This post has a been updated for photos and content since its original publication in 2015
This simple berry cake recipe straddles the line between breakfast streusel coffeecake and anytime summer dessert. Also known as a fruit buckle, it’s a simple, versatile cake that’s always a hit. This one is loaded with fresh summer berries. The simple batter for this buttermilk coffeecake envelopes the ripe, sweet fruit and creates sweet tart pockets of magenta and purplish jam that are irresistible. Sliced almonds add crunch and the simple sweet glaze is a tempting finish to the mixed berry buckle.
What is a buckle?
A buckle refers to fruit and cake batter baked together with a streusel topping. Typically, there’s so much fruit in the batter and streusel on top, that the dome of the cake buckles as it bakes. (Read more about buckles, cobblers, crisps and bettys here.) This buttermilk coffeecake is so laden with fruit, you end up with ribbons of burst berries that are swirled and baked into the cake, leaving moist pockets throughout. The streusel topping takes advantage of the slumping fruit and sinks into the fruit and cake. I know. Doesn’t it sound DIVINE? Let’s get started.
Ingredients for buttermilk coffeecake batter
- Granulated Sugar
- Almond Extract
- Vanilla Extract
- Baking Soda
- Baking Powder
- Mixed Fresh Berries (such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, huckleberries)
I used strawberries and blueberries for this buttermilk coffeecake,
Tips for the berries:
- Feel free to use whatever berries you have on hand.
- Don’t worry if they’re a bit bruised or past their prime. Remember, they’re getting buried beneath an avalanche of cake and streusel. Just remove any that are clearly moldy or bad.
- For larger fruit, like strawberries, remove the stem and cut into smaller pieces.
- Blueberries and blackberries yield dark purple pockets of jam while raspberries will turn into bright magenta pops of color. Strawberries melt into a softer reddish pink. I like to use a combination of dark and light fruit for contrast, but whatever you have on hand will work.
Make the buttermilk batter for the coffeecake
- Mix together the dry ingredients in one bowl and set aside.
- Cream together the butter and sugar with a hand mixer and add the egg and extracts and blend until smooth.
- Alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as you blend. The batter will be smooth and thick.
Streusel ingredients for coffeecake
- Melted Butter
- Brown Sugar
- Granulated Sugar
- Sliced Almonds
The simple cinnamon streusel comes together in just a few minutes with these pantry staples.
Tips for assembling streusel:
- Whisk together the sugars, flour, cinnamon and salt to combine before adding the butter. This way, the streusel will be evenly mixed.
- When adding the butter, I use a fork to begin mixing, however, I’ve found that my clean fingers do a more thorough job of really blending the butter with the cinnamon mixture. Try it for yourself. The key is to make sure there are no dry pockets of flour or spice in the streusel.
- Add the sliced almonds after the streusel is completely blended. This will prevent the almonds from breaking as you gently toss them with the streusel topping for the coffeecake.
Assembling the berry cake recipe
- I recommend a springform pan if you’re planning on transferring the berry streusel coffeecake to a stand to serve. A springform pan will make it easier to remove the buckle from the pan and to transfer without having to flip it over, possibly marring the surface of the cake. Otherwise, you can use a regular 9″ round cake pan (but make sure it has high sides, about 3″, so the batter doesn’t overflow the pan).
- Spread about half of the batter evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Add about 3/4 of the fruit and spread it evenly over the cake.
- Drop spoonfuls of the remaining batter over the berries (do not spread the batter) and sprinkle with the remaining berries.
- Sprinkle the cinnamon almond streusel evenly over the mixed berry cake recipe and bake until a cake tester comes out clean. I usually start “testing” the berry buckle at about the 50-minute mark because every oven is different.
Doesn’t it look fabulous? You can see some of the divots and craters created by the slumping berries and the weight of the streusel topping. Let the buttermilk coffeecake cool to room temperature before adding the final touch… the glaze. Note: if you’re making this for a special breakfast or brunch, I recommend baking the cake the day before. Add the glaze the next day before serving.
Glazing berry coffeecake with streusel topping
The final flourish is a simple sweet glaze drizzled over the streusel-y, berry laden coffeecake. If you’re planning to serve the coffeecake on a platter, you’ll want to transfer it to the serving dish before adding the glaze. Mix up the powdered sugar, half and half and extract, whisking until smooth and then drizzle and swirl the glaze recipe over the berry cake.
Looks as good as it tastes
I just love the way the fruit oozes through the perimeter of this berry cake recipe, giving a visual cue as to what’s buried beneath. The rubbly cinnamon streusel dips and craters into the coffeecake and the sweet, creamy glaze settles into natural puddles and grooves. Trust me, this berry buckle is bound to be a hit with family and friends.
Does this berry cake recipe freeze well?
Yes. If you have leftovers or just want to portion it out into smaller servings, cut the cake and wrap well with plastic wrap, then transfer to a zip top freezer bag or wrap in heavy duty foil and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost completely before serving.
What other fruit can I use in the streusel coffeecake?
This cake is very versatile, and is particularly well suited to summer fruits. Try it with diced mangoes, peaches, pineapple, nectarines, or pitted and halved cherries.
What if I don’t have buttermilk for the coffeecake?
You can “make” it. Just add add 2 1/4 teaspoons of lemon juice or white vinegar to a glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to reach the 3/4 cup line. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes to curdle, then use it in the recipe.
More streusel and berry coffeecakes you might like:
- Lemon Strawberry Crumb Cake
- Individual Berry Streusel Coffeecakes
- Pineapple Coconut Buckle
- Cinnamon Pecan Crumble Coffeecake
Berry Almond Buckle
FOR BUCKLE BATTER:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup butter softened
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 3 cups mixed fresh berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, huckleberries) chopped if too large, like the strawberries.
FOR ALMOND STREUSEL TOPPING
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9" springform pan with vegetable spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper, cut to fit the bottom of the pan. Lightly spray the parchment and set aside.
FOR THE ALMOND STREUSEL:
- In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, flour and salt and mix well. Stir in the melted butter until well combined. Add the almonds and use your fingers to work them through the mixture. Set aside.
FOR THE BUCKLE BATTER:
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
- Mix the berries together in a bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extract and beat until smooth. Beat in one cup of the flour mixture until just combined. Add half of the buttermilk and blend into the batter. Add remaining flour, beating until just moistened. Add the remainder of the buttermilk and mix until smooth, but don't over beat the batter.
- Spread half of the batter evenly into the prepared pan and top evenly with the berries. Using a tablespoon, scoop the remaining batter and deposit dollops of the batter all over the fruit. Do not spread the batter out, you want some of the fruit to poke through. Sprinkle with almond streusel topping
- Bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool to room temperature. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake and remove the collar to release it. Transfer the buckle to a serving platter.
- Mix the powdered sugar and cream together until it forms a thin glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the buckle and serve.
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