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~ An Old-Fashioned Very-Berry Blueberry Buckle ~

PICT0005I've barely had time to exhale between cherry and blueberry season this year,  and, it's a banner year for both here in our Happy Valley backyard.  Last week, after picking 27 pounds of pie cherries, I finished up my June blog posts with ~ 'Tis True:  Sour Cherries Do Make the Best Jam ~.  You can find that recipe in Categories 8, 9 & 22.  Today, I start my July posts with blueberries, which are starting to ripen at a quick pace:

PICT0008That being said, today I was only able to harvest a few cups.  This quantity will change to quarts over the next few days, so stay tuned.  When faced with the first few cups of blueberries, or, the lasts few cups of the season, I turn to an old family recipe, which my grandmother called a blueberry buckle.  "What is a buckle", you ask? 

PICT0008A buckle is a buttery-rich, one-layer, streusel-topped cake made with lots of berries in the batter. If that sounds suspiciouly like a coffeecake to you, I'll explain the difference the way Baba (my grandmother) explained it to me:  A buckle is a coffeecake that contains berries.  While both rise and puff up as they bake, as a buckle cools, the liquid in the berries causes it to sink a bit, or "buckle" in the center, leaving a few moist and juicy berries poking through the crisp streusel topping.  Coffeecakes, because they do not contain berries, remain domed! 

Our foregrandmothers it seems, invented a lot of unique words to define our American heritage berry desserts.  Here's a quick overview:  A crisp is a berry mixture that is traditionally topped with a crispy streusel.  If a crisp has a bottom crust, it is called a crunch.  It you want to turn a crisp or a crunch into a betty, the fruit would be layered between slices of buttered bread or bread crumbs and spices.  To turn a crisp into a cobbler, mix up a rough, "cobbled up" biscuit-like topping and plop/drop it on top of the fruit.  For a grunt or a slump (which is very similar to cobbler), cook the berries on the stovetop and listen to them make an unusual grunting sound while they cook, then watch them slump under the weight of the biscuit topping!

PICT0002For the batter

8  tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature (1 stick)

2  cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

2  teaspoons baking powder

1/2  teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2  teaspoon sea salt

1  large egg, at room temperature

1/2  cup milk

2  tablespoons blueberry schnapps

1  tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1  teaspoon pure vanilla extract

zest from 1 lemon

1 1/2  pounds fresh blueberries, about 5 cups

PICT0003For preparing pan:

1 1/2  teaspoons additional salted butter

1  tablespoon additional flour

~ Step 1.  To prepare the pan, butter the inside bottom and sides of a 9" springform pan.  Add the flour. Shake the pan to dust/evenly distribute the flour.  Tap out and discard any excess flour.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

PICT0006For the streusel topping:

1  cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/4  cup firmly-packed, dark brown sugar

1  teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4  teaspoon sea salt

8  tablespoons salted butter, cold (taken right out of the refrigerator) 

PICT0013~ Step 2.  To prepare the strusel topping, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Using a pastry blender and a sharp paring knife, cut the butter into the flour mixture until coarse crumbs form.  

Set aside, at room temperature, while preparing the batter according to the following directions:

PICT0005~ Step 3.  To prepare the batter, in a small bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a 1-cup measuring container, combine the milk, schnapps, lemon juice and vanilla.

PICT0007~ Step 4.  In a large mixing bowl, on high speed of electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, for about 1 minute.  Beat in the egg, then the milk mixture.

PICT0015~ Step 5. Add the flour mixure.  On low speed, beat until a thick batter has formed, about 1 more minute.

PICT0026 PICT0018~ Step 6. Using the spatula, fold all of the blueberries into the batter.

PICT0032~ Step 7. Spoon batter into pan, distributing and spreading it evenly.  Spoon streusel topping evenly over the top of batter.

PICT0005~ Step 8.  Bake on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven 50-55 minutes, or until a cake tester (or toothpick) inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven, place on a cooling rack and cool, in pan, for 1 1/2 hours.

Note:  Prior to unfastening the clamp and removing the sides of the pan, remember to run a sharp knife around the perimeter of the cake, to ensure it is completely free of the sides!


PICT0001An Old-Fashioned Very-Berry Blueberry Buckle:  Recipe yields 1, 9" cake or 8-10 servings.

Special Equipment List:  9" springform pan; pastry blender; paring knife; 1-cup measuring container; hand-held electric mixer; large rubber spatula; cake tester or toothpick

6a0120a8551282970b015433b04b23970c-800wiCook's Note:  Want to make a pie using fresh or frozen blueberries, as well as get my tips on how to freeze blueberries?  Click into Category 6 to get my recipe for ~ The True-Blue, Very-American Blueberry Pie ~!  Perfect for the 4th of July!!!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)


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Hello again Dave! I'm going to fire my two proofreaders and hire you!!! Correction made! PS: When baking powder is past its expiration date, it's one of those things that REALLY IS past the expiration date!

Hi Mel,
I am giving this another shot. The first time my baking power was very old so the result was good but flat and dense :).
I noticed that the sugar is listed here:
"To prepare the batter, in a small bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt." but I think it needs to be kept separate to be creamed with the butter in the next step.
Thanks again.

Good Morning Dave! Thank-you for your comment. I trust you figured out when to add the milk mixture, and, I appreciate very much you pointing out that I, in error, left out four important words! Step 4 has been revised to read: ... beat in the egg, then the milk mixture. Thank-you again! ~ Mel.

I tried making this and wasn't sure when to add the liquid ingredients to the batter.

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