Stop, Check Out My Buckle!

lemon blueberry buckle

Okay…. I know. I am such a hypocrite. It was only days ago that I was dissin’ my blueberry baking skillz. Yup – days. And here I am, posting a picture of yummy blueberries. I must be crazy. Well, maybe I am. But being crazy isn’t all that bad, really. Not when food is involved.

The truth of the matter is this: I really did forget about this recipe. In the midst of writing about becoming a certified chef and the leaps, bounds, and falls in between, I plum forgot that I did bake something with blueberries and it turned out just fine. And so what if I forgot? What’re you gonna do about it? huh? huh? You’re still gonna read this, and you’re still gonna wanna use the last of your blueberries in this to die for summer dessert that will leave you practically wanting to forget about everything I’ve said anyway.

fresh cleaned blueberries

I suppose I shouldn’t really call a buckle a summer dessert. I’d imagine a lot of people save these sorts of delicacies for the cold winters when longing for the taste of fresh berries in a cakelike medium. But when I saw this recipe on The Wednesday Chef blog a few weeks ago, I was immediately sold, given my recent splurge on Michigan blueberries and love of anything with a lemon glaze. Plus, what’s not to love about something with a name as cute as ‘buckle’?

aligned blueberries

Some of you may have read about all of these different types of fruit desserts. And really, what is the different between a betty, buckle, grunt, pandowdy, slump, cobbler, crisp, crumble, and claflouti? I’ll tell you, but bear with me.

  • Betty: Fruit, usually apples, baked between layers of buttered crumbs. The most common is the “apple brown betty”. A pudding or sorts.

  • Buckle: A cake layer with fruit mixed in, followed by second layer of berries and third layer of crumble, or streusel. Baked. I think of it like a coffee cake, in a way, but with fruit.

  • Grunt: Stewed or baked fruit with biscuit-type dough on top that is steamed. Also known as a slump.

  • Pandowdy: a pie with fruit on the bottom and a rolled crust on top. The crust is broken up to allow juices to come through. Generally eaten with a spoon.

  • Slump: see grunt

  • Cobbler: Sorta like a slump/grunt as there are fruits stewed or baked, but the biscuit dough is dropped and baked with the fruit rather than after.

  • Crisp: Deep-dish fruit dessert made with crumb/streusel topping and baked.

  • Crumble: Same as a crisp, but supposedly not as rich.

  • Claflouti: French origin, has fruit (usually cherries) on the bottom, a custard, and a rough batter crust baked on top

Got it? There’s a quiz at the end of this, you know…. But at the end of the day, all that matters is these fresh-baked pans of goodness taste good. And all of the above do.

mostly-eaten blueberry buckle

Crikey. I forgot to also mention the buttermilk in the cake. I seem to always have some buttermilk in the fridge, opened and half-used, and think it’s just lovely in desserts for an added bit of just plain well, loveliness. Luisa (Wednesday Chef) was super excited about this dish, and recommends cooking it no matter how hot it is and no matter how much you are dreading turning your oven on. I figure by now, it isn’t that big a deal with the 70 degree weather out. But if it is hot in your neck o’ the woods, I can’t say I disagree with her. Strip down and bake this thing, will you?

And as much as I hated to part with the little darling, Chris & I each took a third of it to our respective offices. After eating the other third all by ourselves. Aren’t we nice?

Lemon Blueberry Buckle
Adapted from the Wednesday Chef who adapted from “Rustic Fruit Desserts“; Serves 12

Crumb topping
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cubed, at room temperature

Cake & Glaze
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pan
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar, divided
zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, divided
Juice of 2 lemons (about 6 tablespoons)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Add the butter, using a fork or your fingers to cut in the butter until it is reduced to the size of peas. Loosely cover the bowl, and place it in the freezer while you mix the cake batter.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter, three-fourths cup sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

Stir the flour mixture into the bowl, a third at a time, alternating with the buttermilk, until both the flour mixture and buttermilk are evenly incorporated into the batter. Gently fold 1 cup of the blueberries into the batter.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan and distribute the remaining blueberries evenly over the top of the batter. Remove the crumb topping from the freezer and sprinkle it over the berries.

Bake the cake until it is lightly golden and firm on top, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through for even baking.

While the cake is baking, make a lemon syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the remaining one-third cup sugar with the lemon juice and whisk until blended. Heat the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid thickens to a syrupy consistency, 6 to 8 minutes. (The glaze will bubble while cooking and may need to be removed from the heat to check that it is the proper consistency.) Remove from heat and set aside in a warm place.

Remove the cake from the oven and drizzle the warm glaze over. Cool to room temperature. The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days, covered in plastic wrap.

3 thoughts on “Stop, Check Out My Buckle!

  1. Emily says:

    The buckle looks fabulous – I wish blueberries were available at the market like they were a few months ago. I'm tempted to try fig buckle…hmmm.

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