According to Williams-Sonoma.com, a buckle is a "homey, old-fashioned dessert, a dish in which cake batter is mixed with fruit and then baked. It is frequently topped with a cinnamon streusel."
I had never really heard of a buckle until I was recently flipping through an old Martha Stewart Living magazine that my Aunt had given me. The cover story was everything cobblers, crumbles and crisps. I came upon the picture of the 'Buckle', and my mouth immediately started watering, so I knew I had to try it!
The preparation was a snap and the results were absolutely beautiful AND delicious, even with the bevy of adjustments I made! I just realized after looking at the recipe again that it called for fresh lemon juice in the fruit mixture, which I completely spaced out about, but I never would have missed it. I didn't have a square cake pan and my cast iron skillet is not 10 inches, so I used a 10 inch round cake pan instead and it worked great. The only thing that proved tricky with it was getting the first slice out of the pan....I may try this recipe with a springform, for ease of serving. I also didn't have any allspice on hand, so I used nutmeg instead and it was wonderful. Another thing is that I just buttered the pan with a solid piece of butter....2 tablespoons of melted butter seemed too messy and excessive for me. One last thing, you may want to tent a piece of aluminum foil over the buckle about 10 minutes into the baking, and remove it when there is about 25-30 minutes left to bake.....this ensures that the crumb topping doesn't get too dark or burn.
This buckle would be great for a picnic or a brunch! If you are wanting a simple summer dessert, showcasing the luscious fruit of the season, try this one out! Enjoy!
For the Crumb Topping:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 or 3 drops orange oil (or 1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
For the Cake:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 large egg
2/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 pound plums, halved, pitted, and cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges (2 cups)
3/4 pound nectarines, halved, pitted, and cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges (2 cups)
To Make the Crumb Topping:
Put butter, brown sugar and orange oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. (You may use a handheld electric mixer if you don't have a stand mixer). Mix on medium speed until creamy. Stir in flour and salt. Work mixture through fingers until it forms coarse crumbs ranging in size from peas to gum balls.
To Make the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10 inch round cake pan and set aside.
Whisk together flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Whisk together egg, milk, vanilla, and melted butter in another medium bowl. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir to combine. Spread batter evenly into buttered pan.
Toss plums, nectarines, remaining 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Spread fruit mixture evenly over batter. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over entire cake. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 1 hour before serving.
Original recipe can be found here.