Best of the Season: Blueberry Nectarine Buckle - Sweet Potato Chronicles - Sweet Potato Chronicles

Best of the Season: Blueberry Nectarine Buckle

Ever had a Sonker? How about a Slump? Or a Grunt? Do you even know what I'm talk­ing about? (Oh, that poor Ceri Marsh, she's finally lost her mind. Too lit­tle sleep and too many Dr. Seuss books and Wozit-in-my-Closet, she cracked up.) No, seri­ously, they're desserts –old fash­ioned Amer­i­can desserts that are sim­ple and make the most of summer-ripe fruit. I first came across a Slump in Amanda Hesser's excel­lent Cook­ing for Mr. Latte. I have no idea why they all have such hilar­i­ous names. The best I've heard so far is Boy Bait. You know that's com­ing soon, right? But this week, we meet the Buckle.

pho­tos: Maya Vis­nyei

Hello, Buckle! We've got a lot more blue­berry recipes com­ing up on SPC but I couldn't resist pick­ing some up this week. We eat blue­ber­ries all year but when the lit­tle, wild local ones are in the mar­kets and gro­cery stores you really have to make the most of it. They're insanely flavour­ful and just put those big, watery things you eat in Jan­u­ary to shame. I'm def­i­nitely going to buy extra this year and freeze them while they're in sea­son. I par­tic­u­larly love the com­bi­na­tion of peach with blue­berry so I was all over this nec­tarine blue­berry Buckle recipe in the Sono Bak­ing Com­pany Cook­book. I've made a few things from this book and while the recipes always lean hard on but­ter and sugar, they're always excel­lent. Clearly it's why they're excel­lent. Buck­les are moist, sin­gle layer cakes, often made with fresh blue­ber­ries, with a streusel top­ping. It was easy-peasy to make. I only used about half the streusel top­ping that the orig­i­nal recipe called for — it was just too much in my mind — so I've halved it here.

This cake would be great with a cof­fee in the after­noon but we took it to a bar­be­cue and it was a big hit with the kids. That could be because the six of them took upon them­selves to dec­o­rate it with red cur­rants and flow­ers from our hosts' gar­den, a cou­ple of straw­ber­ries from the fruit salad and some curly gift-wrapping rib­bon. It made quite an impres­sive pre­sen­ta­tion. Pride in their work aside, they seem to love the Buckle.

Streusel Top­ping

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cin­na­mon
1/4 cup (half a stick) cold, unsalted but­ter, cut into small cubes


1 1/4 flour
2 tsp bak­ing pow­der
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted but­ter, room tem­per­a­ture
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups blue­ber­ries
2 cups diced nec­tarines (1÷2 to 1 inch dice), about 2 nec­tarines
Confectioner's sugar for dusting


Pre­heat the oven to 35o degrees.

Mix the dry ingre­di­ents in a bowl. Using your fin­gers, quickly pinch the but­ter into small pieces, work­ing it into the dry mix­ture. Keep toss­ing the pea-sized pieces of but­ter in the dry ingre­di­ents until you have a crumbly tex­tured meal. Pop it in the fridge while you whip up the cake.

Blend together the flour and bak­ing power together in a bowl. Set aside.

Whip the but­ter, sugar and salt with an elec­tric mix­ture for 2 to 3 min­utes until it is very light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla. On a low speed, add the flour mix­ture until just com­bined. Don't over mix! Fold in the fruit.

Pre­pare a 9 x 13 bak­ing dish with a bit of but­ter. Place the bak­ing pan on a cookie sheet in case some fruit juices bub­ble over the edge. Pour the bat­ter into the pan and use the back of a spoon to smooth it out. Sprin­kle the streusel over the top.

Pop the bak­ing dish on the cookie sheet into the oven. For 30 to 35 min­utes. Half way through cook­ing time, turn the dish around and put it back it the oven. This is a tip you see a lot of seri­ous bak­ing recipes and allows for uneven heat in your oven. The cake is done when a tester comes out clean (but it will be damp as the cake is very moist) and the top­ping is nicely browned. Place on a wire rack to cool. Dust with confectioner's sugar before serving.



  1. Julia says:

    I love tra­di­tional dessert like this. Sim­ple but sooooo good! Now I need to look up what a Grunt is…

  2. Amy says:

    Oh, this looks del­ish!! Will def­i­nitely be try­ing it. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Tory says:

    I love blue­ber­ries and this recipe pic­ture makes my mouth water, I will be mak­ing this soon! Thanks for your lovely blog.

  4. Ceri Marsh says:

    Thanks! Let me know how it goes for you! It's really so easy. It's mak­ing me miss sum­mer just look­ing at it again!

  5. Lynda says:

    I also have this cook­book and love it. The blue­berry sour cream muffins is the best recipe ever. I put car­damom in it and it's heaven. I made this recipe yes­ter­day with some beau­ti­ful black­ber­ries from the farmes mar­ket but I feel like the amount of flour is not nearly enough. Maybe my but­ter was just too warm but it seemed to me that it needed at least 1 3/4 cup of flour if not 2 cups. We'll still eat it b/c the money spent on such beau­ti­ful berries but we had to bake it an extra 20 mins b/c so much but­tery goo and then have put it in the fridge .

  6. Ceri Marsh says:

    Hi Lynda,
    Thanks for your feedback.

    I just had another look at the recipe in the Sono book and the amounts are cor­rect. To be hon­est, it's been awhile since I've made this buckle so I can't recall if I needed to bake it a bit longer. I don't think so or I would have included it in the post (which I orig­i­nally wrote last sum­mer). And I'm sure it's not your oven — sounds like you're a pretty seri­ous baker so you would know if your tem­per­a­ture was off!

    So… I won­der what hap­pened? Maybe, as you say, your but­ter was softer? Are black­ber­ries more wet than blue­ber­ries? In any case, I hope it wasn't too frus­trat­ing. I hate it when you're really look­ing for­ward to the final prod­uct and it's a let down!

    Now I'm going to have to make those muffins!

    Thanks for reading!


  7. Jannie says:

    Thank you / won­der­ful recipes!!

  8. […] Blue­berry Nec­tarine Buckle seems like the per­fect sum­mer dessert to […]

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