Old-Fashioned Summer Berry Buckle Recipe

Buckle cakes are a classic dessert that was first prepared by early American settlers. A buckle is basically a moist cake filled with juicy, ripe fruit and topped with a buttery, crumbly streusel. The settlers would use any kind of fruit that was in season, but these days we have so many frozen and canned fruit options that we aren't limited to just fruit that is currently growing. Because of this, you can make this old-fashioned summer berry buckle recipe from developer Jessica Morone any time of year. But it is also a great way to use up all the fresh berries that are in season during the summer months. 

The best thing about this recipe, according to Morone, is that "Buckle cakes are super easy to make. They don't require a lot of ingredients, they come together really quickly, and this cake is great for breakfast or dessert. Plus, you can make it even more decadent if you top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream." Since this cake can be served at room temperature and is sturdy enough to travel well, you can also take this cake to a picnic or to any outdoor events in the warmer weather, making it the perfect summer dessert. 

Gather the ingredients for this old-fashioned summer berry buckle

Start by gathering the ingredients to make this summer berry buckle. For the cake, you will need flour, baking powder, salt, butter, sugar, an egg, milk, lemon zest, and mixed berries. For the topping, you will need some more flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and more butter. Morone advises that the berries can be fresh or frozen. If they are frozen they do not need to be thawed first, they can go straight into the batter frozen. For the berries, she used a combination of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, but you can use any combination of berries that you like best.

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Step 2: Grease a pan

Grease a 10-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Step 3: Combine dry ingredients

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Step 4: Combine butter and sugar

In a medium bowl whisk together the melted butter and granulated sugar until combined.

Step 5: Add remaining wet ingredients

Add in the egg and milk and whisk until smooth.

Step 6: Combine wet and dry ingredients

Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.

Step 7: Fold in lemon zest and berries

Add the lemon zest and about two-thirds of the berries to the bowl and fold them gently into the batter.

Step 8: Spread batter into the pan

Spread the batter evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Step 9: Top with remaining berries

Sprinkle the remaining berries on the top of the batter. Set aside.

Step 10: Make the topping

Add the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and butter to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand.

Step 11: Spoon topping onto the batter

Spoon the streusel topping evenly over the top of the batter in the pan. Press down gently.

Step 12: Bake the buckle

Bake the buckle in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, until the streusel topping is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step 13: Cut and serve the buckle

Let cool, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and release the sides of the springform pan. Cut and serve the buckle.

What can I use if I don't have a springform pan for this recipe?

This recipe calls for a springform pan to bake the cake, the main benefit of which is that you can easily remove the cake from the pan without damaging it. However, there are many other options for baking this cake if you don't have a springform pan. You just need to bear in mind the standard measurements of cake pans, think about how choosing a different type will affect the depth of the batter, and be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly. 

You could put this volume of batter into a 9-inch square baking pan and it will have a similar baking time to the 10-inch round springform pan. You can also use regular round cake pans, but the bake time will be different depending on the size used. A 10-inch round cake pan will have the same bake time as the springform pan. A 9-inch cake pan would also work for this recipe, but with a smaller pan, you'll need to decrease the baking temperature to 350 degrees and bake it for about 15 minutes longer. 

Anytime you use a different type of pan for a recipe, just make sure to keep a careful watch on the doneness of the cake while it bakes. To make the cake easier to remove from non-springform pans, you can line the bottom with parchment paper and generously grease the sides of the pan.

What is a buckle and how is it different from a fruit cobbler, crisp or crumble?

There are a few fruit-based desserts that might seem similar but are all unique and have certain defining characteristics. One thing they have in common, though, is that while this buckle recipe calls for mixed berries, you can use any fruit in these types of desserts. A buckle cake has a moist, fluffy cake batter that is mixed with fruit with additional fruit piled on top and then topped with a buttery crumble topping. While the cake bakes, it "buckles" around the fruit, causing some indentations in the top of the cake, which is where it gets its name. 

A buckle is different from a cobbler, which keeps the fruit base and a biscuit or cake-like topping separate till baking, rather than mixing the fruit and cake batter together. A crisp has a fruit base with a crunchy topping of flour, butter, sugar, and oats. And a crumble has a fruit base with a crunchy topping that doesn't usually involve oats. A buckle is a bit like all the best aspects of a fruit cobbler and a crumble at once since it has fruit, cake, and also a crumbly topping.

Old-Fashioned Summer Berry Buckle Recipe
5 from 6 ratings
This old-fashioned cake recipe dates back to Colonial times and offers the perfect combination of moist cake, lots of fresh berries, and a streusel topping.
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
50
minutes
Servings
10
slices
sliced old fashioned summer berry buckle
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Ingredients
  • For the cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 16 ounces (about 3 cups) mixed berries, fresh or frozen
  • For the streusel topping
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Grease a 10-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk together the melted butter and granulated sugar until combined.
  5. Add in the egg and milk and whisk until smooth.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.
  7. Add the lemon zest and about two-thirds of the berries to the bowl and fold them gently into the batter.
  8. Spread the batter evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining berries on the top of the batter. Set aside.
  10. Add the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and butter to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
  11. Spoon the streusel topping evenly over the top of the batter in the pan. Press down gently.
  12. Bake the buckle in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, until the streusel topping is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  13. Let cool, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and release the sides of the springform pan. Cut and serve the buckle.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 446
Total Fat 15.4 g
Saturated Fat 9.2 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 57.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 73.2 g
Dietary Fiber 2.3 g
Total Sugars 41.9 g
Sodium 253.5 mg
Protein 5.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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