Every summer, I get the same strong craving for cobblers, crumbles, crisps, and, perhaps the least popular of the group, buckles. All of these hinge on ripe, juicy fruit, with something sugary and cakey tagging along for the ride. The best buckles are practically equal parts cake and fruit. Hence the name: As the cake rises in the oven, it buckles around the fruit. In this recipe, there’s fruit in the batter (tossed in flour to reduce sinkage) and in the streusel, which ensures an even distribution throughout. Feel free to play around with the ingredients—say, doing all blueberries, or swapping out the cherries for blackberries or small-diced peaches. You can skip the poppy seeds, if they’re not your thing, or replace them with another seed, like sesame, or even finely chopped nuts. The lemon zest can be replaced with lime, orange, or grapefruit. And about that whole-milk Greek yogurt in the cake batter—lowfat Greek yogurt, sour cream, or crème fraîche would all work, too. This is best the day it’s made, but any leftovers will hold up for breakfast tomorrow. Serve with whipped cream, Greek yogurt, crème fraîche, or ice cream—something perky, like lemon or blackberry, would be great. —Emma Laperruque
Make the streusel topping. Combine the sugar, cornmeal, butter, salt, and poppy seeds in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low until it resembles a cookie dough. Gingerly stir in the fruit by hand. Transfer to a small bowl and stick in the fridge or freezer while you make the cake. (No need to clean the standing mixer bowl or paddle—we’re about to use both again.)
Grease and flour a 9x9-inch baking pan.
Make the cake batter. Combine the butter, sugars, and lemon zest in the standing mixer. Mix on medium speed, scraping with a rubber spatula as needed, until fluffy. Add the eggs and continue mixing on medium speed, scraping as needed, until fluffy. Add the yogurt and mix until incorporated. Add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix. Add the cornmeal and poppy seeds. Mix. Add all but 1/4 cup flour and mix on low until almost incorporated. Combine the fruits in a separate bowl and add the remaining 1/4 cup flour. Stir gently to completely coat the fruit. Add this floury fruit to the cake batter and use a rubber spatula to fold in by hand. Don’t overmix.
Add the cake batter to the prepared pan and use an offset spatula to spread evenly. Top with the fruity streusel.
Bake for about 1 hour, or until a thin knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for about 30 minutes in the pan, or until you can touch the pan without burning yourself. Turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.