Recently, I served this blueberry buckle to my students who arrived in the morning for a long Neapolitan Pizza Making Intensive. They loved this coffee cake so much that they devoured it for breakfast and, after making and eating several pizzas for lunch, the pizzaiolos pleaded for another slice for dessert. Even my Republican and Democratic friends, who do not see eye to eye on election issues or candidates, can agree wholeheartedly on one thing: this summery delight is a winner.
Like most “buckles” this coffeecake is loaded with fruit that is just held together with cake dough. The dough is scented with lemon rind and tenderized with buttermilk. Then the streusel topping is scattered over the whole thing and when the cake has baked in the oven for awhile, you can see the crisp crust start to buckle (hence the name). The last thing you do to this dessert, after you remove it from the oven, is drizzle the top with warm lemon syrup. I wish I was the genius who came up with this idea, but alas, I must give credit for this recipe to Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson and to David Leibovitz for his adaptation. The syrup does not make the cake too sweet, in my opinion. It does add moisture and it really brighten the taste of the blueberries. I prefer to use the large Maine blueberries for this dish. They tend not to crush as easily as the small ones and they were in abundance at the farmer’s market this past week-end.
Just a few tips: Try to use organic lemons as you will be grating the rind into your sugar. Make sure all your cake dough ingredients are at room temperature before you begin. If you don’t have fresh blueberries you can substitute frozen ones. Just don’t thaw the blueberries before you add them to the mix. The cake is best served the day you make it, but you can leave the cake out at room temperature for two days and, though the top will not be as crisp, the cake will still be delicious.
WATCH JILLYANNA’S APPEARANCE ON WCSH6 BELOW OR CLICK HERE:
- 4 tablespoons (55g) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
- 1/3 cup (45g) all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- zest of two lemons (organic if possible)
- 11/2 cups +2 tablespoons (230 g) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder, preferably aluminum free
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature
- 3 cups (11/2 pints, 475 g) large Maine blueberries
- 1/3 cup (65g) sugar
- juice of 2 medium lemons (6 tablespoons, 90 ml) strained
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9 inch square cake pan.
- Make the topping by crumbling together the butter, sugar, flour and cinnamon with your hands or a pastry blender until the pieces of butter are broken up and are about the size of small peas. Set aside.
- To make the batter, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest together until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, stopping the mixer a few moments after you add each egg to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a medium-sized bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add half the flour mixture. Then stir in the buttermilk.
- Add the remaining flour mixture, mixing just enough so it's just barely incorporated. Remove the the mixer bowl from the machine and using a flexible spatula, gently fold in the blueberries, just until they are incorporated. Do not overmix. You don't want to smash the blueberries if you can help it.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Evenly distribute the topping over the blueberry batter and bake until the buckle is lightly browned on top and feels just set in the center; it will spring back lightly when you touch the center. This should take 55 minutes.
- When the buckle is almost finished baking, make the syrup by heating the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, cooking it until it thickens. The consistency will be like warm maple syrup and should take about 5 minutes.
- Remove the buckle from the oven. Using a tablespoon, drizzle the warm lemon syrup over the topping, letting the syrup soak in. Serve the buckle when it is cool enough to slice.