Big Little Recipes

5-Ingredient, One-Bowl Blueberry Buckle? Yes, Please.

August 10, 2021

A Big Little Recipe has the smallest-possible ingredient list and big everything else: flavor, creativity, wow factor. That means five ingredients or fewer—not including water, salt, black pepper, and certain fats (like oil and butter), since we're guessing you have those covered. This week, Great American Baking Show winner and Big Little Recipes guest columnist Vallery Lomas is sharing an ultra-simple, ultra-smart cake from her upcoming cookbook, Life Is What You Bake It.


What’s a buckle, anyway? It often gets lumped into the same category as cobblers, crisps, and crumbles, but it’s really its own thing—a simple, buttery cake filled with lots of fruit, like berries or peaches. When baked, the batter sinks and creates little craters, or buckles, around the berries on top. That’s how this dessert gets its cute name.

The exact origin is a bit unclear, but it seems that Americans have been making buckles for centuries. They’re definitely an old-fashioned dessert, but that really just makes them a classic. Like high-waisted jeans and tie-dye shirts, I think buckles are ready for their comeback.

I started making this dessert after going blueberry-picking with friends in southern Louisiana. We came home with buckets of berries and needed something to do with all of them. One of my oldest friends, Grace, is to thank for this crave-worthy recipe, part of my forthcoming cookbook, Life Is What You Bake It. The simplicity of this one-bowl dessert, with its caramelized edges and sunken center and jammy berries, makes it a must-bake for my family every year.

Photo by TY MECHAM. PROP STYLIST: OLIVA BLOCH. FOOD STYLIST: SAM SENEVIRATNE.

Buckles are most commonly made with blueberries, and for good reason. Blueberries have the perfect amount of tartness to balance the sweet, dense cake. This recipe works beautifully with fresh or frozen, so use whatever you’ve got. I love frozen blueberries because they’re preserved at their peak, so they’re dependably delicious. But fresh berries—especially when they’re in season, like right now—are also great. With a high butter content, the cake comes out moist and tender, with crispy edges.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“This was easy to assemble and in no time at all the buckle was baking. The edges were slightly crisp and buttery, the inside soft and bursting with blueberry goodness! Delightfully different than Grams and so good. I will be making this one again. Thank you. ”
— Jenni P.
Comment

What’s more? It couldn’t be easier to make, or more satisfying to eat. You only need five ingredients (and you probably have most—if not all—of them in your kitchen already). One is self-rising flour, a Southern pantry staple, but don’t worry if you can’t find it: Instead you could just swap in 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1½ teaspoons of baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon of salt.

Blueberry-picking is a great activity to do with kids, and it’s gratifying to show them how to transform something they picked into a delicious baked good. You can refrigerate the buckle, covered, for up to 3 days, but it’s best on the day you make it, ideally while still warm from the oven. Just don’t forget to serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

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Vallery Lomas

Written by: Vallery Lomas

9 Comments

Angela August 25, 2021
Anyone know what the backsplash tile is? Glass tiles? Stainless tiles? Thanks!
 
JoyGim August 25, 2021
It looks like classic subway tiles, ceramic. Ann Sachs has the most beautiful tile collections but you can also find them at Home Depot depending on your budget:)
 
Laura August 15, 2021
any chance I could make this gluten free? --- how?
 
Linda August 15, 2021
I have made this twice and it is delicious however each time the blueberries have sunk to the bottom. What am I doing wrong….I want it to look like the picture. HELP
 
Kavita C. August 19, 2021
You could toss the blueberries in some flour so they don’t sink.
 
ustabahippie August 11, 2021
This looks so good! I can’t use self rising flour cuz too salty. How much baking powder and how little salt can I get away with.
 
Jenni P. August 11, 2021
So made this buckle with my tastebuds imagining my grandmother’s version. This was easy to assemble and in no time at all the buckle was baking. The edges were slightly crisp and buttery, the inside soft and bursting with blueberry goodness! Delightfully different than Grams and so good. I will be making this one again. Thank you.
 
ShaunaF August 11, 2021
Made this last evening. Delicious!!
 
JoyGim August 10, 2021
Oh I can’t believe you’re making Blueberry Buckle, my Swedish Aunties always made this for me as a child, so good