The easiest and the nicest cake with fresh strawberries and crunchy crumble. Swap strawberries for any other soft fruit or even apples and you'll be baking this one cake all summer long.
I do enjoy making grown up cakes: beating the egg whites separately, creaming butter with sugar until pale, clarifying butter and adding it to the mix at just the right temperature, and folding, folding, making a figure of eight with the spatula, making sure not a single air bubble bursts.
I take pride in the senior skills like making laminated pastry, croissants and Danish, baking serious breads like Panettone or brioche, constructing cakes layered with three different fillings, the sponge masterly sliced instead of being baked in separate tins.
I know all about genoise, dacquoise, madeleines and friands; and have reliable recipes for Sacher torte, Oskar II cake and Battenberg. I have made cakes that take all day to construct, that can fail at the last moment and require a steady hand, clear head and considerable dexterity.
And this, dear Reader, is not one of those cakes.
This is what I call a bucket cake. Not because it should be on everyone's list of cakes you must eat before you kick the bucket (although it's a lovely enough cake to make such list) but because it's about throwing all the ingredients into a bucket and mixing about a bit.
It looks more intricate than it is: the base, as above, is a doddle but it tastes lovely and buttery. The fruit sinks in only a little and there is completely no risk of it falling to the bottom making it soggy, as sometimes is the case with soft fruit cakes. And the crumble, the streusel, the crumb topping could not be easier to produce: melted butter mixed with flour and sugar.
And it's marvelously permissive: no buttermilk? Use another dairy product that you have: yoghurt, crème fraiche or even DYI buttermilk - whole milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice stirred into it.