Buckle up for fruit dessert the easy way

Your car – and highway road signs – yell at you to “Buckle Up!” Your boss, gym coach, sports instructor, insist you “Buckle Down.”  And the buckle on your belt just wants to make a fashion statement.

How about, instead, you “buckle in” to some of the easiest, tastiest, first-of-the-season fruit dessert treats, the berry buckle. A buckle is the simple joining of a cake batter with fruit. In spring and summer, fresh berries are in season and perfect for a buckle. But frozen fruit will do very well, too, if your buckle taste continues into cold weather.

An old-fashioned dessert, the buckle closely resembles its siblings, the cobbler, the crisp and the brown betty, and very little distinguishes them unless you’re into the nitty-gritty, petty-picky differences.

The buckle, I think, has a more forgiving versatility and is a bit easier to make. Just plop cut-up fruit or berries on top of cake batter and bake.

Go ahead. Buckle down and buckle in to the following quick recipes and take advantage of the fresh tastes of the season.


Deliciously sweet and tart and old-fashioned

4 C fresh or frozen (and defrosted) blackberries, washed
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 Tbsp. butter
11/4 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 C milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl combine the blackberries, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, lemon juice and 1 tsp. of vanilla extract. Set aside.

Put butter in a two-quart baking dish and place the dish in the oven to melt the butter. While it warms, combine the flour, ¾ C of granulated sugar, and the baking powder in a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine the milk and vanilla. Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture just until combined.

When the butter is melted, remove the pan from the oven and swirl carefully to coat the pan bottom. Pour the batter over the butter. The melted butter will spill up around the edges but you want that for crispness. Don’t stir it in.

Sprinkle the blackberries evenly over the top and gently press them into the batter. Bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining sugar on top and continue baking 5 minutes more or until the buckle has turned to golden brown. Serves 8.


Adapted from EatingWell.com

11/2 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C milk
11/2 C unsweetened applesauce
1/2 C light olive oil or canola oil
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
11/2 C raspberries, red or black, or blueberries, fresh or frozen
11/2 C halved and pitted sweet cherries, fresh or frozen
2 Tbls sliced almonds
2 tsp. light brown sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch baking dish or springform pan with cooking spray. (If using frozen fruit, let stand for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to partially defrost before folding into the batter.) Whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Whisk milk, applesauce, oil, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla in a medium bowl until blended.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently fold until blended. Sprinkle berries and cherries on top and fold just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with almonds and brown sugar (if using)

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool for about 30 minutes before serving. Will serve 8.



The topping turns this treat into a coffee cake

3/4 C sugar
1/4 C shortening
1 large egg
3/4 C whole milk
2 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 C blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Additional shortening and flour to prepare the baking pan
1/2 C sugar
1/3 C flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 C butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and shortening until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until blended. Then add the milk and mix again until blended. In a separate bowl, sift together the 2 Cs flour, baking powder and salt. Fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture slowly until blended. Fold in the blueberries. Grease and flour a 9×9 or 8×10 pan. Spread the blueberry batter evenly into the prepared pan.

To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour, and cinnamon. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over the cake mixture in the pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes for an 8×10 pan or 45-50 minutes for a 9×9 pan (until cake tester comes out clean). Adjust the cooking time accordingly for other size pans. Serve warm or cold, plain or with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Makes 8-10 servings.

By Jean Redstone

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Swedesboro NJ
June 29, 2022, 11:34 pm
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