Crisps and cobblers are fairly common fruit desserts and, when you hear either one mentioned you probably have a clear idea of what to expect. Buckles fall into the same general category, but get a lot more questioning looks when mentioned than some other fruity desserts. A “buckle” is a fruit-laden cake that gets its name from the fact that the added moisture from all the fruit can actually cause the cake to “buckle” a bit in the center. While cake batter is what gives the cake substance and structure, the dessert should have a very high fruit content. Buckles also often have a slightly crispy topping of sugar or a thin layer of streusel.
Sill loaded with fresh blueberries after making my bluberry tart, juicy blueberries were my fruit of choice for this buckle. Fresh or frozen will work equally well here. The only thing to look out for with frozen berries is that you might need an extra minute or two of baking time since there are quite a lot included in the batter and, as a result, it will go into the oven quite cold.
I also opted to give this a healthier twist by using some whole wheat flour in the batter. The slightly nutty flavor of the whole grain goes quite well with the blueberries, and the tender/grainy texture that can sometimes be associated with whole grain flour works well in a dessert that should be tender and fruit-filled anyway. Still, I did use part all purpose flour in my batter to balance everything out. If you have white whole wheat flour, you can use that in place of the whole wheat-all purpose combination that I used. I also used all purpose in the streusel topping. Whole where will work there, as well.
Everything came together well, a good balance of fruit and enough batter to hold it together and make it slice-able. It had a good whole grain flavor, but still had a light texture. The buckle isn’t too sweet, thanks to the very slight natural tartness of the blueberries – and I have to admit that I love how many berries are in this dessert. This is a good dessert when it is served warm with ice cream, but makes a great coffee cake, as well.
Whole Grain Blueberry Buckle
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup milk (low fat is fine)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
2 tbsp butter, very soft
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square (or 9-inch square) baking pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in melted butter, milk, egg and vanilla extract. Stir well, mixing until no streaks of flour remain. Stir in blueberries and pour into prepared pan.
In a small bowl, make the topping. Whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in butter until mixture is crumbly and sand-like. Sprinkle evenly over batter.
Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack for at least 20-30 minutes before serving. Can be served warm or at room temperature.