Lemon Blueberry Buckle

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If you're one of those people who can never decide between a fruit crisp, a cake, a crumble or a cobbler, this one's for you.  They're calling it a buckle, ostensibly because of the way the surface sort of buckles as it cooks, but what I think really sets it apart from other fruit-laden desserts is how it perfects the fruit dessert mashup so wondrously well.  This means that never again will we have to choose...the buckle has it all.

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A quick look at the architecture of our buckle reveals a lemon-scented cake-y base studded with blueberries.  This is topped with more berries and then a crumble layer that settles over those berries and crisps as it bakes.  But wait, there's more!  After our buckle emerges still hot from the oven, it's going to be drizzled with a very lemony glaze, which catapults it into the stratosphere of crazy deliciousness.

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The recipe comes from this lovely little cookbook, "Rustic Fruit Desserts", which is a consistently reliable resource in my kitchen and reflects the kind of cooking I mostly love...simple, rustic and super scrumptious.

We're partial to serving our buckle with a good dollop of our yogurt whipped cream, but it honestly doesn't need any sort of embellishment.  And did I mention we love it for breakfast?  I didn't think so, but at breakfast we eat big bowls of it with lots of creamy yogurt and a scattering of more blueberries.  Life is good.

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I think I forgot to tell you that our blueberry buckle is also pretty simple to create.  There's nothing fancy or complicated, so if you have a few berries lying around and can't decide whether to make a cobbler, a crisp, a crumble or a cake, now you can just make them all!  Here's the recipe...

Lemon Blueberry Buckle

Click here for a printable recipe

This recipe is so perfect as it is, but I did make a couple of changes to the topping by adding a bit more butter to give it better clumping properties.  I also used very cold butter and processed it with the flour and sugar in a small food processor which saves a little time from working it in by hand.  Either way works just fine though.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature, for pan

Crumb Topping
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (2 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
Zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter (see headnote), at room temperature, cubed

Cake
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (8 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups (10 ounces) blueberries, fresh or frozen

Lemon Syrup
1/3 cup (2 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
Juice of 2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan. (I used a 10-inch ceramic tart/pie pan which has the same volume as a 9-inch square baking pan but more surface area for the crumble 😁)

To make the crumb topping, (see headnote) mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest together in a bowl, then add the butter and use a fork or your fingers to cut the butter until the size of peas. Place the topping in the freezer while you mix the cake batter.

To make the cake, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg together in a bowl. Using a handheld mixer with beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and lemon zest together on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Stir in the flour mixture in three additions, beginning and and ending with the dry ingredients and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Gently fold in 1 cup of the blueberries, spread the batter into the prepared pan, and distribute the remaining 1 cup of blueberries over the cake.

Sprinkle the chilled crumb topping over the berries, then bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until lightly golden and firm on top.

To make the glaze, combine the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and whisk until blended. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until syrupy. The glaze will bubble while cooking, so you may need to remove it from the heat to check that it is thick enough.

Pour the glaze over the cake as soon as it is removed from the oven. Reheat the syrup briefly if it has become too thick to pour.

Storage: Covered in plastic wrap, the buckle will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.