
Cake|Sour Cream|Strawberry|Bake|Spring|Dessert

Reviews (30) Questions (3)

30 Reviews

Roe September 12, 2018
This came out so delicious, I can't wait to make it again. I'm thinking: switching the strawberries for blueberries next time! (They're my favorite) Huge hit with the whole family..... Quick and easy to make, will be a " go to" when company comes over.
Elaine U. June 9, 2018
I've made this so many times and it's wonderful. The first time I made it, I had very little confidence in the cake batter and it seemed like there was not enough streusel to cover the strawberry mixture. But once baked, it was perfect! I often swap out the sour cream for full fat greek yogurt.
Rachel June 5, 2018
Does anyone have tips for converting this to a muffin recipe? :)
Nan June 6, 2017
Question, the original recipe has 2 cups flour plus 2 TBS, this recipe only has 1- cup of flour plus 2 TBS
Author Comment
Sarah J. June 6, 2017
This recipe has 2 cups + 2 tablespoons of flour total—but 1 cup is whole-wheat pastry flour (see the line in the ingredient list right below)! You can sub in all-purpose flour if you'd like.
Suma C. January 10, 2017
Made this exactly as written and loved it!
Rhonda35 June 3, 2016
This cake is so delicious and very easy to pull together. One can always count on Nigella! I used a 50-50 combination of strawberries and rhubarb and whatever jam I found in the fridge. Also, I was low on sour cream, so had to supplement the amount with plain Greek yogurt. It turned out perfectly and I will most certainly make this cake again!
Two T. June 3, 2016
Update: Made and liked lots! I used plum preserves with the strawberries, and spelt flour for the ww pastry. I ended up using sour cream. I was a tad panicked by the thinness of the puree after it blended but no worries--it bakes into a nice even jam layer.
Petrus E. June 2, 2016
I thought we had come of age, I agree, mostly metric measurements used. Please assist and provide details.
Sue June 12, 2016
Petrus, <br /><br /> You should be able to make the clnversion easily - help readily available online.
Nancy F. May 23, 2016
I made this cake with fresh raspberries and raspberry preserves! It's wonderful!
Tashie May 22, 2016
This is probably the best cake that I've made this year. Seriously delicious, not too sweet and super moist. I was going to bring leftovers to work tomorrow, but am too selfish to share now.
Author Comment
Sarah J. May 22, 2016
Some cakes are too good to share!!!
Adelucchi May 22, 2016
Made this recipe for our band snack. Got rave reviews from the band. I liked<br />The fact that I could use whole wheat flour. Had blueberries in my CSA but and a few strawberries. My neighbor had just given me strawberry jam so I was ready for this recipe. My husband and I have enjoyed the left overs for breakfast and it was moist and delicious! Thanks for a great recipe that will be used again in our household.
Smriti S. May 20, 2016
Why can't you give metric measurements. Imagine counting and getting 12 tablespoons of butter!! Whatever is a stick of butter?
Shalini May 20, 2016
A stick of butter is a quarter of a pound of butter.
AntoniaJames May 20, 2016
Or, in metric, 177 ml or 113 grams.<br />To answer your question about metric . . . Based on available information -- including that many users have been haranguing the Food52 staff for quite some time to revise their editorial policies to include metric, including mass (grams + ounces) in all editorial selected or contributed articles and recipes -- one can only conclude the following. Food52 is an ecommerce site that does not ship outside the US. Content here "supports" (is designed to promote and increase) sales in the retail establishment. The non-US demographic therefore is of little concern to the site's economic objectives. That's the only explanation that makes sense to me.<br />After all, how hard is it to consult a table for a simple conversion like that (where the parameters such as the ones you request are known to US readers, but not to non-US readers), or even better, actually to weigh their ingredients to take out the guesswork entirely? <br />That said, I'm also guilty, having posted recipes in the early days of Food52 stated in standard US measuring conventions. I am, however, working to update them, starting with my bread and baked good recipes, where the precision in using mass vs. volume can make such a difference. ;o)
tamater S. June 2, 2016
I got a metric-imperial conversion calculator years ago, at a mail order place called Lee Valley (Canadian, but of course you could do a net search for an alternative source). I paid only $16 for it, and it saves so much time looking stuff up! Last time I looked, they were still $16. Great gifts for cooks like us, too!
Marshacb June 2, 2016
"Food52 is an ecommerce site that does not ship outside the US. Content here "supports" (is designed to promote and increase) sales in the retail establishment. The non-US demographic therefore is of little concern to the site's economic objectives. That's the only explanation that makes sense to me." Thank you Antonia, as one of those non-usa'ers I couldn't have said it better. Maybe the hints will finally effect some change.
Amanda H. June 2, 2016
Food52 is a kitchen and home company -- our goal is to help people in every aspect of their kitchen and home life. That might mean helping them find excellent recipes, connect with other like-minded cooks, discover new linens for their table, get a question answered, learn a new way to tile their backsplash, or inspire them through our app with what others are making at home. We're thrilled that people outside the US like our site and products, and we absolutely want to serve them as well as our US readers and customers. Metric conversion and international shipping are on our roadmap. We'd love to do it tomorrow but alas, we have budgets and bandwidth to consider! Please know we're just as excited to get this done as you are, so we'll make it happen as soon as we can. Thanks all!
tamater S. June 2, 2016
Maybe you could sell these: <br />,40733,40734&p=58726
Rhonda35 June 3, 2016
Good suggestion, tamater sammich!
Rhonda35 June 3, 2016
When I lived overseas, I did not expect the countries where I spent my time and money to convert to my American ways. I own many cookbooks written with only metric measurements. I did not demand the publisher correct this for the American market; I bought a conversion chart and did the simple math myself. It works the same way in reverse: if using American recipes, get a conversion chart and do the math. I now live at altitude and, whether dealing with ounces or milliliters, pounds or kilos, I still have to consult a chart as there are many adjustments needed for baking recipes (traditionally written for sea level) to counteract the effects of altitude. Learning to adapt and practicing basic math skills are not particularly terrible things to have to deal with. There are many well-respected, American-based companies with a broad international reach who have published recipes online for years without providing metric conversions - The New York Times, Bon Appetit, Martha Stewart, name a few.
AntoniaJames June 20, 2016
Hear, hear, Rhonda35! ;o)
Alice July 11, 2016
Up to $18.95 US now
Sharon H. October 2, 2016
In the future, you can try copying and pasting the instructions here for on-the-fly conversion: it was my husband's birthday present for me :-) there's also a browser extension. Has extra stuff to make it food52 compatible even!
Rhonda35 October 2, 2016
This is so useful! Thanks for sharing your birthday present with us, Sharon!
AntoniaJames May 19, 2016
Cheat code: Do step 2 in a food processor. You could probably add the liquid ingredients to the work bowl and give it a quick buzz in step 4, too. I'll probably give that a go next time. (NB: In my recipe, I hold the leavening agents out until after I've removed the portion for the topping, as it's really better, to my mind, that they be integrated in full with the liquid ingredients.) ;o)
AntoniaJames May 19, 2016
That is the same method used in my Pear-Filled Cowboy Coffee Cake - adapted from a recipe my mother found somewhere in the 60s. As noted in the headnote, I agree that it's clever and efficient! ;o)<br />That "your best pear" contest finalist recipe can be found here: <br />I'd love to know the provenance of Ms. Lawson's cake.<br />
Two T. May 19, 2016
pinning that one, antonia! and this stawberry one sounds great. Can't wait to try it.