This past weekend, The Big Lug and I went cherry picking. That is, cherry picking for tart cherries—Meteor cherries, in fact. Thirty minutes from where we live here in Indiana. It was bliss! Well, almost. But, I’ll leave that little story for my next post and keep you guessing. Ha!
As most of you know, I just adore cherries—especially sour or tart cherries. And, since last year was a cherry drought, I was ecstatic with early reports this past spring that 2013 was looking to be a banner year for tart cherry crops. (Yay, for the farmers!) As you can imagine, I am up to my elbows in cherries with cherry juice splatter everywhere from our cherry loot!
Although I am in full cherry mode to complete two more posts this week (she crosses fingers), I am keeping my promise of sharing a couple more recipes with you from our Fourth of July celebration. And, I am back in the saddle again with berries (I can’t help myself) after taking a week off to share my recipes for Homemade Sweet Cornbread Mix, Sweet Honey Corn Pudding and Baked Beans Cowboy Style, all with gluten-free options.
Of course, it need not be the Fourth of July to make this patriotic inspired and berry studded wonder—the buckle, our Blueberry-Raspberry Buckle. Studded, indeed. This recipe calls for a whopping 4 cups of berries. As long as fresh summer berries can be found, this buckle should be made! And, by patriotic, I am of course referring to the color combination with a “Red & Blue” Berry Cake and “White” Sugar Cookie Streusel.
Note: Cook’s Illustrated calls for baking their Blueberry Buckle in a 9-inch round cake pan; then inverting the cake twice to place on a cake plate. Wicked Good Kitchen frowns on this technique due to the beautiful streusel on top of these buckle cakes. The best way to bake this cake is in a springform pan. To easily transfer cakes from springform pans, we highly recommend using a cake lifter. Please see our Tips section below the recipe for helpful links. As you can see in the image above, the cake was transferred without harming its appearance. It really is a breeze to do, so fear not the cake lifter!
The recipe I am sharing today is my version of the Blueberry Buckle featured in Cook’s Illustrated, the August 2005 issue. After making the Cook’s Illustrated version, my quest for a perfectly moist and buttery buckle was over. The cake is dense enough to hold the berries, but has a light enough crumb to match a good butter cake. The buttery flavor comes through and shines. With no milk, buttermilk or sour cream used, the cake is especially moist.
Recipes are meant to be tweaked to one’s liking. For instance, I like using my own “white sugar cookie” streusel, with extra sugar sprinkled on top, versus a brown sugar streusel from time to time. Also, instead of using ½ teaspoon of fresh lemon zest as called for in the Cook’s Illustrated recipe, I bumped our version up to 2 teaspoons, as well as increasing the vanilla extract, and have not looked back. In fact, when I make a lemon version I bump up the lemon zest even more.
We have enjoyed this buckle recipe over the past 8 years and I have made several different versions. Cranberry is a favorite in the fall and winter months with fresh orange zest and a splash of Grand Marnier®. In fact, we have also used pure almond extract along with the vanilla for a simple twist. One summer, I decided to use part blueberries and part frozen raspberries, in about a 2:1 ratio, and it became an instant favorite. And, the cake turned out so pretty. It was kismet!
The Big Lug’s birthday is in July and I have kept a childhood birthday tradition alive for him throughout our marriage. Since berries are in full swing during July, and Independence Day falls within the same month, he has enjoyed a red, white and blue themed birthday all his life. He loves it. For breakfast and dessert, for my love, I’ve made cakes, cheesecakes, coffeecakes, shortcakes, custards, homemade ice cream, layered parfaits, trifles, zabaglione, you name it—all in the red, white and blue color combination using fresh summer berries.
Now, I hope you will enjoy my recipe for Blueberry-Raspberry Buckle!
What makes our Blueberry-Raspberry Buckle wicked good? A buttery, moist and tender cake chock full of fresh blueberries and raspberries bursting with juicy summer berry flavor and a contrasting crunchy sugar cookie streusel sprinkled with extra sugar on top. We just know that our buckle will rock your sweet tooth world! What’s not to love about that?
- For the “White” Sugar Cookie Streusel
- ¾ cup (90 to 94 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons (75 to 80 grams) granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) salted butter, cut into bits
- For the “Red & Blue” Berry Cake
- 1½ cups (195 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for cake pan
- 1½ teaspoons (7 grams) baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon (3.6 grams) kosher salt
- 10 tablespoons (about 141 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, 1 medium lemon
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs (mine weighted 100 grams w/o shells), room temperature
- 2½ cups (12.5 ounces/about 388 grams) fresh blueberries, rinsed & dried
- 1½ cups (7.5 ounces/180 grams) fresh raspberries that have been washed, dried & frozen or frozen raspberries
- Shortening or favorite cooking oil, for greasing cake pan
- For the Sugar Topping
- 1½ to 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- Special Equipment
- One 9-inch round nonstick springform pan
- Cake Lifter, helpful but not necessary
Tips:Wash, dry and freeze raspberries the night before. Freezing the raspberries is crucial to this recipe. Otherwise, the fragile berries will not hold up to the very thick and heavy cake batter. If you prefer using unsalted butter in the streusel topping, use the same amount of unsalted butter but add a few pinches of salt or omit it. How to Bring Eggs to Room Temperature: Should you forget to bring your eggs to room temperature by setting them out for an hour before starting recipe, do not worry. To quickly bring eggs to room temperature, fill a medium bowl with warm tap water—not hot, but warm so the eggs do not cook. Carefully place the eggs into the bowl of water so they are fully submerged. Allow eggs to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove eggs from water and towel dry. Eggs should now be at room temperature and ready to use in recipe. How to Measure Flour for This Recipe: When measuring flour for this recipe, be sure to use the “dip and sweep method” if measuring by volume with measuring cups. This way, you will get closer to the 195 grams we call for in our recipe. The original recipe by Cook’s Illustrated calls for 1½ cups at 7½ ounces or 212.5 grams total. This translates to 5 ounces per cup or about 142 grams by weight despite the fact that flour manufacturers state 120 grams per cup. When developing our recipe, I call for 195 grams to meet in the middle between flour makers at 180 grams, and Cook’s Illustrated at 212.5 grams, and our cake turns out fabulous each and every time. This tip is provided for home bakers who do not use a kitchen scale to measure ingredients by weight. Sugar Cookie Streusel can be made up to 1 day in advance. Store covered in refrigerator until ready to use. Leftover cake can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature when stored airtight—either in a cake dome or wrapped in plastic food wrap. If serving buckle as dessert, serve slightly warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Optional: If desired, for plating and presentation purposes, after cake has completely cooled carefully slide a chef’s knife under the cake, and slide knife around the circumference, to release it from bottom of springform pan. (Be careful!) I like to use my Nordic Ware Cake Lifter. This nifty kitchen tool works wonders to lift cakes up and off the bottom of springform pans and to transfer to serving plates, platters or cake pedestals or stands. This totally preserves the pretty streusel topping and prevents from having to invert when using regular cake pans. Sur la Table also carries one called Cake and Pizza Lifter at a very reasonable price. Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com