Friday, September 5, 2014

Blueberry Cornbread Buckle

Here's another short post for this week for those of you who are still hanging on to the last days of summer- Blueberry Cornbread Buckle!  A buckle, in case you don't know, is a single layer cake that is topped with fruit and a streusel crumb topping.  The fruits sink into the cake as the cake bakes, and the streusel gives the cake a buckled appearance when it comes out of the oven.  This buckle uses my favorite summer flavor combination of corn and blueberry to make a delicious rustic dessert.

The cornbread cake can be made with just a bowl and a hand-mixer, and it comes together very quickly. There's nothing unusual about it; it's just a straightforward cake.  The cake batter is poured into a square pan and topped with sugared blueberries, and is followed by a generous sprinkling of a quick streusel topping. About an hour or so in the oven, and dessert is ready!

This buckle is a fantastic dessert to make for a late-summer gathering, as it can easily feed a crowd and a small piece is a generous portion.  The buckle takes only a few short minutes to mix together, and can be served either warm or at room temperature.  It's delicious when served slightly warm from the oven and topped with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream!  My only criticism about this buckle is that the cake is a little too sweet for my personal taste.  I would probably use a little less sugar next time I make this, maybe lower it down to 1 1/3 cups of granulated sugar, and I think that then it would be perfect. If you like things a little on the sweeter side, then the recipe as written below should be just right! 

This buckle is highly adaptable, and you can swap out the blueberries for any other berry or fruit.  I think a mixed berry buckle would be delicious, and a peach buckle with the cornbread cake would work so well together.  I loved the cornmeal cake portion of this buckle most of all.  I think cornmeal adds such an interesting depth of flavor to everything, in addition to providing some really great texture.  If you haven't tried baking with cornmeal yet, I highly recommend it!  It's become one of my favorite ingredients to play around with.

I really enjoyed making and eating this buckle, and my mom actually really loved it as well.  My sister really liked it, but my dad wasn't too crazy about it (not that this surprised me in any way).  But anyway, I think I've written about all I can right now.  This Florida theme park vacation has got me feeling super tired (in a good way!) and I need to go pass out so that I can do it all again tomorrow.  I've been sharing the highlights of my stay in Florida on Instagram, and while I've been having a blast, I will admit that I miss cooking and baking in my kitchen!  I'll be back home soon enough though, so in the meantime, I'm going to keep taking advantage of every moment of vacation that I have left, and you should go make this Blueberry Cornbread Buckle with what's left of summer's bounty.  Enjoy!

Blueberry Cornbread Buckle
recipe from Food52


For the Fruit

4 cups fresh blueberries, washed and picked through
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

For the Oatmeal Crumb Topping

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and diced

For the Cake

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup buttermilk, shaken


Begin by preparing the fruit.  In a large bowl, toss together the blueberries, 1/2 cup sugar, and lemon zest.  Set aside to allow the fruit to release its juice while you prepare the rest of the buckle and the crumb topping.  To prepare the crumb topping, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and baking soda in a small bowl, mixing slightly.  Add the diced butter and rub the ingredients together with your fingers until small, pea-sized crumbs are formed.  Set the crumb topping aside in your fridge. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly spray and flour a 10" x 10" pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar, vanilla extract, and salt until light and fluffy, about three minutes (I used a regular hand mixer for this).  Add the eggs, one at a time, and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula every so often.  

Sift the flour, cornmeal, and baking powder directly into the bowl with the batter and fold in with a rubber spatula until just combined.  Pour in the buttermilk and mix until just incorporated. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula (or give the pan a few sharp raps against your kitchen counter).

Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the buckle mixture, and then sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the blueberries.  Bake the buckle until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into a cakey area, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Let the buckle cool in the pan for about 20 minutes before inverting it twice onto a serving platter.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Makes 1 10" x 10" cake


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