So, here’s the thing about this buckle: I actually developed the recipe, photographed the results, tweaked, and photographed again almost two months ago. That is why the photos are of a buckle filled with currants (as opposed to raspberries — which is what it’d be filled with had I developed the recipe a few days ago — or, blueberries — which is what you’d find if it had been developed a few weeks ago). Currants, I have to say, make for a super special buckle and one I would highly recommend trying out next time you find yourself facing currants in the market. With that said, you are in for a treat if you fill this buckle with just about any berry. When I say this buckle (in my opinion) is one of the lightest, moistest, and fluffiest, berry-laden, brown sugar breakfast cakes around, I’m not even exaggerating.
And I know buckles. The first buckle I ever had (and subsequently made) was my mother-in-law’s (aka “nonnie’s”) blueberry one. It is a childhood favorite of my fanatical blueberry-loving husband, and really is delish. So much so, that I developed a version of blueberry buckle for matt and nato and in the process made (and enjoyed) many a buckle in the name of research. Earlier this summer, however, when staring down a ton of currants, buckle is not what I immediately imagined (it was ice cream, jam, and shortbread bars, if you must know). But my husband (the grower of currants) requested buckle, and I didn’t feel I had the right to say no.
Now funnily (or not so funnily) enough, after developing this recipe, but prior to posting it, I noticed kind-of-a-lot of very recent buckle recipes popping up in the food blogosphere, and I was both heartened (and annoyed) that the, ahem, competition and I were on the same tip. But like I said before, this cake is special. It is creamed for kind of an inordinate amount of time, making it super light and fluffy; has heavy cream and lots of brown sugar in the batter – making it uber-moist; and, like all good buckles, is filled with an extremely generous amount of berries. there’s a big glug of vanilla in there and the buttery crumb also calls for brown sugar (i’m into brown sugar – obvs). yes, you will find lots of yummy buckle recipes around this summer, and i encourage you to try them all. just start with this one, okay? you might just find yourself in fruit-laden brown sugar breakfast-cake heaven (aka enjoying the buckle to end all buckles).
Mixed Berry Buckle
For the crumble
- 3 sticks unsalted butter cold
- 3 cups light brown sugar
- 3 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1 tsp salt
For the cake
- 4 cups of berries currants, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or a combo
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup 1 stick, unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. spray and paper and spray again a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Set aside.
To make the crumble
- Cut the butter into small cubes. Set aside.
- Place all of the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and whisk to combine. Add the butter, and using your hands, incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients, until a variety of different sized crumbs form (some big, some not) and there is no more loose flour or sugar. Place the crumble in the refrigerator.
To make the cake
- Place the berries in a medium sized bowl and lightly spray with cooking spray. Toss with 1/4 cup of the flour until all of the berries are coated. Place in the freezer until ready to use. If cooking spray is not your thing, you can skip it. I call for it, as it helps the flour to stick to the berries, and thus prevents the berries from sinking.
- Place the remaining 2 3/4 cup of flour, the baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl and whisk to combine.
- Cut the butter into pieces, and place in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter on medium-high until smooth. Stop the mixer, scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula, reduce the speed to medium, and add the vanilla all at once, and the sugar gradually, stopping the mixer and scraping down the bowl periodically, until all of the sugar is added.
- Increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high, and cream the butter and sugar for at least 5 minutes until quite light and fluffy, stopping and scraping occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium, add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the dry ingredients in three installments, alternating with the heavy cream, and beginning and ending with the dry. Scrape the bowl after the second addition of the dry. Stop creaming all together when the batter still has a bit of dry flour throughout.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and add three cups of the berries. Using a rubber spatula, fold the berries into the batter. Place the batter in to the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes (this stint in the fridge also prevents the berries from sinking to the bottom of your buckle).
- Remove the chilled batter from the fridge and transfer it to your prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining cup of berries over the top of the batter and cover the berry layer with the crumble, pinching the crumble between your fingers to form large crumbs.
- Place the buckle in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 and bake for another hour, or until a toothpick comes out with only a moist crumb or two, rotating the cake halfway through the baking time.
- Let the cake come to room temp before slicing it and serving. Or serve it warm with a dollop of whipped cream. The cake is very moist and will last on the counter for a few days, tightly wrapped. The slices also freeze well and can be reheated in a 350-degree oven, wrapped in tinfoil.