For the filling
3 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved (8 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 1/2 tablespoons of water
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
For the crumb topping:
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
For the cake:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
- Make the filling: Preheat the oven to 350°.
- In a large bowl, toss the strawberries with the sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch slurry and vanilla seeds and let stand until the berries release some of their juices, about 30 minutes.
- Pour the fruit filling into a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish set on a sturdy baking sheet.
- Meanwhile, make the crumb topping: In a medium bowl, mix all of the ingredients with your fingers until a coarse meal forms; press into small clumps.
- Make the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions. Beat in the vanilla extract and scrape down the bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients to the batter in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk.
- Spoon the batter over the fruit filling, spreading it to the edge. Sprinkle with the crumb topping.
- Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling, the crumb topping is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly.
- Serve the crumb cake warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream.
Make ahead: the crumb cake can be refrigerated overnight. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Desserts, Fruit