June 27, 2014

Berry Buckle

There's nothing more patriotic than dessert for breakfast for dessert. If you aren't familiar with buckles, that's essentially what they are: a dessert version of coffee cake (which is a breakfast form of cake). As if the nutritional content wasn't American enough for you, the red, white, and blue of raspberries, cake, and blueberries will have you saying 'Murica after the first bite.

Although buckles generally only have enough cake to hold the berries together, I'm a cake girl, and I'm not going to let some silly generations-old definition hold me back. If I'm going to put all the effort into making a cake, I'm going to be able to taste it. However, if you want a traditional buckle, simply increase the amount of berries.

The cake is a basic all-American vanilla cake; it's sweet and buttery and fluffy and perfect. My secret ingredient is some good old-fashioned buttermilk, which adds some extra moisture and offsets the sweetness a little.

This isn't one of those recipes where you have to spend forever whipping egg whites to make the cake fluffy or buy expensive imported vanilla beans (though those would certainly be delicious here if you want to use them). Sometimes the best recipes are the simple ones, which is one of the many reasons why I love this cake.

Now for the berries. It is a berry buckle, after all. I recommend using any combination of blueberries, raspberries, and/or blackberries. For the 4th of July, I went patriotic and used raspberries and blueberries, but you can use whatever you happen to have or whatever your favorites are, as long as they are fresh (I highly recommend not using frozen berries unless you froze them yourself). I suppose strawberries would work as well, but one of the best parts of this buckle is biting into plump, juicy berries. You just don't get that with strawberries, though the flavors would still be delicious.

And what could make such a moist, fluffy cake even better? If you guessed streusel, you are most definitely correct. I know plenty of people who would order coffee cake just for the streusel, and if you're one of those people you might want to double the crumble recipe and just slather it on. I find that the amount I added is enough for some extra sweetness and crunch, but if you're a streusel addict you can definitely add more.

If you really want to give into your sweet tooth, you can mix some chocolate chips into the streusel, too. Dark/semisweet chocolate would go well with raspberries and/or strawberries, and white chocolate would go well with raspberries, strawberries, or blackberries.

To make the cake truly showstopping, top it with some chocolate-covered berries or a chocolate drizzle. This cake can be dressed up or down, but I know I'll be inhaling some in my pajamas while watching fireworks in just a few days!

2 1/2 Cups Cake Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
4 T Butter, Chilled & Cubed
4 T Butter, Softened
1 1/4 Cups Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
Pinch Nutmeg
3 Cups Fresh Berries

Combine 1/2 cup cake flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and the nutmeg. Add the chilled butter and rub in with your fingertips until combined. Chill.

Heat oven to 375F. Line a 10" springform pan with parchment and grease.

Whisk the remaining flour, baking powder, and salt together. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the softened butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla. Add a third of the flour mixture and stir until incorporated, then add half the buttermilk. Add another third of the flour, then the buttermilk, then the remaining flour. Gently fold in the berries with a silicon spatula.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Top with the streusel and bake for 30 minutes or until golden.

Serves 8
Recipe Adapted from Alton Brown

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