Here's your chance to experience the World's Best Blueberry Buckle, a recipe created by Julia Rutland for Jessa Maxwell's debut mystery The Golden Spoon:
The knife glides into the cake, which has a springy sort of give to it. She cleaves a slice away, leaving a small avalanche of streusel crumbs in its wake. The cake inside is plump and golden, studded with juicy blueberries. Betsy can tell before she even takes a bite that it has been cooked to perfection.
"Similar to a coffee cake," says Maxwell, "a buckle includes fruit in the batter and a streusel topping. The term 'buckle' refers to how this dish bakes. As the batter rises, the weight of the fruit and streusel topping causes the cake to appear indented and buckled."
To hear more from Maxwell on The Golden Spoon, be sure to check out her Mystery Scene Q&A.
JESSA MAXWELL'S LAYERED BLUEBERRY BUCKLE (by JULIA RUTLAND)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 1¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
Streusel Topping (makes about 2 cups)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
- ½ cup (8 tbs. or 1 stick) unsalted butter
Cream Cheese Icing (makes about 2 cups)
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3¼ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and place a round of parchment paper in the bottom of three 8" round cake pans, then butter and flour the bottoms and sides.
2. In a small bowl prepare the streusel, stirring together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blend or fork until the mixture has a crumb-like texture. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt for the cake.
4. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth and well blended. Once combined, beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk.
5. Gently fold in the blueberries.
6. Divide the batter among three prepared pans, smoothing the top and then adding 1/3 of the streusel topping on each.
7. Bake the cakes for 30–35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
8. Remove from the oven and cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Place a plate on top of each cake layer and invert, removing each from the pan. Peel off the parchment from the bottom, turn cakes right-side-up onto a cooling rack, and cool to room temperature.
9. Meanwhile, prepare the cream cheese icing by beating cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually beat in the sugar until the mixture is smooth, then combine the vanilla.
10. Spoon ½ cup of cream cheese icing into a piping bag or plastic storage bag. Cut the end, and pipe swirls around the top outside edge of the first cooled cake layer using a star or fluted piping top (this will be the top). Spread remaining icing on the other two cake layers, stack, and serve.
Jessa Maxwell lives in Jamestown, Rhode Island, with her husband, two cats, and a three-legged dog. The Golden Spoon is her first novel.
Julia Rutland is a Washington, DC-area writer and recipe developer. She lives in Hillsboro, Virginia, with her husband, two daughters, and many furred and feathered friends.
3/15/2023 This article was edited to include Julia Rutland as the recipe author.