Grandmother’s blueberry buckle.

OK, so technically this isn’t exactly a ‘buckle’ (which, according to this article, should have a layer of berries on top instead of mixed into the batter). But Grandmother called it Blueberry Buckle, and Grandmother’s copy of Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book, Sixth Edition, 1950, calls it a buckle. So Blueberry Buckle it is.

Anyway, it’s good. And it’s summer. And it reminds me of Grandmother Ruth.

And it’s a great use of fresh blueberries, which are in (a devastatingly short) season right now. I hacked the original recipe a little, reducing the sugar to let the blueberries’ natural sweetness shine and adding a pop of orange zest to the crumble topping. For the win!

You can call it a streusel cake, or a coffee cake, or a buckle. You can eat it with ice cream for dessert, with coffee for breakfast — or over the kitchen sink right before bed. I won’t judge.

blueberry buckle coffee cake recipe

Serves 8–10

For the cake:
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fresh blueberries

For the streusel topping:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray; line the bottom and two sides with parchment paper (leaving an overhang you can use to lift the finished cake out of the pan) and spray the parchment with cooking spray. Dust the pan with flour, shaking out excess. In a bowl, whisk together the sifted flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a bowl using a hand mixer), cream together the sugar and butter. Mix in egg, then milk. Add flour mixture and stir on low speed to combine (batter will be very thick). Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in blueberries. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

To make the streusel: In a small bowl, use your fingers to combine the granulated sugar and orange zest until the sugar is damp and fragrant. Mix in flour and cinnamon. Use your fingers to work in the butter, making sure to completely incorporate it (you don't want any solid bits of butter or loose flour). Squeeze the mixture into a big clump, then break into roughly half-inch pieces. Distribute the topping evenly over the batter. Bake the cake for 45–50 minutes, until topping is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes or so, then run a knife around the pan to loosen the cake, using parchment to lift it onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before serving with ice cream or whipped cream.

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