This is the recipe that earned me the nickname “g-ma.” The recipe came from my own g-ma, who made dessert every night when my mom and her sisters were growing up. According to my grandfather, a meal was not a meal without dessert, and blueberry buckle was one of those desserts.
After feeding my mom’s family for years, blueberry buckle finally made its first appearance in Los Angeles at my last job, where I made it for my co-workers. Apparently it was very grandmotherly of me to bake for work, so the nickname stuck.
A buckle is just a basic coffee cake, but with a cuter name. There’s the cake base, cinnamon sugar topping, and the fruit. You can use any kind of fruit (well, almost kind—watermelon would be a bit weird), but blueberries are the standard in my family. The blueberry version is also what I made for the last Eat My Blog bake sale, where I’m happy to report it sold out within the hour. In fact, the buckle was gone before my chocolate whoopie pies, which surprised the heck out of me. Who knew Angelinos would be so mad about coffee cake?
The below recipe, made in a 13-by-9 pan with 3 cups of blueberries, will result in about a 2-inch thick, blueberry-heavy slice, almost like a cake bar. My grandmother’s original recipe called for 2 cups of blueberries and a 9-inch square pan, which made a more traditional, cake-y hunk of coffee cake. When blueberries are cheap and in season, I prefer the thinner blueberry-y version, but if a pint of blueberries cost as much as a nice steak at the grocery store, my grandmother’s version is just as tasty.
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons salt
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup shortening
½ cup milk
3 cups blueberries
½ cup sugar
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup butter, softened
Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 13-by-9 baking dish.
Combine all topping ingredients in a small bowl, pressing with fork or pastry blender to combine.
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large mixing bowl, cream sugar and shortening with electric mixer—the result will be a bit clumpy. Add egg, mix to combine. Alternately mix in flour mixture and milk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl occasionally, and mixing until smooth.
With a spoon, gently fold in blueberries. The batter will be very dense, so go easy on the berries!
Spread into greased dish. Crumble topping over surface of cake and bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Once cool, cut into squares and serve! I usually get 10 big slices for dessert, or you could cut it into 12 or 15 for smaller, afternoon coffee size snacks.