There are all kinds of desserts out there that can feature fresh berries, from pies to cobblers, and one type that you should add to your repertoire (if you haven’t already done so) is a buckle. A buckle is a fruit-laden cake that gets its name from the fact that there is so much fruit that a cake might seem to “buckle” under the weight of it all. You can make a buckle with almost any kind of fruit, but the cake base is particularly good for soaking up the juices from ripe berries. My kitchen has been overflowing with berries lately, and a bunch of particularly juicy blackberries inspired this Blackberry Buckle.
The butter is cut into the flour mixture before the wet ingredients are added. This step ensures that you will have a very tender cake, but it serves another purpose as some of the flour-sugar-butter mixture is set aside to serve as a crumb topping for the cake. This adds a slightly sweet, crisp topping to the dessert and makes it even more addictive. The batter can easily be made by hand, but using a food processor to mix everything will make the process even faster.
The cake of the buckle has a nice butter and vanilla flavor to it and is an excellent background for the juicy blackberries. I used a whole pound of fruit in this dessert, and you can see from each slice that you get a lot of berries per serving! Fresh fruit is ideal for this dish, but frozen fruit can be substituted if that is what you have on hand. If using frozen, do not defrost the fruit before incorporating it into the batter and keep in mind that your buckle might need an extra few minutes in the oven while baking.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into pieces
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk (any kind)
16 oz blackberries
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and whisk together. Add butter and rub in to flour mixture, until mixture is sandy and no pieces larger than a small pea remain.
Remove 1/2 cup of the mixture and place it in a small bowl. Set aside.
Add egg, vanilla extract and milk to the large bowl and stir to combine.
This can all also be done in a food processor, cutting in the butter by pulsing the blade, adding the wet ingredients and whizzing everything together to form the batter.
When batter comes together, fold in the blackberries.
Pour batter with berries into prepared pan. Sprinkle with crumb mixture that was set aside in the small bowl.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. (8-inch pans will take slightly longer than 9-inch pans).
Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.