It has all the grunts and slumps and pandowdies you'll need, and you don't even have to worry what those names actually mean. They're relics of our sweet American past, and there's little point in trying to neatly categorize them, although we try.
All we need to know is that they're snack cakes -- sweet dough wrapped around seasonal fruit, in all manner of glorious, lumpy guises. They resist definition -- they sprouted up regionally, so your grandmother's buckle is not Martha Stewart's.
But I can tell you about this buckle, sent my way by Food52er Fairmount_market. You make a thick buttermilk batter, fold in sliced rhubarb, and shower it with a frozen, sugary crumb. As it bakes, the rhubarb bleeds into downy cake, and a golden crust puffs and then dips under the weight of the craggy crumb top (okay, it buckles -- happy now?).
"A crucial step is to be sure the crumb topping is completely frozen before scattering on the cake and doing so right before placing the cake in the oven," Richardson told me. "Otherwise the crumb melts into the cake and although tasty, it just doesn't look as spectacular!"
It would be a pretty perfect recipe at that, but the clever Schreiber-Richardson team snuck in a secret ingredient: ginger (times two). There's fiery candied ginger minced up in the crumb topping, and ground ginger in the cake too -- just enough to give it a warm, flirty je ne sais quoi that doesn't try to shout over the rhubarb.
Because, with summer coming, it's all about the fruit. (Although the candy on top doesn't hurt.)
1/3 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon dried ginger 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 3/4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 cup granulated sugar 2 eggs 3/4 cups buttermilk, at room temperature 1 pound rhubarb, trimmed and thinly sliced
Got a genius recipe to share -- from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].
Photos by James Ransom
The Genius Desserts cookbook is here! With more than 100 of the most beloved and talked-about desserts of our time (and the hidden gems soon to join their ranks) this book will make you a local legend, and a smarter baker to boot.
I'm an ex-economist, ex-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."