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Old Fashioned Blueberry Buckle Recipe

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We are baking with blueberries today. This blueberry buckle is fast, easy and LOADED with juicy blueberries. The cake is ultra-tender and moist with just a hint of lemon that lets the blueberries shine. The streusel topping is thick, crisp, and gives a sweet, caramelized crunch to the top of the cake. It is a great way to use fresh blueberries in a dessert or snack cake and it is perfect for blueberry season.

A slice of blueberry buckle cake on a dessert plate.

This is bound to be one of your favorite recipes. Add it to your rotation for blueberry desserts along with our blueberry banana bread and blueberry rhubarb pie.

Why Do They Call it a Blueberry Buckle?

A buckle is an old-fashioned recipe for a coffee cake with a streusel topping and fresh berries baked inside. Typically, the topping weighs the cake down while it rises in the oven. The weight of the topping prevents some areas of the cake from rising completely, giving it a crumpled, buckled look.

We did not skimp on the streusel topping. Since there is such a thick, heavy layer of the crumb topping, you won’t see a lot of ‘buckle’ unless you spread it unevenly.

This coffee cake makes a great snack or sweet breakfast but it also makes an excellent after-dinner dessert. For a more portable blueberry dessert, check out our blueberry coffee cake muffins.

The Ingredients:

The crumb topping is loaded with oats, flour, brown sugar, and almonds. A dash of cinnamon and a pinch of salt enhances the flavors then it gets blended with butter until it looks like damp sand. When the topping bakes, the butter, and brown sugar melt into a caramelized buttery, cookie-like topping.

Here are the ingredients for the blueberry buckle cake.

  • Blueberries. There are a LOT of blueberries in this recipe. Don’t be tempted to add more than what the recipe calls for. More blueberries will create too much moisture which will give the cake a gummy, rubbery texture.
  • Sugar. Use regular granulated sugar in the cake.
  • Flour. This recipe works well with all-purpose flour. You can use cake flour if you have it on hand.
  • Butter. Use the kind of butter that comes in sticks. If you use spreadable butter that comes in a tub then the cake will not have the right texture.
  • Eggs. Let the eggs come to room temperature before you add them to the batter.
  • Salt. Add the salt even if you use salted butter. Salted butter doesn’t have enough salt in it to replace the additional salt in the recipe.
  • Baking powder. Make sure your baking powder isn’t old.
  • Vanilla. A small amount of vanilla extract will enhance the flavors tremendously.
  • Lemon zest. Fresh lemon zest adds just a hint of lemon and complements the blueberries.

How to Make This Retro Blueberry Cake:

Here is a quick breakdown of the recipe. For detailed instructions make sure you scroll down to the printable recipe card.

Two photos showing how to make the batter for blueberry buckle.

Step 1

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Step 2

Combine the dry ingredients then fold them into the butter mixture.

Two photos showing how to fold blueberries into cake batter.

Step 3

Fold the blueberries into the batter.

Step 4

Spread the batter into a cake pan.

Two photos showing how to make a streusel topping and spread it on a blueberry cake.

Step 5

Combine the ingredients for the streusel topping.

Step 6

Spread the topping over the cake and bake.

Tips For Success:

  • Fresh blueberries work best in this recipe. Frozen blueberries release more juices when they bake than fresh blueberries. The extra juices from frozen blueberries can make the cake too moist and give it a rubber-like texture. If you want to use frozen blueberries, I suggest you cut back on the amount and only use 2-3/4 cups or even less.
  • When you add the flour, do not mix the batter with an electric mixer. A mixer can over-beat the flour and form gluten that will make the cake tough and rubbery. Just fold the flour into the batter with a wide spatula.
  • The cake batter is very thick. Fold the blueberries into the batter gently so they don’t break apart and release the juices into the batter.
  • Blueberry buckle tastes great warm or cold but I recommend serving it while it is still warm.
A slice of blueberry buckle cake with a cup of coffee in the background.

Storing this Blueberry Buckle Coffee Cake:

You can keep this cake on the counter for two days. If it isn’t consumed before that then you should refrigerate or freeze the leftovers. It will keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days or in the freezer for 6 months.

If your blueberries are especially juicy, you may find that the cake gets too moist if it sits for more than a day. The increased moisture is more likely to accumulate if you store it in an airtight container in a warm kitchen. If your kitchen is warm, keep it lightly covered or store it in the fridge.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I make sure the blueberries don’t sink?

Blueberries are more likely to sink if the batter is thin and runny. The batter in this blueberry buckle recipe is very thick and will keep the blueberries suspended in the cake. If you want some extra insurance to prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the cake, you can toss them in some flour before you fold them into the batter.

Why did the cake batter turn purple?

The batter will turn purple if the blueberries break open and release their juices. Make sure to fold the blueberries in very gently. If you use frozen blueberries, make sure you keep them frozen until it is time to add them to the batter.

A fork scooping up a bite of blueberry buckle cake.

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Some Other Recipes We Are Sure You Will Love:

These blueberry spelt muffins are a bit healthier than your average muffin. The spelt flour gives them a boost of healthy whole grain and a hint of nuttiness.

This blueberry banana baked oatmeal is a great way to serve breakfast or brunch to a large group. It is fast and easy to make.

These mini blueberry tarts are fast and easy to make. We used puff pastry for extra simplicity and the pastries get baked in muffin tins.

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A slice of blueberry buckle coffee cake on a dessert plate.

Blueberry Buckle

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

A tender, delicate cake packed to the limit with juicy blueberries then topped with an amazing crunchy streusel.

Ingredients

Streusel

  • 1/2 cup (62 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) oats
  • 3/4 cup (125 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds

Cake

  • 1-1/2 cups (312 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup (133 grams) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (about 18 ounces)

Instructions

For the Streusel

  1. In a large bowl combine the brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon and salt. Using a pastry blender or clean hands, cut in the butter until the mixture has lumps the size of peas.

For the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and Spray an 8-inch square cake pan or a 9-inch round pan with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl and set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula and beat in the vanilla and lemon zest until combined.
  3. With mixer running at medium speed, add eggs one at a time; scraping down the bowl after each egg (at this stage the mixture might look curdled)
  4. Add the flour mixture and stir the batter with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl until the flour is fully blended. The batter will be very heavy and thick. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the blueberries.
  5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. Pour the streusel over the top of the cake batter.
  6. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 55-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes before slicing (if you can’t wait for it to cool, just dig in but it will be more delicate and crumbly while it is still hot).

Notes

  • You can use frozen blueberries however fresh blueberries work better. Since the frozen blueberries release more moisture, the cake tends to come out heavy when you use frozen berries. You can minimize the problem if you reduce the frozen blueberries to 2-3/4 cups.
  • If you do choose to use frozen blueberries, make sure you keep them frozen until you add them to the batter.
  • The batter is very thick. Make sure you fold the blueberries in very gently or they will break apart in the batter.
  • Use the correct size cake pan. An 8-inch square pan and a 9-inch round pan hold approximately the same volume. Either pan will work. If you use an 8-inch round pan you should remove a cup of batter and make a couple of cupcakes.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 327Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 428mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 6g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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This post was originally published on September 16, 2014. I had just completed the Tour de Blast bicycle ride and the post talked about that ride. I updated the photos and changed the post so it is more relevant to the recipe. Highlights of the bicycle ride are below.

The ride was just over 82 miles round trip into the blast zone of Mt. St. Helens. Our highest elevation at Johnston Ridge viewpoint was 4,314 feet however throughout the hilly course of the ride we climbed a total of 6,240 feet.

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Jan Eckland

Wednesday 17th of June 2015

Oh my! I was wondering what I could do with that big basket of blueberries sitting in my fridge -- Voila! Thank you :)

Dahn

Wednesday 17th of June 2015

Oh yes you wont regret this, I make it every year with the fresh blueberries. Thanks for the comment Jan and enjoy the buckle.

Juliana

Wednesday 17th of September 2014

First, congratulations on your bike ride...indeed very impressive as I am not a sporty person...and even think that I am allergic to all kind of exercise...I know that it is not good, therefore I try to do more walking... The blueberry buckle looks fabulous, I love that is packed with berries... Hope you are having a great week Dahn :D

Dahn

Wednesday 17th of September 2014

Thank you so much Juliana, and keep up the walking, thats great exercise!

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