So this year must have just been a killer year for blueberries! I’m seeing so many gorgeous ones at the store, the markets, everywhere. And so I’ve made several blueberry desserts & recipes, some successes, some maybe not so much. One that was a huge success is this Blueberry Buckle. The folks, especially my Da, went nuts over this!
Another little blueberry number that we loved isn’t really a dessert but it could be…it’s the Blueberry Compote that I show over these Swedish Pancakes. Those blueberries were so sweet I didn’t even add sugar, but go by taste. And of course, I have a few other blueberry desserts. Just check my main menu for Fruit Desserts if you’re so inclined.
About Blueberry Buckle:
But let’s talk about this Blueberry Buckle. Insanely good! And so full of berries you literally can’t get any more in. (I recently redid the photos and used blueberries and peaches, and not too long ago, I did blueberries and nectarines so please forgive the Blueberry Peach photos on this post.) I think a lot of fruit is important in a buckle. See, when I was a kid, it was explained to me that what makes a buckle is that there is so much fruit, the cake part just buckles under the weight of it all.
Wikipedia says a buckle is a variation of cobbler “… made with yellow batter (like cake batter), with the filling mixed in with the batter.” These days, many buckles are more like a rich, moist, super loaded with fruit coffee cake and a streusel topping covers most of the flaws. Any flaws you see in the top are supposed to be there and add to the charm. But hey, if it’s a coffee cake, it can be eaten for breakfast, no? Bonus!
But the BEST buckles (in my opinion, and hey, it’s my blog, so I get all the opinions here, lol) have a nod to the origin of the dessert and are almost custardy they’re so moist. These days I mostly see Blueberry Buckles, but buckles can be made of all kinds of soft fruit. The batter is so thick in this one, it will crush any delicate fruit, like raspberries or blackberries. You might want to use them frozen, but even then a few will probably break up, creating streaks through the buckle. Maybe not a bad thing.
Making Blueberry Buckle:
I started out with an “OG” recipe from the New York Times, Summer Berry Buckle. I can never leave anything alone, I’m always looking, trying new things, wanting to make sure that what I’m making is the best. And over the years, I switched over to the recipe, below, based on Cook’s Illustrated. It’s just a little less down-home and a little more spectacular.
The only changes I make is I leave out the cinnamon and the brown sugar in the streusel topping and up the lemon in the batter. I love the way a white sugar streusel is so incredibly crisp against the moist buckle. Besides, for me, using this amount of fruit in any recipe is a bit of a splurge, especially when it’s berries. I want that berry flavor to shine out and ring clear and true. I think lemon, though, enhances those flavors.
In this case (and I’m updating this from the original recipe)I used some super high-quality lemon oil a friend sent up to me, gratis. Of course, I couldn’t help but want to bake with it! It’s incredible in this recipe and I like it better than lemon extract. I’ll be writing more about Kendra and her line of Doterra Essential Oils. If you’re interested in making a purchase, catch up with her on her facebook site, Oils & Soul. There’s a photo on the bottom of the page. Besides (again with the opinions, lol) I think cinnamon and brown sugar are better with apple, pear, and pumpkin. So try it my way or use the original recipe. Really, there’s no way to go wrong!
Quirky Things to Know about Blueberry Buckle:
Because the fruit gives off juices that can caramelize on the bottom and sides of the pan, do be sure to spray your pan, then line the bottom with parchment, then spray that. Flour it then shake off the excess flour. You won’t have any issues then with sticking. Back in the day, buckles were made in just about any pan, and not necessarily turned out, but ya gotta admit, serving on a platter is an upgrade! I use a 9″ springform coz I don’t have a 9″ cake pan and it worked perfectly.
This batter is so thick, it’s almost a dough. As the fruit is folded in, you’re going to have to forgo the spatula and start pushing and pulling it with a heavy spoon and probably give it a little assist from your fingers to get all the fruit enveloped with some of that batter. And then you’ll dollop and spread it in the bottom of your pan.
And I use the term “spread” loosely. Again, as much as you try with spatula and spoon, you’re gonna have to get in with your hands and make sure the batter gets down to the bottom of the pan and the top is as level as you can get it without being freaky, deeky about it. And it’might look a little hopeless. Cover all that up with streusel. No one will ever know. But as it bakes, that batter puffs up mightily and envelopes the blueberries and rises tall and hopefully, you’ll get a little buckling. It’s a beautiful thing.
A toothpick test isn’t going to work in this recipe; anywhere you poke, you’re going to get fruit. Watch for the top to get golden brown (that will vary if you use white sugar or brown) but watch closely as it pulls away from the sides. You’ll see the edges are browned and the top edges are firming up. If you press on the Blueberry Buckle in the center, expecting it to spring back, it shouldn’t! Underneath its just molten fruit. This is better slightly underdone as opposed to overdone; it’s best when a little custardy. And whether soft or firm, it’s still going to be good.
Saving Money on Blueberry Buckle:
The biggest impact on the pricing is how much those blueberries (or other fruit) are going to set you back. Costco and Aldi both have great prices, but if you don’t have access to either, use my strategy of shopping (and splurging) on your berries during any holiday sale, especially the summer holidays. Even if berries are on sale throughout the summer, the stores heavily discount berries during the pre-holiday sales to lure you in the door.
I also buy the majority of my baking goods during the big holiday sales or at Aldi. Let’s talk about butter coz that’s a pricey item, too. Real butter IS pricey but if you buy strategically and freeze it until you need it, you can have it for half the cost or less. Aldi butter is always reasonable (and Costco isn’t bad) but the sales on butter at the regular grocery store during the big baking holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter are usually even better.
Start to get into the habit of noting how much you use of products (and what you’re paying for them) and stock up at the low, buying enough to last to the next great sale. I literally count the weeks between holidays & figure out how much butter to buy. I bake and use about a pound of butter a week. If I can buy at $1.69 sales price as opposed to our normal whopping $4.99 a pound it makes a huge difference. Over the course of a year, I can pay $87.88 instead of $259.48.
If you’re curious how much it costs to run a freezer, the average is about $4.99 a month. Less than the cost of a Big Mac. Just sayin’. You might want to take a peek at my articles on Banking Your Food and Freezer Options.Print
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 55 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: Desserts
- Cuisine: American
- 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, softened
- 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup (4 3/4 oz) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (may replace with lemon oil or extract, see notes)
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 4 cups fresh blueberries (about 20 oz)
- powdered sugar for spinkling, optional
To make the streusel:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, both sugar, cinnamon, and salt on low to combine and break up any brown sugar lumps. With the mixer still on low, add the butter and beat until it is completely incorporated into the dry ingredients, about 2-3 minutes – the mixture will resemble wet sand. Transfer the streusel to another bowl and set aside.
For the equipment:
Preheat oven to 350 F with a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round or springform pan with a round of parchment, then spray the parchment and the pan with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with flour and tap out any excess.
For the buckle:
In a small bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder together then set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the vanilla and lemon oil if using. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture, beating until just about incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish stirring – the batter will be very thick. Gently fold in the blueberries.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan; spread in an even layer. To top with the streusel – pick up a handful of streusel and squeeze to form a clump. Break this large clump into smaller pieces and sprinkle over the batter. Continue until you’ve used all of the streusel.
Bake for about 55 minutes, or until the streusel is lightly golden brown and the cake edges have slightly pulled away from the pan and are golden. The top will be a bit wobbly if pressed and the toothpick test is unreliable. Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool for 15-20 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edges of the cake then invert cake onto the rack. Remove the parchment then turn the cake streusel side up and let sit until only slightly warm or completely cool on the wire rack.
Top with powdered sugar if desired and transfer to serving platter.
- My variation uses for the streusel, 1/2 cup flour, a heaping 1/2 cup white sugar, 5 tablespoons of softened butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt. For the buckle, I omit the vanilla and use 4 to 5 drops of lemon essential oil or 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract.
- Other fruit may be substituted for all or part of the blueberries. If fruit is very juicy, toss in a little flour.
Keywords: Blueberries, Cake, coffee cake, Cook's Illustrated, Desserts, Fruit Desserts, Nectarines, new york times
If interested, visit Kendra at Oils & Soul for more information or purchase of these very high quality essential oils.
I’ll be taking Blueberry Buckle to Angie’s Fiesta Friday, hosted this week by Sarah @ Sarah’s Little Kitchen and Shinta @ Caramel Tinted Life.
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