Sweet Treats

Warm Berry Buckle + Ice Cream

Ages ago, before I brought this blog into existence, I toyed around with starting a cooking blog under the title “Bright Red Notebook.”

Why the title? Because just about all of my recipes in progress live in the bright red Moleskine notebook I almost always have in my purse or backpack.

It’s one of my most prized possessions. It’s where I’ve jotted down recipe and food notes from my trips abroad, where I’ve started outlining the ideas and inspiration behind what are now some of my favorite dishes, and where I keep my most treasured recipes, some even written in there by family and by friends we’ve made while traveling. The kind of recipes they can’t always remember because they never bothered to write down and have to recite out loud while writing.

Lots of amazing things that I would love to share with all of you live in this little notebook. It’s from here that they gradually make their way into my little home “test kitchen” and then to this blog.

And while I’ve shared a lot of them, there are more still to come. One of these days, I’d love to make a cookbook out of all the things that live in this notebook and the stories of where they came from and how they came to be. My mom’s beautiful Christmas cinnamon rolls. The fish ‘n’ chips tacos and stout cupcakes inspired by our last trip to London. Our friend Oksana’s birch apple compote inspired by her childhood in Ukraine, which she shared with us while we were hiking in Norway. The Korean Dakgangiong {sticky spicy chicken} friends in Seoul taught me to make during my visit.

And the beautiful blackberry buckle my parents’ neighbors in Houston taught my mom to make when we came back from the lake with baskets of blackberries.

It’s blackberry season here in Virginia, and we just came back with a loaded basket! So it’s time to put them to good use and make blackberry jam, sparklers and spritzers, tarts and galettes, and a whole host of yummy things. But first, buckle.

“Buckle” is a short-bread-ish cakey bit of sweet goodness topped with berries and a glorious sugary crispy crust, and if you serve it with ice cream, it tastes like a bit of heaven. To make it, you make a layer of cake batter with sugared berries that is supposed to come out of the oven with a “buckled” look. Hence, buckle.

It tastes like something in between a sweet fruit bar and a coffee cake, so I think you’re fully justified in snacking on it at any time of day. It goes great with morning coffee and it’s lovely in the afternoon with a big scoop of ice cream.

For me, this dish is memories of spices and fresh berries bursting in ripeness just after being picked, the shade of trees by the lake, beautiful smells in the kitchen, fun, and family. I hope you enjoy!

Warm Berry Buckle

What you’ll need:

For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk

For the topping:

  • 2 cups berries {I used about 1 cup fresh blackberries and 1 cup frozen blueberries}
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter

How to make it:

1. Preheat your oven to 350F, and butter up a 11×7 inch pan.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon {hey, I like old school around here}. Once it’s nicely mixed, whip it up a little. Then add the egg and whip the mixture up until it looks nice and fluffy.

3. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. I usually fluff it up with a fork until it’s all combined – this keeps it light. Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture alternately with the milk until it’s all combined and smooth.

4. Spread the batter in the buttered pan. Top with berries so that it’s more or less covered.

5. In a small bowl, mix together the half-cup of sugar, the half-cup of flour, and the cinnamon {again, I just fluff it up with a fork}. With that fork or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture looks crumbly. Sprinkle it over the top of the berries until everything is pretty well coated.

6. Bake for 45 minutes at 350F.

7. Cut into squares and serve warm – either alone or with ice cream!

You can buy your own ice cream, of course, but I have an amazing Cuisinart ice cream maker {not an affiliate link – I honestly have and love this thing!} and, after throwing the drum in the freezer for a couple days, let it make ice cream for me right on the counter. If you start this recipe here before you start your buckle, you’ll have fresh ice cream by the time your buckle is done baking.

Don’t you just love technology?

So now if you see me walking around while I’m traveling, while I’m at a culinary event, or just around the store with my bright red notebook, you’ll know what I’m up to. Jotting down notes, building recipes, or capturing stories told in delicious and comforting food.

How do you guys keep track of your favorite recipes? Apps? Old school paper? Recipe boxes? How do you save family recipes for sharing?

About the ChefKristin

Career Army officer with a tendency toward workaholism. On the side, self taught cook, carpenter, and gardener, working to build a beautiful life for my family. Trying to tilt my balance in the right direction.

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