Raspberry coulis, blackberry coulis---I could drink with a straw. Something about that tangy, not too sweet taste that makes me crave a small glass of it with a touch of tonic water. The uses of coulis are endless: ice cream, cakes, muffins, sorbets, gelato, and crumb cakes. Normally I crave coulis every other day in the summertime; lately I've been craving it in the cold winter months. Might be my lack of vitamin C? Who knows. Good raspberries, blackberries are hard to come by in my neck of the woods, but luckily at a not too far away Whole Foods, I eyed some precious, beautiful looking blackberries. Knowing I had a long overdue request from hubby to make a "kicked up" crumb cake, these blackberries fit the bill. I doubled up the batched of blackberries to make extra coulis for drinking and baking.
If the thought of this crumb cake looks good to you but the thought of all the steps is changing your mind, please don't let it. The coulis can be made days ahead and kept in the fridge. Really the coulis is the only time-consuming part, as well as the most important, as it really adds a nice, tangy burst to the crumb cake. But the best part of this crumb cake is that the longer it sits, the more flavor-full it gets. All those fabulous different flavors only get more intense as a couple days goes by.
blackberry-cream cheese crumb cake
¼ cup canola oil, plus more for pan
½ stick unsalted butter, melted
2 TB sour cream
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
½ cup + 2 TB granulated white sugar
1 ts baking powder
½ ts coarse salt
1 large egg
½ cup + 2 TB half & half
2 ts pure vanilla extract
1 cups flour
1 cups packed light brown sugar
¾ ts coarse salt
½ TB ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted & cooled
Cook notes: the batter is very thin. It rises a bit when baking. This crumb cake bakes very fast! So please make sure to check it at the 25 minute mark. It will be hard to see if it’s done with all the layers on there, so use a cake tester to check cake layer. The coulis can be made a couple days ahead of time and stored in fridge until ready to use. It is optional, but wonderful to add in a couple tablespoons of the coulis into your cream cheese mixture. I doubled my ingredients for the blackberry coulis as I wanted a little bit more on the cake and for future use.
1 pint fresh blackberries
2 TB granulated sugar, or to taste
1 TB fresh lemon juice, or to taste
For the coulis:
Put all the ingredients in medium sauce pan and cook over medium (not high!) heat until fruit is mostly dissolved and mixture has reduced a bit as well as thickened up; about 30 minutes or more. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, pushing down on the solids. You might have to let this sit for a while to finish draining—it takes a while. Don’t forget to scrape off the bottom side of the sieve for all the juicy, thickened pulp. Discard the seeds. Taste and add more sugar or lemon juice if needed; it shouldn’t need anything. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the crumb topping:
In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients, pour melted butter over mixture, and toss with a rubber spatula until large crumbs form. Set aside
cream cheese mixture
8 ounces cream cheese, room temp.
1 large egg yolk
3 TB white sugar
1 TB fresh lemon zest
2 TB or more of the blackberry coulis (optional, but wonderful)
For the cream cheese mixture:
Mix all in a bowl (really well) until ready to use.
Place rack in center of oven, and heat oven to 350°.
Lightly butter a 9 x 13 baking pan and dust with flour, and tap to remove excess. (I’ve also used the Pam with Flour and it worked just fine). Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together 2 ¼ cups flour, add in the granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a second bowl, whisk together egg, butter, half & half, canola oil, sour cream, and vanilla.
Using a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into wet mixture.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, and set aside. (to keep batter from sticking to your hand or spoon, just wet or oil your fingers or a spoon and spread evenly throughout pan).
The batter should be about half an inch high. It will cook/rise to an inch thick. (Don’t worry if the batter is very thin and hard to get into the corners, it does spread out as it’s cooking). Use wet fingers to push batter into corners.
Next put on the cream cheese mixture either in one single layer, clumps or vertical lines. You can make swirls if you want too, I did not.
Next add on the crumbs. Then drizzle on the coulis (if it helps put the coulis in a pastry bag and draw lines).
Then transfer pan to oven, and bake for 14 minutes, rotate pan. Then cook another 10 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Check cake at 25 minute mark for sure. Let cake cool and set up before slicing.
Using a serrated knife or bench scraper, cut into 3-inch squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 2-4 days.