This Strawberry Rhubarb Buckle (which is just an old school comfy cozy name for a strawberry rhubarb coffee cake) has an easy cheesecake topping that just brings the entire baked good to the next level! (Jump directly to the recipe.)
There are days I absolutely hate the internet. And I don’t say that as an old grumpy person (get off my lawn!) that pines away for the times when kids didn’t stare at the phone screens constantly. I’m talking about the constant struggle as a recipe developer to figure out exactly what is an SEO friendly title for a dessert that really doesn’t have a good name.
Here’s the thing. I know that I really wanted to make a dessert that had the classic combination of strawberries and rhubarb. And I wanted something that had a cream cheese component (without it being a full-blown cheesecake). I refuse to call this dessert a “dump cake” both because I hate that name, and also because it technically requires SOME mixing and layering which is the opposite of a dump cake.
But a quick search on the internet failed me. Some folks called this sort of dessert a cobbler. My Midwest mentality screamed NO, as a cobbler is strictly a fruit dessert with biscuit toppings. Other folks considered it a clafoutis but there’s no cream cheese topping on a clafoutis. And though I considered an old fashion batter pudding, it really isn’t the sort of dish you serve up warm with a bunch of spoons to eat directly out of the pan (though I wouldn’t judge you if you did).
So I totally bypassed the internet and texted my friend Shauna. Shauna’s one of my go-to baking pals who moved back to the Midwest (Chicago to be exact). We met ages ago here in San Francisco but she was always a Midwest girl at heart, so it only made sense that she would finally go back home. Right now she’s writing a cookbook called The Heartland Baker, and with some texting back and forth, she led me to BUCKLE. Ah the mythical buckle. I adore buckles, which are basically coffee cakes, but I don’t make them or call them that often. But this recipe, with its fruit sprinkled on top, and dollops of cheesecake batter speckling the fruit, is firmly in buckle territory. And, I guess, if I have to think about it, I met Shauna via the internet initially. I probably shouldn’t hate on the ‘net as much as I do.
Strawberry Rhubarb Buckle with Cheesecake Topping
- 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature 1 brick
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar 100 g
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature 2 sticks or 225 g
- 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar 300 g
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 large eggs
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 385 g
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 cups sliced strawberries 370 g
- 2 cups 1/2-inch sliced rhubarb 200 g or about 3 fat stalks/6 skinny stalks
- Powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan with cooking oil. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with parchment paper
- Make the cheesecake topping by placing the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream until combined, with the cream cheese clinging to the side of the bowl. Scoop out the cheesecake topping with a silicon or rubber spatula and place in a bowl.
- In the same mixing bowl (no need to clean it) make the cake batter by mixing the butter, sugar, baking powder, salt, and ground ginger together until the butter looks creamy and clings to the side of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing and scraping down the sides with a silicon or rubber spatula between additions.
- Add the 1 cup of flour to the batter and mix to incorporate. Drizzle in 1 cup of the milk as the mixer is on low speed, and then stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Don’t worry if the batter looks broken. Repeat the process again, then add the final 3/4 cup of flour to the batter and mix thoroughly so it is well blended.
- Scrape the cake batter into the prepared pan, spread it evenly on the bottom, then sprinkle the strawberries and rhubarb all over the top of the cake batter, pressing the fruit slightly into the cake batter.
- Spoon the cheesecake topping over the fruit in small tablespoon rounds. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue to bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the edges of the cake are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan completely and then dust with powdered sugar right before serving.