Make Ahead

Oregon Bounty Berry Buckle

July 15, 2013
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 8 to 10
Author Notes

Almost everyone has tried crisps and cobblers, but fewer are familiar with the buckle. This is an unfortunate situation that should really be remedied. A buckle is essentially a fruit-laden cake topped with streusel, and it's as yummy as it sounds. This version is inspired by ingredients from the Portland farmer's market. Occasionally on Saturdays my husband and I head to the market for a biscuit sandwich from Pine State and a gibassier from Pearl Bakery. We then meander around the stands and pick out the fresh fruits and vegetables that appeal to us. The bounty from our last visit included some roasted hazelnuts and a half-flat of mixed berries. I decided to incorporate both ingredients into a fruit buckle. I used the buckle recipes from the Joy of Cooking as my starting point. I added hazelnuts to the streusel and swapped buttermilk for regular milk. I thought the hazelnuts would add a delicious layer of flavor and the buttermilk would impart richness to the cake. It took a little tinkering, but the end result was exactly what I'd hoped for. I made several versions with different combinations of berries, and really liked the combination of blackberries & blueberries. It is impossible to chose which is best, so I'd urge you to use the berries that look tastiest at the market. —hardlikearmour

Test Kitchen Notes

As a fourth-generation Oregonian, the title of this recipe alone made me want to test it, if only to see if it does indeed capture the essence of Oregon's epicurean abundance. This buckle completely lives up to its name. The buttery mellow taste of the hazelnuts in the streusel complemented the delightful juiciness of the berries and the moistness of the cake. The cake provided a hint of structure but was not an intrusion on the buttery, nutty, fruity goodness that was the essence of this recipe. I used blueberries because I had them on hand, but I am already looking forward to trying this delicious buckle with any number of berries and combinations thereof. —lmikkel

What You'll Need
  • Hazelnut Streusel
  • 3/4 cup roasted hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • Berry Buckle Batter
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, cold
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 level to slightly less than level pints of berries (translation: it's okay to snack on a few!) Use any kind you like: blueberries, blackberries, boysenberries, huckleberries, marionberries, raspberries, etc.
  1. Hazelnut Streusel
  2. Pulse hazelnuts in food processor until no large pieces remain. This should take about 8 to 10 long pulses.
  3. Add the brown sugar, flour, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Pulse several times to combine.
  4. Add the butter, and pulse until everything is incorporated and the mixture looks damp and clumpy, about 8 to 10 pulses. Set aside until ready to sprinkle on the buckle.
  1. Berry Buckle Batter
  2. Preheat oven to 350º F with a rack in the lower middle position. Butter and flour a 2-inch deep, 9-inch square, 10-inch round, or 11- by 7-inch rectangular pan. Set aside.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk until well mixed, about 15 seconds.
  4. Place butter in a glass bowl or 4-cup glass measure. Microwave for 25 to 35 seconds, until about half melted. Add the sugar, egg, and vanilla to the bowl, then whisk until combined; the mixture should look slightly fluffy. Gradually beat in the buttermilk (if the buttermilk is too cold, the mixture will look a bit curdled, but don't worry. It'll still make a delicious buckle).
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir just until the batter is smooth. Gently fold in the berries (some of them will break and discolor the batter, but it will come out fine in the end).
  6. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading it evenly. Sprinkle with the streusel topping in an even layer. Bake for 40 to 55 minutes (depending on your pan and oven). The top will be golden brown, and a toothpick inserted near the center won't have any batter clinging to it (though it may have berry juice or streusel on it).
  7. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. No one will complain if you add a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream, but it's also good enough to eat plain.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • cholula
  • Tracy
  • Judy
  • joelle
  • Marivic Mabanag
    Marivic Mabanag
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.

50 Reviews

cholula July 6, 2019
Being in Oregon I just had to try this, especially with all the fresh berries in the market now. I mixed tayberries, raspberries, and blueberries. As kind of an experiment, I used Bob's Red Mill paleo baking flour for the buckle batter and his hazelnut flour for the topping. So my buckle was gluten free. Bob's Red Mill is right near me in Milwaukie, OR. It turned out fantastic. It is probably more moist than the regular flour because it is made from almond flour, arrowroot starch, coconut flour and tapioca flour. It took an hour to bake. I would recommend this to anyone that is eating gluten free. :-) very good.
Tracy April 20, 2019
I’m baking this right now with blueberries and blackberries....most anything from Oregon warms my soul! I was a transplant for six years, then my company moved me to the the DC Metro region in 2016.....I miss Oregon and Washington State so much....I can’t wait to return. In the meantime, I’m finding all sorts of blackberry and marionberry recipes I can find...thank you!
Judy August 21, 2016
Made this with 4 c blueberries 1c raspberries, reduced streusel butter as others suggested to 1/4c. It took 70 minutes to bake in glass 9 inch but was perfect. Next time no glass pan. Summer keeper!
joelle August 4, 2016
In fairness, I made substitutions to this recipe, using peaches and almonds instead of berries and hazelnuts. However, while good, it suffered by comparison to the previous weeks' peach desserts (Amanda Hesser's peach tart and peach cobbler using Alice Waters' cream biscuits). Maybe I'm too picky, but I don't think I'd drag out the food processor to make this one again.
Sherry S. August 20, 2015
This was incredible, but halving the butter in the streusel is definitely the way to go.
Marivic M. August 11, 2015
Has anyone tried this for peaches?
hardlikearmour August 11, 2015
Go for it! I've made it with multiple combinations of berries, stone fruit, apples, and pears. I cut the stone fruit into bite size pieces.
Jenn K. July 27, 2015
This is wonderful and came together in about 10 minutes. I made it with 4 cups of freshly-picked blackberries. I only used about 1/4 cup of butter in the streusel, and it worked beautifully so I think I'll stick with that next time... and there will definitely be a next time!
Karla W. April 10, 2015
Mmmm, I'm so excited for huckleberry season this year as I'll be spending the summer up at Olallie Lake! I'm stockpiling recipes and will definitely be making this one. Thanks for the recipe; it looks divine!
Florence L. February 7, 2015
Excellent recipe - the hazelnuts make all the difference! Next time, I'll use half the butter for the streusel (might help them to retain a certain shape and make the buckle less rich) and 3 cups berries. I used 2 cups blackberries but thought there could be more. I might use 2cups blackberries and 1 cup blueberries. You're so lucky in the NW if you can get hold of huckleberries, I bet they would be great in it, too! 45 mins was plenty for my buckle, it was cooked through and had browned slightly too much. But then I used all wholemeal spelt flour which might brown more easily.
jen W. January 15, 2015
Absolutely loved it. Used all blackberries. Just divine.
Samantha December 30, 2014
Can I make the batter and streusel the night before and store them in separate containers in the fridge?
hardlikearmour December 30, 2014
I've not tried it. You could definitely make the streusel ahead, but I think the baking powder in the batter would lose its oomph. You could get the batter ready through step 3, then complete steps 4-6 the next day.
Margie July 21, 2014
WOW - I made this tonight and couldn't believe how wonderful it is. Got rave reviews from everyone. I used all blueberries...yummmm...and the topping is spectacular - the roasted hazelnuts made it. THANK you!!
Me(l)anie July 21, 2014
This looks incredible. I picked a whole bunch of blueberries this weekend and they were just begging to be turned into a buckle. I subbed yogurt (greek whole milk) for buttermilk, because I was impatient and had it on hand. I also added a few twists of freshly ground black pepper to the hazelnut streusel. YUM. Thank you.
Jocelyn G. July 21, 2014
Julie July 20, 2014
Thank you for a wonderful recipe -- just made it and it is great.
nicole June 30, 2014
This is a great recipe. I never heard of buckle before but now I'm a convert!
I baked it for close to an hour in a convection over.
I used pecan in the topping because that's what I had available and used a combo of blueberries and raspberries.
Also I did not have milk or buttermilk in the house so I used the same quantity of 5% cream. I little extra richness! yum, 2 thumbs up from my family & friends. I will make this again
Abbie C. September 9, 2013
Absolutely delicious! My first buckle (never heard of a buckle before), and I will definitely make this again and often! I used raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries from my farmer's market. Thanks for sharing your recipe!
hardlikearmour September 10, 2013
I'm glad to hear it! Buckles are definitely under-represented in the American fruit desserts category.
EmilyC August 11, 2013
This is amazing! My son and I made it this morning, and it was a HUGE hit! I love the generous amount of fruit, and the buttery, nutty streusel (I used blanched almonds since I'm out of hazelnuts). It's going to take a lot of will power to not snack on it all day! We'll definitely be making this often.
hardlikearmour August 12, 2013
Thanks, Emily! I think almonds and pecans would be great, just not very Oregonian. Glad you and your son enjoyed it.
Lorenza August 9, 2013
I was born in Corvallis, all of my parents' families from the northwest. Moved to Indiana when I was nine yrs. old. Summer vacation was 3 weeks long, a trip back west to visit family in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. We always feasted on the splendors of the NW; salmon, shellfish that we had harvested by clam digging and mussell harvesting and setting out crab pots in the waters of the San Juan Islands. Dessert was always berry pie, Boysenberry pie. These are the memories that have led me to find a source in Indiana for blackberries from the NW. The Marionberry is a hybrid developed by hort/ag specialists in the NW. I actually believe they were hybridized at OSU (Go Beavers!!!). It is a berry that is huge, succulent, less seedy than a wild blackberry, and has a flavor beyond compare.. I have found a vendor that sells these berries frozen in 40 oz. bags and I order pounds of them every year. Now to my question; how would the recipe be modified for the use of frozen berries? Buon APPETITO, Lorenza.
hardlikearmour August 11, 2013
I'm an Oregon transplant, and first traveled here when I was 24, and on my honeymoon. For some reason I knew I wanted to move to Portland, though I'd never been, but I had to convince my husband. Oregon is August is pretty much perfection, and we moved out less than a year later. I've only made the buckle with fresh berries, but I suspect frozen will work with an increased cooking time. I'd probably also cover the pan with foil for the first 15 to 20 minutes of baking to prevent the topping from over-browning.
Caren August 2, 2013
Made this tonight with pecan nuts as I had no hazelnuts. First buckle attempt and it is delish!
Mine baked much longer - closer to an hour. Make sure your dish is deep enough!
Will make again
hardlikearmour August 4, 2013
Buckle is definitely a hidden gem in the American fruit desserts category, and I'm happy you tried my version. I've only made it in my 10-inch round aluminum pan, and it's taken 45 min give or take 5 each time. I will edit the recipe for a bigger range of baking time based on your notes.