buckle

I am beyond excited that summer produce season will be upon us before long.  Cherries, peaches, watermelon, corn, tomatoes, eggplant…I could go on and on talking about the fruits and veggies I’m looking forward to eating over the next few months.  Above all else though, summer berries – specifically blueberries, strawberries and raspberries (in that order) – are my favorite.  Sweet and juicy, and at their peak, requiring nothing more than a simple wash before they can be enjoyed.  This year I want to head to local farms and pick a ton, stashing as many as possible in my freezer for the long winter months.  Blueberry picking season doesn’t start until July here, but I’ve been seeing Florida berries in our stores for the past few weeks and haven’t been able to resist picking up a few pints.  They were so good I ate many of them as is, but I did save a single pint for baking.

buckle

I searched my cookbooks and magazines extensively before deciding to go with this blueberry buckle.  I’ve made plenty of crisps and crumbles, but never a buckle, which is basically a blueberry coffee cake with a streusel topping.  The thing I love most about this cake is that the blueberries are the star – it’s not cake with a few blueberries, it’s blueberries with cake to provide support and structure.  This blueberry buckle was great for breakfast, but top it with a scoop of ice cream and it’s an amazing dessert too!

I only had 2 cups of blueberries so I halved the recipe below and baked the cake in my 6-inch pan.  The baking time was just a few minutes shorter than the suggestion for the full-size cake.

buckle

Blueberry Buckle
from Cook’s Illustrated

Streusel
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, softened

Cake
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup (4 3/4 oz) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 cups fresh blueberries (about 20 oz)

To make the streusel: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, both sugar, cinnamon and salt on low to combine and break up any brown sugar lumps.  With the mixer still on low, add the butter and beat until it is completely incorporated into the dry ingredients, about 2-3 minutes – the mixture will resemble wet sand.  Transfer the streusel to another bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 F with a rack in the lower third of the oven.  Line the bottom of a 9-inch round pan with a round of parchment, then spray the parchment and the pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder together then set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Beat in the vanilla.  Add the eggs, on at a time, beating well after each addition.  With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture, beating until just about incorporated.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish stirring – the batter will be very thick.  Gently fold in the blueberries.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan; spread in an even layer.  To top with the streusel – pick up a handful of streusel and squeeze to form a clump.  Break this large clump into smaller pieces and sprinkle over the batter.  Continue until you’ve used all of the streusel.  Bake for about 55 minutes, or until the streusel is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool for 15-20 minutes.  Run a thin knife around the edges of the cake then invert it onto the rack.  Remove the parchment then turn the cake streusel side up and let cool on the wire rack.