Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Are you like me? Do you have file folders full of recipe clippings from newspapers and magazines? For decades I’ve been thinking about organizing them but it hasn’t happened yet. I know there are treasures in there.

One stained newspaper clipping from the Washington Post is titled Blueberry Bonanza. The Post has always had an excellent Food section. This article with recipes is by Elinor Klivans who wrote frequently about baking for the Post when I lived in the DC area. I’m sure my folders hold other clippings by her. Based on the mention of a cookbook she was launching, I’m guessing this article was published in 2001.

She describes a buckle as “typically a moist, fruit-filled cake, often with a crumb topping.” Pretty accurate. Richard Sax, in his wonderful Classic Home Desserts, defines the various fruit pastries – cobbler, crisp, crumble, pandowdy, buckle, grunt and slump — in his Extended Family of Cobblers and Crisps chapter. There’s a good definition of all these fruit desserts on the From Karen’s Kitchen to Yours blog, thank you Google!

Elinor makes her buckle in a 9×9 pan but I must have left mine somewhere so I used a 7×12, pretty close in volume. I kept an eye on the time just in case it was done early.

Blueberry Buckle

For the crumb topping:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour

For the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ cup milk – I used 2%
  • 2 cups (about 1 pint) blueberries

Preheat oven to 325. Grease your pan (9×9 or 7×12). For the crumb topping, with a mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until smooth and well-blended, about 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour and mix just until the mixture forms crumbs, about 15 seconds. Set aside.

For the cake, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, vanilla and almond extract and beat for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, add half of the reserved flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Add the milk, mixing until just incorporated. (She said the mixture may look slightly curdled, mine didn’t). Add remaining flour and mix until just incorporated (sensing a theme?) and the batter is smooth, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go. Gently fold the berries into the batter.

Spread the batter evenly into your pan. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees to ensure even baking and bake 20-30 minutes more, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Serve at room temperature. You can store it covered for up to 2 days. Enjoy!

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5 thoughts on “Blueberry Buckle

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