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January 23, 2012

Blueberry Buckle Streusel Cake

by Anne Paddock

Up until a few years ago, blueberries were only available in late summer. To take advantage of the bountiful supply, August menus were filled with blueberry laced recipes: muffins, pancakes, cake, pie, cobbler, and buckle. No one ever got tired of blueberries but just as quickly as the blueberries arrived and just as we were able to fully appreciate how incredible these special berries taste, they would disappear and we would have to wait a year to see them again.

 Blueberries used to always remind me of a film called “Same Time, Next Year” with Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn about two people who would meet once a year at the same time for a romantic tryst.  They could always count on seeing each other once a year but it was short, sweet and gone…kind of like blueberries.
Times are different and blueberries are now available year round (although New Jersey or Michigan grown blueberries are especially delicious during the summer months).
One of my favorite blueberry recipes is what I call a “Blueberry Buckle Streusel Cake” which is a variation of a “Blueberry Buckle” recipe found in Cooks Illustrated several years ago. My version of this recipe doesn’t quite have enough blueberries to be called a buckle and I add more cinnamon, lemon zest, and baking powder to make a higher and lighter cake. My friend, Matisse calls this cake “Bounteous Buckle.” Simple to make and heavenly to eat, I especially love this cake on a cold snowy morning with a cup of coffee or tea.
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar (don’t substitute dark brown sugar)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces
  • Combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt with a mixer on low speed.
  • Add the butter pieces to the mixture and mix on low speed for about 3 minutes. The streusel will look like dry sand and will not come together.
  • Set aside.
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
zest from 1 lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups of blueberries
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Whisk the flour and baking powder together and set aside.
  • Cream the butter, sugar, salt, and lemon zest with a mixer for 2 minutes.
  • Add vanilla to the butter mixture and blend.
  • Add eggs one at a time to the butter mixture until completely blended in.
  • Add the flour mixture and blend using the mixer for about 15 seconds (flour will be almost blended in but not completely).
  • Stir the 2 cups of blueberries gently into the batter. The batter will be very thick.
  • Spread the batter gently into a greased non-stock 9-inch cake pan.
  • Take the streusel by small handfuls and clump together by closing you hand. Place the small clumps on top of the cake batter. Pour the last remaining streusel crumbs over the top.
  • Bake for approximately 45 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool for 15-20 minutes.
  • Slice and serve.
The best thing about this cake is you don’t have to wait until August to make it.

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