APG Recipe: Blueberry Buckle

There are a few classic New England recipes that I love, and blueberry buckle is right at the top of the list. A buckle is basically the love child of a dense cake and a streusel, stuffed with fresh berries and topped with a spiced crumble layer. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, meaning it’s perfect for either a dessert or as a special breakfast treat (so… brunch, anyone?). A buckle studded with blueberries is one of my favorite comfort foods, and this one is so easy to make that it’s nearly foolproof.

My first memory of having blueberry buckle is from high school – a friend brought it to an after-school meaning, and I had no idea what she was talking about buckles and blueberries for. I was imagining some sort of bizarre puritan tradition, and was delighted to be handed a slice of what I then thought was a coffee cake on crack.

Except blueberry buckle, in my book, is ten zillion times better than coffee cake on crack.

The cake is dense and moist without being too heavy, and the sweetness of the berries is off-set by the lemon zest in the batter. I love how the spices complement the fruit and add a bit of depth to every bite. It’s perfect warm or room temperature, alone or with a custard or cream on the side. Basically, it’s how I imagine a Robert Frost poem would taste and smell.

Because I’m a nerd like that.

I’ve heard a lot of different reasons a buckle is named what it is, but the most common explanation is that the weight of the streusel topping keeps the cake from rising too high, causing it to look buckled or crumpled. In some areas of New England it’s called a slump, and people use various seasonal berries, but no matter what you call it, it’s delicious and a classic comfort food.

buckle-3

It never clicked that a buckle was such a regional food until I made it for the missionaries when they came over for supper as a dessert one evening a few weeks ago, and Elder Carter asked a few weeks later if I could make that “blueberry thingy again” the next time they came for a meal. I had spent forever thinking that I was just an ignorant teenager until my buckle enlightenment.

Being so informed that not many people had heard of a buckle, I felt it was my duty as a New Englander to share the recipe with any who stumble across this little blog who might not have had the blessing of blueberry buckle. Spread the enlightenment, as it were. This recipe makes enough to fill a 9 inch pie pan or similarly sized baking pan, so if you’re feeding a crowd (by ‘a crowd’ I mean more than like two people, because this stuff is really good and you’ll want more for breakfast the next morning), double the recipe and use a 9×13″ baking pan.

{Also, can we just talk real fast about how amazing parchment paper is? It’s probably my favorite kitchen splurge, and I use it for everything. From lining baking pans to using it to wrap garlic for roasting, it makes clean up a breeze, especially with something sticky and sugary like berries (because let’s face it, scrubbing caramelized bits of blueberry from pyrex dishes is SO not my jam… actually, dishes in general are not my jam). Everyone should have a roll of parchment paper in their kitchen arsenal – it’s like God’s gift to bakers.}

buckle-1

For Streusel:

½ c. all-purpose flour
½ c. packed light brown sugar
2 tbs. granulated sugar
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
4 tbs. butter, softened

For Cake:

1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
10 tbs. butter, softened
2/3 c. granulated sugar
½ tsp. salt
splash of vanilla extract
zest of half a lemon
2 large eggs
3 c. blueberries (fresh or frozen)

buckle-2

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a medium-sized baking dish with parchment paper (trim sides as needed, but allow enough to be able to grasp the paper to remove the buckle later) and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

For Streusel:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, both sugars, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg on low. Break up any lumps of brown sugar before adding butter. Mix until the butter is completely incorporated into the dry ingredients and resembles wet sand. The streusel should hold together when pressed. Transfer to another bowl. Feel free to treat it a little like play-doh – it’s pretty amusing.

For the Cake:
In a small bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, and baking powder; set aside. In the stand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, until everything is combined. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until just incorporated. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. The batter will be very thick. Remove from stand and gently fold in blueberries with a rubber spatula until evenly distributed.

Be aware that fresh blueberries will smash and turn your batter blue, so if you’re looking for a pretty, golden-colored buckle, using frozen blueberries will work better. They will, however, make the dough colder, and therefore a little harder to spread into the baking dish. At this point, spray your hand with some non-stick cooking spray and press it into the dish, making sure to fill the corners of the dish.

Transfer to prepared baking dish and press into an even layer. Pick up a handful of streusel and squeeze into a clump. Break off small pieces of the clump over the batter until completely covered.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the streusel is golden brown and a fork inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool about 20 minutes before lifting the buckle out of the pan. Serve warm or room temperature.

***

Feel free to download the recipe here to make it easier to print (and if you’re like me, to tape to the fridge or the cabinet to keep it visible but out of the way while baking):apg-blueberry-buckle-recipe

I hope you enjoy your little taste of New England!

…and good luck sharing. ;)

 

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3 thoughts on “APG Recipe: Blueberry Buckle

  1. I have enjoyed Meg’s baked goods on many occassion! This girl is an incredible baker! Try the recipe and I know you will not be disappointed!

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