It’s berry season yet again! This time, it’s blueberries. Every year, we go to a local farm and pick up 5-10 pounds of blueberries at least once. Some years we go through 20 pounds or more! And, of course, every year we try to find new and interesting ways to use them. Especially when they’re fresh, though we do end up freezing a lot of them to use throughout the year.
I love blueberry muffins. I often make blueberry compote, to put on pancakes or to use as a filling for something like these turnovers. (I give you a rundown on how to make the compote here.) I’ve made blueberry pancakes. I’ve made blueberry scones. I make all sorts of tasty baked goods, but I’m always looking for more ideas.
A few years ago, I found a recipe for a blueberry buckle. This was back before I doubled down on baking as a hobby/career, so I was a lot more casual about it. I tried the recipe, and it just didn’t quite work. It was bland, it was stodgy, and I didn’t really know what went wrong. So, I shelved the idea.
Come to think of it, what even is a buckle? Well, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, it’s “fruit and cake blended together, with a streusel topping.” There aren’t distinct layers, the fruit is just mixed in with the cake. The streusel sort of hardens and gives the top a buckled texture.
Honestly? It’s a tea cake with a topping. There are so many distinct names for very similar desserts that it ends up being a pain to keep track of them all. It’s just a cake, with fruit in it, and some tasty cinnamon-sugar on top. But you know what? I’m fine with it. Armed with that knowledge, I found a new recipe, tailored it to my tastes, and made a damn delicious buckle-cake.
I will say that, when I was making the recipe initially, I was missing one of the ingredients it called for. I had to work around it, but work around it I did, and the results are delicious. Honestly, I think my version is better.
What was the ingredient? Lemon zest. Blueberries and lemons go together hand in hand, so a lot of blueberry baked goods use lemon to flavor the dough. I’ve always found that lemon zest just doesn’t have the punch I want (and my partner is always a little disappointed, no matter how strong it is). So, this time around, I used lemon extract. The cake ends up with a pleasant lemony flavor that isn’t overpowering, pairs well with the blueberry, and remains delightfully fluffy.
It’s rare that I think one of my recipes turns out perfectly (I always make little tweaks every iteration) but this one? I wouldn’t change a thing.
Oh, and the icing on top isn’t part of the recipe below, because it’s optional. It’s just a simple mixture of lemon juice and powdered sugar, so it should be easy to whip up if you want it.
- Stand Mixer
- 9" Springform Cake Pan (Or 8×8" Baking Dish)
- Mixing Bowls
For the Cake
- ¾ Cup Granulated Sugar
- ¼ Cup Unsalted Butter Softened, + a bit extra to grease your pan
- 1 Egg
- 2 Tsp Lemon Extract
- 1½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 2 Tsp Baking Powder
- ½ Tsp Salt
- ½ Cup Milk
- 2 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour For coating berries
- 2 Cups Fresh Blueberries If frozen, thaw and dry well
For the Topping
- ¼ Cup Butter Cold
- ½ Cup Brown Sugar
- ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Tsp Cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Grease your pan thoroughly with butter. I used a springform cake pan for ease of access, but an 8×8" baking dish works fine.
- Toss the blueberries in the two tablespoons of flour to coat them. This helps prevent them from just sinking to the bottom of the cake during baking.
- In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In your mixer's bowl, cream together the softened butter, sugar, egg, and lemon extract. Mix until smooth.
- Slowly add the flour mix and milk to the creamed wet ingredients, a little at a time, mixing until just combined.
- Gently fold the blueberries into the batter.
- Spread the batter evenly in the cake pan. Don't shake to settle, or you'll sink the berries. Just spread it as evenly as you can.
- In another bowl, combine the topping ingredients (cold butter, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon) until it achieves the texture of wet sand.
- Sprinkle the topping over the top of the batter.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes. You know the drill; test with a skewer or knife and keep it going if any batter sticks to it.