Lemon Blueberry Buckle

Prep 30 mins
Cook 45 mins
Add'l 1 hr 15 mins
Total 2 hrs 30 mins

Tangy Lemon Blueberry Buckle is packed with juicy blueberries and topped with a sweet lemon crumb. If you’ve got fresh or frozen blueberries to spare, try making this easy cake!

Blueberry buckle on a white plate with eggs, milk and nutmeg in background.

Now that we have 5 pets (yes, 5), I no longer have any privacy. Seriously. 4 cats and 1 dog equals zero alone time. I can’t go to the restroom without paws coming under the bathroom door and it’s even worse when I try to take a bath. All they want to do is sit on the sides of the tub and watch me or drink the water. It’s creepy. 8 kitty eyes staring at you as you shave your legs? Strange. And while closing the door can keep 3 of them out, one of them is too damn smart and learned a long time ago how to open doors.

Surprisingly the only time I find myself not being pestered by a furry body is in the kitchen. I don’t know if it’s because I look like a manic twister in the kitchen or because while I am walking around I tend to walk on tails, but I am almost always alone in the kitchen. I wonder if it will stay the same way when I have kids one day? One could hope! So since the only place I can find peace in my house these days is the kitchen, you can bet that I have been spending many afternoons trying out new recipes like this delicious Lemon Blueberry Buckle Cake!

Old Fashioned Blueberry Buckle

Last year I stumbled upon a recipe from 2009 that I bookmarked for when blueberries would be at their peak this summer (they’re only $1 a pint at the farmers market)! I love the flavor combination of the tangy lemon with the sweet blueberries. Plus, the lemony crumb on top of the moist and fluffy cake is absolutely amazing.

Light, tender, and full of fresh fruit, this easy cake is perfect for summer! If this is your type of cake, don’t wait to try it. Blueberries are only at their peak for a couple more weeks (at least here), so make sure you add it to your menu quick!

If you are looking for more easy ways to incorporate some fresh summer produce into your recipes, check out my homemade Blueberry Scones, No-Bake Summer Berry Icebox Cake, buttery Blackberry Cobbler.

What is a Buckle?

A buckle is a fruit-filled cake that is topped with some kind of a streusel or crumb. Like coffee cakes, they tend to be denser than most cakes. They are great for summer breakfasts and desserts!

These cakes are called buckles because they “buckle” when cooked. Before baking, the cake is topped with fresh fruit and streusel. Then, when the cake starts to rise, these toppings weigh the cake down, causing the batter to rise around the fruit.

A slice of blueberry buckle on a white plate.

Recipe Ingredients

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this easy blueberry cake:

  • Butter
  • Sugar
  • Lemon Zest & Juice: Adds a tangy flavor to both the cake and crumb.
  • Flour: I used all-purpose.
  • Salt
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder
  • Nutmeg
  • Oil: I used vegetable oil.
  • Eggs
  • Blueberries: Either fresh or frozen.

How to Make Lemon Blueberry Buckle

There are two parts to making this easy cake: preparing the crumb and making the cake. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Make the crumb. Start by whisking the flour, salt, sugar, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Then, add the butter (cutting it until it is in pea-sized pieces). Once everything is mixed, cover and freeze the bowl while you start making the cake.

Prepare your equipment. Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9″ square baking pan.

Start the batter. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Then, in either a stand mixer or a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until the mixture is light and fluffy (this should take between 3 and 5 minutes). One at a time, add the lemon juice and eggs to this bowl, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you add each ingredient.

Combine both mixtures and add the blueberries. In thirds, add the flour mixture to the stand mixer bowl, alternating with the oil. Once everything is well combined, gently fold in most of the blueberries (make sure to save some for the next step).

Assemble the cake. Spread the batter into the pan and top with any remaining blueberries. Then, sprinkle the crumb topping over the berries.

Bake. After 20 to 25 minutes of baking, rotate the pan so that the cake bakes evenly. Continue baking until the top is firm and lightly golden, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (from when you first placed this cake in the oven, this should take 45 to 50 minutes). Once cooked, remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool until it reaches room temperature.

Tips for Success

Although this cake is easy to make, baking with fruit can be tricky. Here are a few tips for making the best homemade buckle:

  • Use fresh blueberries: While you can use both fresh and frozen blueberries for this recipe, I think that any recipe tastes better when you use fresh produce. If you do decide to use frozen blueberries, keep in mind that while the cake will have all the same flavors, the color might be slightly off.
  • Make sure to top the batter with blueberries before baking: This step is absolutely key for making this recipe. The effect the extra fruit on top has on the way the cake rises is what makes this a buckle.
  • Once the cake is in the oven, set a timer for 20 to 25 minutes: Since the cake takes 45 to 50 minutes to bake, make sure to rotate the pan between 20 and 25 minutes after placing it in the oven. This ensures an even rise throughout your cake.
Blueberry buckle on a white plate with a napkin, eggs in an egg holder and freshly grated nutmeg.

How to Store

To store this cake, make sure that you first allow it to cool completely. Once cooled, it can be stored at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. Just make sure that you cover in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container.

Can I Freeze This?

Yes, when properly stored, you can freeze this blueberry buckle cake for up to 3 months! Just allow it to come to room temperature, place it in a freezer-safe airtight container or bag. You can either freeze it in individual slices (in which case, make sure to wrap each one in parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together), or you freeze the entire cake.

How to thaw this cake will depend on how you froze it. If you froze the entire cake, just thaw it in the fridge overnight. If you froze individual slices, you can either thaw them in the fridge or on the counter for a few hours.

Yield: 8 servings

Lemon Blueberry Buckle

A slice of blueberry buckle on a white plate.

Lemon Blueberry Buckle is a crumb-cake-like dessert filled with sweet fruit! If you've got fresh or frozen blueberries to spare, try out this tangy, spongy cake!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • Crumb Topping:
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • Cake:
  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Zest and Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, divided
  • Crumb topping, chilled

Instructions

Crumb topping:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Add the butter, using a fork or your fingers to cut in the butter until it is reduced to the size of peas. Loosely cover the bowl, and place it in the freezer while you mix the cake batter.

Cake:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter, three-fourths cup sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  4. Stir the flour mixture into the bowl, a third at a time, alternating with the oil, until both the flour mixture and oil are evenly incorporated into the batter. Gently fold 1 cup of the blueberries into the batter.
  5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and distribute the remaining blueberries evenly over the top of the batter. Remove the crumb topping from the freezer and sprinkle it over the berries.
  6. Bake the cake until it is lightly golden and firm on top, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through for even baking. Remove the cake from the oven and cool to room temperature. The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days, covered in plastic wrap.

Notes

Adapted from The LA Times

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 386Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 352mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 2gSugar: 32gProtein: 3g

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Comments

34 Responses
  1. Alex

    This is absolutely my favorite summer recipe ever! This buckle is the first thing I ever made from your blog, and whenever I make it people totally love it! It is so good with the blueberries I grow in my backyard. It is sweet and tart and fresh and delicious. Thank you for this gem!

  2. Angela@RecipesFromMyMom

    When we have blueberries on hand I tend to make lemon blueberry scones but your buckle cake might just take over that most-baked position now. Totally agree with your choice to not do the glaze but incorporate lemon into the batter. I just started following you on Twitter (I’m @bakers_mad) and loved your observation about blogger cliques :]

  3. Katie

    Oh yum – this looks fantastic! I have only recently heard of the term “buckle” in relation to baked goods…was I under a rock? Probably. But seriously, lemon + blueberry is wonderful!

  4. Beverly

    We have a bucket full of blueberries in the freezer and this looks so yummy. I may have to part with some of my berries for this one.

  5. Rachel

    The recipe looks very good! I have a question…where did you get your egg holder? I have been looking for one for awhile. Thanks!

  6. Joanne

    My parents’ dog is like that with my brother. Where he goes, she goes. I think her ultimate place of happiness is on the couch with him all day long.

    I wonder whether blueberries EVER reached their peak here since they were always about 5 dollars a pint. So worth it for this cake though. I love that lemon blueberry flavor combo!

  7. ErinsFoodFiles

    Awesomely enough, if I go into the bathroom and Jesse comes in behind me and sees what I am about to do, he just turns around and walks out. Not sure what that says about me but….

    Anyways, onto more appropriate subjects. Awesome buckle you got goin on there!

  8. Leslie

    Jessica–Your blog is so beautiful and so are your photos! I am excited to try this cake–it will be perfect for when we have company. Love the addition of lemon. In my book, lemon makes everything better!

  9. jaclyn

    i’ve got a blueberry buckle in my post queue! i am obsessed with blueberries in desserts. your buckle looks scrumptious, and i have that little ceramic egg crate, too!

  10. Paula at Dishing The Divine

    What a perfect summer treat! I love having blueberry plants – it means I can finally make desserts like this without feeling like I’m breaking the bank! 🙂

    1. Jessica

      Blueberry plants? I am so jealous! Now if you tell me you also have Raspberry plants…I might have to come over and steal a ton of berries! haha 🙂

  11. Jill

    While I’m not normally a fan of fruit in stuff, this looks delicious. I have some blueberries in the fridge, this might need to be how I use them!!

  12. Daniel

    oh no, you didn’t pour the glaze! It is in the cook book. Okay, so seriously do this… juice of 2 lemons (those two you zested) and 1/3 cup sugar. Combine and bubble on stove over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes. Pout syrup over cake as soon as it is out.

    1. Jessica

      Thanks Daniel, but I did not want to add the glaze. 🙂 I ended up including some lemon juice into the cake batter instead of placing it on top of the cake! I personally liked it better that way.

  13. Daniel

    I just made this recipe yesterday. It is so delicious. Found it in “Rustic Fruit Desserts” cook book by Schreiber and Richardson. I love that lemon glaze and all that zest! Check out that book though, seriously some of the best recipes, and so seasonal.

  14. Jessica

    Could I talk you into bringing some of that up to good ol’ Idaho for me? I just don’t feel like putting any effort into breakfast this morning, and that looks fantastic. 🙂

  15. Jessica @ Sushi and Sit-Ups

    This looks delicious! I love how sweet blueberries are right now. I can’t get enough of them.

  16. Sasha @ The Procrastobaker

    This looks jam packed with blueberries, other recipes skimp a little i think, and so moist n basically down right delicious! Very tempted to try it out. I loved your story at the beginning, really made me smile as i can totally relate (a nosey sausage dog in my case). I really love your blog, your writing style, photography and recipes, one of the main blogs that inspired me to start up my own. Thank you 🙂

    1. Jessica

      Thanks for all those kind words Sasha! 🙂 Hearing I helped to inspire someone to start their own food blog is awesome!! Off to go check it out now!

  17. Jen @ BeantownBaker.com

    I love blueberry buckle. The recipe I use doesn’t have lemon in it, but it’s such a great combo I’m definitely going to have to try it. I’m not as lucky as you. My two cats hang out by my feet when I’m in the kitchen…

  18. Nicole @ itsfeedingtimeatthezoo

    I love the name buckle, I love eating buckle, and I really love looking at buckle. Gorgeous blog and gorgeous pictures!

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Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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