This Blueberry Buckle is an old-fashioned single layer cake, with a tender crumb, juicy sweet blueberries throughout, and a crisp streusel topping. Serve it for dessert or enjoy it at breakfast time with a cup of coffee!
Got extra blueberries to use up? Our classic Blueberry Cobbler is another fantastic home for them.
Years ago, practically in another lifetime, I visited Pennsylvania where my ex-boyfriend’s mother lived. She took us blueberry picking and our bounty ended up in a few desserts, including a Blueberry Buckle. I’ve never forgotten it.
Easy Blueberry Buckle Cake
Have you ever had a blueberry buckle? It’s an old fashioned single-layer blueberry cake with a dense batter, but a tender crumb and a streusel topping. It’s as if a blueberry muffin and coffee cake got married. The cake gets its name from how it bakes – as the batter rises, the berries and streusel weigh it down, causing the top layer to buckle and give it an indented look.
While a blueberry buckle and a blueberry cobbler are both fruit desserts, there is a difference. Cobblers have fruit on the bottom and are typically baked with a biscuit-style topping, whereas a buckle has a streusel topping and a batter and fruit are mixed and baked together to form a cake.
Blueberry Buckle Recipe
This Blueberry Buckle recipe is the one I adore from over two decades ago and my absolute favorite. With a buttery, soft crumb and sweet, juicy blueberries throughout, then finished with a sweet crisp cinnamon crumble, every bite is glorious! Bonus: Great for dessert, of course, but also perfectly acceptable served for breakfast with a cup of coffee!
Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Blueberries: Fresh or frozen blueberries can be used (see notes below.)
- Batter: Granulated sugar is blended together with shortening and butter. Mixed with egg, lemon zest, vanilla, milk, flour, baking powder, and kosher salt. The batter will be thick that needs to be spread, not poured, in the baking dish. The end result is a dense, but moist cake.
- Topping: The topping for this buckle is a traditional streusel consisting of flour, granulated and brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter.
Fresh or Frozen Blueberries
There’s nothing like plump, juicy fresh summer blueberries, but frozen blueberries work well in this cake, too. I often buy fresh blueberries when they’re in season and freeze them for later. If using frozen berries, do not thaw them first to avoid discoloring the batter, and gently fold them in. You’ll likely need to increase the baking time by 5-10 minutes. Watch the cake and tent with foil if the topping is over-browning.
- Use a different berry: This recipe works well with almost any other fruit. Try small raspberries or blackberries, chopped up peaches or strawberries. Delish!
- Double the recipe: Feeding a crowd and need extra cake? You can double all the ingredients and bake it in a 9×13 pan. It should cook for the same amount of time, but all ovens run differently. It’s finished cooking when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Make muffins instead: This blueberry buckle cake recipe can be converted into muffins. Fill lined muffin tins 3/4 way full, top with the streusel, then bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
Tips for Success
- Measure the flour correctly: Spoon and level, don’t scoop. Too much flour will lead to a dry cake.
- Make the streusel topping first and chill: Prepare the streusel and place it in the fridge, while you make the cake batter. Chilling it, then breaking it into pea size crumbles will result in a nice crunchy topping.
- Use butter and shortening: A 50/50 ratio of butter and shortening will produce the most tender, soft crumb.
- Don’t over-work the batter: This is a dense cake where the batter doesn’t rise very much, but it should still be moist and tender. Over-working the batter will make it even more dense.
Blueberry Buckle is wonderful warm right from the oven, but leftovers store really well.
- To Store: Store leftover cake, covered, at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- To Freeze: Allow baked cake to cool completely, then store in an airtight freezer-safe container in the freezer. It will keep for 2 months. You can freeze it whole or individually wrapped slices. If thawing the entire cake, let it sit in the fridge overnight. If thawing a single slice, it can just thaw on the counter. NOTE: The streusel topping will lose its crispness after being frozen.
How to Make Blueberry Buckle
This is such an easy homemade coffee cake. Simply prepare the topping, make the batter, sprinkle the streusel on top, bake, and serve! To make this blueberry buckle recipe, follow the steps below included in the printable recipe card. Make sure to refer back to the article for all the helpful tips, variations, and storage info.
More Blueberry Recipes:
- Blueberry Cobbler
- Blueberry Baked Oatmeal
- Lemon Blueberry Scones
- Blueberry Hand Pies
- Luscious Blueberry Smoothie
FOR THE TOPPING
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cold butter , cut into small cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
FOR THE CAKE
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 2 tablespoons butter , softened
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour , spooned and leveled
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 3/4 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen, see note)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×8-inch pan.
- For the topping: Using a fork, pastry blender, or your hands, combine all the ingredients until you have pea size crumbs. Place in the fridge while you make the cake batter.
- For the cake: In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the sugar, shortening, and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, lemon zest, and vanilla until combined, smooth, and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir into the butter/shortening mixture, alternating with milk, mixing until just combined. (Batter will be thick.)
- Fold in the blueberries, then spread batter evenly into the prepared pan.
- Remove topping from the refrigerator and break it up into tiny pieces, then sprinkle evenly over the cake batter.
- Transfer pan to the preheated oven and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
- Cut into squares and enjoy!
- NOTE: If using frozen berries, do not thaw them first to avoid discoloring the batter, and gently fold them in. You'll likely need to increase the baking time by 5-10 minutes. Watch the cake and tent with foil if the topping is over-browning.
- VARIATIONS: Instructions included in the full article for doubling this recipe or converting into muffins.