Blueberries are the ideal fruit to use in a buckle because they sink into the cake batter yet retain their integrity while baking. Numerous varieties are grown in Oregon—at last count, they numbered close to twenty. The season is constantly expanding and currently runs from June until October. The varieties track the season, with the Atlantic, Burlington, Concord, Dixie, Pemberton, and Berkeley offering succulent berries over the expanse of summer. If you are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to taste different varieties side-by-side, you will be able to detect significant variations in sugar content, acidity, and skin texture.

My mother, Cheryl, clipped the recipe from the paper in Burlington, Vermont, in the 1980s, and it has been a well-loved classic in my family ever since. The combination of lemon and buttermilk gives this buckle a zesty edge.


  • Crumb Topping
    • ½ cup all-purpose flour, (2-1/2 oz.)
    • cup sugar, (2-1/4 oz.)
    • teaspoon fine sea salt
    • zest of 1 lemon
    • ¼ cup unsalted butter, (2 oz.) cubed, at room temperature
  • Cake
    • 1-⅝ cups all-purpose flour, (8-1/4 oz.)
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • ¼ tsp baking soda
    • ½ tsp fine sea salt
    • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
    • 6 tbsps unsalted butter, (3 oz.), at room temperature
    • ¾ cup sugar, (5-1/4 oz.)
    • zest of 1 lemon
    • 2 eggs
    • ½ cup buttermilk
    • 2 cups blueberries, (10 oz.), fresh or frozen
  • Lemon syrup
    • cup sugar, (2-1/4 oz.)
    • juice of 2 lemons


1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter a 9” square baking pan.
2. Crumb topping: Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest together into a bowl, then add the butter and use a fork or your fingers to cut in the butter until the size of peas. Place the the topping in the freezer while you mix the cake batter.
3. Cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg together in a bowl. Using a handheld mixer with beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar, sugar, and lemon zest together on medium-high speed for 3–5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Stir in the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the buttermilk in two additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Gently fold in 1 cup of the blueberries, spread the batter into the prepared pan, and distribute the remaining 1 cup of blueberries over the cake.
4. Sprinkle the chilled crumb topping over the berries, then bake for 45–50 minutes, or until lightly golden and firm on top.
5. Lemon glaze: While the cake is baking, combine the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and whisk until blended. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8–10 minutes, until syrupy. The glaze will bubble while cooking, so you may need to remove it from the heat to check that it is thick enough.
6. Pour the glaze over the cake as soon as it is removed from the oven. Reheat the syrup briefly if it has become too thick to pour.


Storage: covered in plastic wrap, the buckle will keep at room temperature for 2–3 days.


Rustic Fruit Desserts


8 servings




North American : United States



preparation times

• Bake: 50 Minutes