Let them eat cake — Spelt Crumb Cake with Fruit Swirl

Finally, the heat of the summer broke — at least long enough for us to bake this cake. And eat it. Four times. In one week.

Spelt Crumb Cake with Fruit Swirl

At first, I thought the lack of baked desserts around here the past few weeks spurred my family’s great desire for cake. But now I’ve realized, this is just a really good cake.  It’s light and fluffy and it falls into tasty little crumbly bits on to your plate that are too good to leave behind. The sugar on top adds just the right crunch into each bite. The cake stays moist and flavourful for days and is incredibly easy to make. It’s great for breakfast, brunch, coffee or whenever the mood for cake strikes.

Spelt Crumb Cake with Fruit Swirl

adapted from Anna Olson’s Butter Tart Coffeecake
(makes 9 generous slices)

  • 3 cups all-purpose light spelt flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup light (5%) sour cream
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of your favourite jam, homemade or store-bought
  • 3-4 tbsp large crystal turbinado sugar (optional)

Line an 8″x8″ baking pan with parchment paper. Be sure to leave enough hanging over the edge for easy lifting from the pan once the cake is baked. Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Stir in the brown sugar and break up any big lumps.

Next, using your fingers, rub the pieces of butter into the flour until the butter pieces are about pea sized. Set aside.

In a small bowl, beat together the sour cream, egg and vanilla extract. Pour into the flour mixture and mix vigorously, occasionally scraping down the sides, until light and fluffy.

Using an offset spatula, spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Dollop the jam by the spoonful over the batter. Using the back of a spoon, swirl the fruit spread around taking care to not dip too deeply into the batter. Gently spread the remaining half of the batter over top. It won’t look perfect but that’s ok. As the cake bakes, it spreads and rises filling in small gaps and imperfections in the unbaked batter. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar evenly over the batter.

Bake in the centre of the oven at 350F for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out mostly clean (there’s likely to be some jam on it). Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack.

Serve warm or room temperature.

Tips and Suggestions:

  • Western brand sour cream here in Canada has a great texture that is almost like full fat sour cream.
  • Prepare for slippery parchment – when you are spreading the batter into the prepared baking pan, it will be a little bit of effort to hang on to the parchment paper. It’s worth the effort – rather than cutting the cake in the pan and damaging it and as well when taking care of cleanup afterwards too.


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