January 23, 2012


Buckle Up!

You may be asking “what exactly is a buckle?”. I know I was a bit confused about the differences between a buckle, a cobbler, a crisp, a crumble and a pandowdy. Luckily the book “Rustic Fruit Desserts” by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson has all the answers and is chock full of fruity recipes.

When I think of desserts featuring fruit my mind turns to summer and baskets of ripe peaches and plums and all sorts of berries. As I began thumbing through this book I initially thought there wouldn’t be any recipes that I would be interested in at this time of year. Well, I was wrong. The book is divided into seasons and the section on winter lists nearly as many recipes as the one for summer.

I admit that it was the photo of the Cranberry Buckle with Vanilla Crumb that induced me to give this recipe a go. Cranberries seem like such a Thanksgiving thing to me that I rarely think about using them at other times of the year. Luckily I had some in the freezer, left over from when I made a batch of my favorite cranberry sauce.

As for the definition of a buckle: it has a cake batter poured in a single layer, with berries added to the batter. Once baked, the cake has a “buckled” appearance.

Cranberry Buckle with Vanilla Crumb

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, for pan
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Zest of one orange
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup Vanilla Crumb

Vanilla Crumb (makes 2 cups)

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4″ cubes
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine the flour, sugars, salt and butter in food processor or by hand using a fork or a pastry blender. If using food processor, pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Drizzle the vanilla extract over the crumbs and mix to distribute.

Use 1 cup for this cake and store remaining cup and keep in freezer for another cake or crisp. (Crisp or crumble is a baked fruit dessert with a streusel topping, traditionally made with butter, brown sugar, flour and spices)

For the Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9″ square baking pan.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl. Using a handheld mixer, or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and orange 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, then stir in the vanilla. Stir the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Fold in 1 cup of the cranberries.

Spread the mixture into the prepared pan. Distribute the remaining 1 cup of cranberries over the cake and sprinkle the crumb topping over the cranberries.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until lightly golden and firm on top. Serves: 8-10


3 thoughts on “Buckle Up!

  1. What a coincidence…just made Blueberry Buckle last night and was thinking of YOU!!! I cannot wait to try the cranberry version……yum!

  2. Meg-both making buckles-great minds think alike! My favorite buckle is your recipe.

  3. I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your post. I grew up in Texas where fruit desserts were cobblers. Now I live in New Hampshire and Maine where Blueberry buckle is popular.

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