Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Cranberry Buckle

Cranberry Buckle

An easy, seasonal dessert for fall

Chilly weather and short days can be a downer. So whip up some cranberry cheer.

Cranberries are the iconic autumn fruit, arriving in our markets just as winter threatens. And they’re a staple on Thanksgiving tables in the US.

But they’re also wonderful in baked goodies (like this Cranberry Buckle), where their tart edge cuts through sweet, cakelike surroundings like a happy surprise.

So buckle up.

 Cranberry Buckle

Recipe:  Cranberry Buckle

A “buckle” is a dessert that features fruit baked in cake batter and topped with streusel. We posted about Blueberry Buckle a while back (see that post for information on buckles and other baked fruit desserts).

We like to serve buckle slices neat. But you could add whipped cream, ice cream, powdered sugar, or fruit topping if you want to fancy up the serving plates.

Mrs. Kitchen Riffs is the dessert maven in our household, and this is her creation (which she adapted from a recipe for Cranberry Buckle with Vanilla Crumb that she found on Epicurious). Among other changes, she substituted her own streusel topping (see Notes).

This recipe takes about 30 to 35 minutes to mix up, plus another 45 minutes or so of baking time.  

This recipe serves 8 to 12. Leftovers keep well for a day or two at room temperature (covered with cling wrap). Or store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Leftovers also freeze well for a few weeks.

Ingredients

For the batter: 

  • ~10 ounces cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt (see Notes)
  • 1½ sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 2 oranges 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 8 ounces sour cream

For the streusel topping:

  • ½ stick unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar (packed)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • ~½ cup chopped walnuts (optional; see Notes)
  • ~2 ounces cranberries

Procedure 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9- or 10-inch square baking pan, then line it with parchment paper (see Notes). Set aside.
  2. If using fresh cranberries, wash and drain them (we generally do this in a colander or a large strainer placed over the kitchen sink). 
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2¾ cups flour, along with the baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl, using a hand mixer), cream the softened butter. Add the granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and orange zest, then beat until fluffy.  Add the eggs and beat until well combined, then mix in the sour cream. With the mixer at low speed, add the flour mixture and mix until well combined. Add about 10 ounces of cranberries and mix until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  5. Now make the streusel topping: Melt the butter in a lidded, microwave-safe container. Pour the melted butter into a small mixing bowl. Add ¼ cup flour, along with the brown sugar, cinnamon (if using), chopped walnuts (if using), and cranberries. Mix until the ingredients form a coarse meal. Spread the streusel mixture evenly over the batter in the baking pan.  
  6. Place the baking pan in the oven and bake until the buckle is set and a knife inserted into the middle comes out barely moist (about 45 minutes). 
  7. Remove the Cranberry Buckle from the oven and cool it on a rack until ready to serve.

Cranberry Buckle
 Notes

  • If you use a 9-inch square baking pan, you may have some extra batter left over. Just bake it in a small dish and have an extra snack for the cook.
  • You can also bake Cranberry Buckle in individual ramekins. We suggest using ones that hold about 6 ounces each.
  • Be sure to use high quality (pure) vanilla extract in this recipe. Its flavor is so much better than the imitation kind.
  • Pure vanilla extract is made by soaking vanilla beans in a mixture of water and alcohol for several months. BTW, the FDA requires that pure vanilla extract contain at least 35% alcohol. If the label doesn’t say “pure,” that means it’s made from synthetic vanilla. The artificial kind is usually derived from the sapwood of several species of conifers — or from coal extracts. How appetizing (not).
  • The flavor of some imitation vanillas can be nasty. You don’t have to spend a fortune on pure vanilla extract, but getting decent quality does mean spending a bit more for something that’s not loaded with sugar or imitation flavoring. Do yourself a favor and get the real stuff.
  • A traditional streusel topping contains nothing more than flour, butter, and sugar — plus maybe a bit of spice. It’s tasty, but it tends to melt into the underlying batter. So some recipes add oats to streusel in a bid for texture. Unfortunately, oats are flavor-challenged — not to mention tough. So we don’t recommend them. Chopped nuts make a much better streusel extender. 
  • We use kosher salt for cooking and baking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If using table salt, start with about half the amount we recommend, then add more if needed.
  • How did buckle get its name? Nobody knows for sure. The best guess is that it refers to the “buckled” look the streusel topping gets when it’s baked.
  • Most cranberries are grown in the US, Canada, and Chile. Because they ripen (and are harvested) in the autumn, they tend to be associated with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Cranberries are most often frozen whole, canned as sauce, or commercially processed into juice.
  • In the US, fresh cranberries tend to be available only during the autumn months. 
  • If you have extra fresh cranberries, you can just pop them into the freezer. They freeze well and keep for several months.

Cranberry Buckle

Cake Walk

“Yum,” I said. “This is what I call my just dessert!”

“And easy to make,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “You might say it’s a piece of cake.”

“That sounds like one of my lines!” I said.

“Half baked, you mean?” said Mrs K R.

“My jokes might improve if I get seconds on this Cranberry Buckle,” I said.

“Coming right up,” said Mrs K R. “And my expectations are high.”

So I’m taking up my fork with purpose. Don’t want to buckle under the pressure. 

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76 comments:

  1. Reminds me, I gotta buy some cranberries before they go out of season. We're lucky to have fresh cranberries in the US- no such thing in Australia! Cranberries are very tart unless sweetened- your recipe will definitely make my mouth pucker up!

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    1. Hi Fran, I love the tartness of cranberries! But there's enough sugar in the cake batter so when you add the cranberries the overall flavor is quite nice. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  2. Pass me a buckle! I have always loved cakes with fruit and streusel and never knew they were a buckle! This looks fabulous!

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    1. Hi Abbe, there are so many different names for baked fruit desserts -- buckles, bettys, pandowdies, cobblers, etc etc. All good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. A slice of this with my morning coffee will definitely cheer me up!

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    1. Hi Dahn and Pat, this is terrific for breakfast. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  4. Short days for sure, but it has been in the 70's for all of last week, and 35° this morning, back to normal. Your buckle looks awesome, love buckles but have never made it with cranberries, have to remember this recipe! A perfect baked goodie, and I'm sure it's low calorie... ­čśëThanks and take care.

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    1. Hi Pam, buckles are so tasty, aren't they? We don't often make it with cranberries either, but always enjoy it when we do. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. Yum! I love buckles and this one looks amazing. Perfect for the holidays.

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    1. Hi Pam, we love buckles too! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. Now I regret that I didn't buy some cranberries today when I did grocery. This buckle looks incredibly delicious.

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    1. Hi Angie, there's always the next trip to the store. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. I have cranberries just begging to be made into this buckle!!

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    1. Hi Ashley, that would be a great use of them. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. I WOULD SO BUCKLE UP FOR THIS ONE!!

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    1. Hi GiGi, you would love this! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  9. I love to contemplate the many words for a fresh-fruity cake with crumbly topping — a crisp, a crumble, a buckle, even pandowny. And lots more. All good! I made all my cranberries into chutney, must buy more for something like this!

    be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mae, so many food words. And good dishes. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  10. I haven't even thought about cranberry season...until I read this. Thank you. This sounds heavenly! (Hope you didn't buckle...) :)

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    1. Hi Debra, no buckling here. We're made of sterner stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  11. This looks fabulous. It would be so pretty during the holidays. Is it too sweet for breakfast?

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    1. Hi Mimi, this isn't as sweet as most baked breakfast things like coffee cake, although it's certainly on the sweet side. We've sometimes had leftover for breakfast and liked them, although we think of this as a dessert. Thanks for the comment.

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  12. Looks delicious! I will have a slice of anything remotely like a snack cake. I don't care what you call them!

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    1. Hi Lydia, it is delish! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. This is a great dessert for Fall and the holidays too!

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    1. Hi Denise, we really like the flavor of cranberries in baked goods. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  14. a buckle? what a fabulous name for a dessert. we don't get cranberries here except frozen at Christmas - if we're really lucky. some years they don't have them at all. I make cranberry relish when i do find them. my dream is to go to a cranberry bog and see the harvesting one day... Actually i wonder why they don't grow them in tasmania? it's probably cold enough:) I always have a jar of my own vanilla stewing away in the pantry. Pure vodka and vanilla beans!

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    1. Hi Sherry, your homemade vanilla sounds wonderful! We've never seen cranberries harvested in person (just pictures) but it looks like it'd be a fun sight to see. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. I am bookmarking this for around Thanksgiving!

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    1. Hi Anne, wise choice. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. I love the color of cranberries, so pretty.Your photos are stunning!

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    1. Hi Natalia, it's hard not to get good photos of cranberries -- so photogenic! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  17. This is lovely I'm going to try it with raspberries or blueberries which we can source here in Australia. Thanks John.

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    1. Hi Merryn, haven't done a raspberry buckle, but blueberry buckle is superb! You'll like. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. Anything with a streusel topping. Looks delicious John. It's a "must make" for the holidays. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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    1. Hi Lea Ann, we're suckers for streusel. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. This sounds delicious! I love that the batter has sour cream in it. I love sour cream in a cake. And I can never get enough cranberry. Even as a kid, cranberry sauce was once of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving meal.

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    1. Hi Jeff, sour cream is terrific in cakes? So are cranberries. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  20. Fruit desserts are always my favorite. And yay for the Mrs sharing her wonderful creations! Looks fabulous!

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    1. Hi Laura, it IS fabulous! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. A buckle with cranberries, I like it. I just made a Linzer tart with cranberries. I have been trying to post a comment, I hope it works this time.

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    1. Hi Gerlinde, glad you persevered with your attempt to comment! Blogger can be a bit difficult sometimes, alas. :-( Anyway, love cranberries in baked goods! So good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  22. This is a delicious excuse to turn on the oven and warm up the kitchen. I need to see if there are any cranberries in the markets around here---haven't spotted any yet!

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    1. Hi Liz, we first saw some a couple of weeks ago. Love cranberry season! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  23. Since you posted this on my birthday I'll assume you merely forgot the candles! GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, we took them off so we could slice it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  24. I think it is Mrs. KR's streusel topping that makes this so alluring! That and the color of the cranberries. I haven't seen them yet at the market but they are on my list for tomorrow... fingers crossed, as I would love to have this buckle on my plate!

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    1. Hi David, the contrast of the tart cranberries and the sweet cake and topping is wonderful. Really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. It is like you are reading our mind...what are we going to do with all of these leftover cranberries. Now we know! Thanks for this recipe. The title has us reminiscing of the baby food called "blueberry buckle"... Do you remember that? Even that was good so we can only imagine how delicious your cranberry buckle is going to be. Stay well and take care

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    1. Hi Bobbi, don't remember a baby food called blueberry buckle, but I sure do remember the grown up version! Love baked fruit desserts -- such a nice way to use fruit. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  26. I loved the name of this dish. It looks so comforting and delicious! Perfect for holidays

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    1. Hi Rahul, baked fruit desserts can have such cool names. Buckle is a good one. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  27. Thank you Mrs KR for a great cake recipe adaptation. We only have dried cranberries available here, but I have a freezer full of wild lingonberries that should work just fine for your buckle. And, thanks for clarifying the buckle name.

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    1. Hi Ron, I'll bet the lingonberries would be great in this! Net idea. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  28. As perfect as this is for dessert, I think it would be even better as breakfast. Hey, it's got fruit in it, so it's downright good for you. ;)

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    1. Hi Carolyn, this does make a great breakfast! You're right about the fruit. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. Your totally tempting cranberry buckle is the perfect Fall dessert... and that streusel topping is dynamite!

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    1. Hi Heidi, we can never resist streusel. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  30. This dessert looks so comforting and delicious! Perfect cheer up for this depressing rainy weather.

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    1. Hi Balvinder, it really is comforting! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  31. Looks like a great breakfast treat for the day after Thanksgiving. I love cranberries and they're so good for you so alternate uses are great. Thanks John!

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    1. Hi Mary, this would be perfect for breakfast during the Thanksgiving holidays. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  32. That topping! I love it! I could use a little "cranberry cheer." Especially in the form of this treat! I'd love it with my morning coffee. :-) ~Valentina

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    1. Hi Valentina, that topping is wonderful. As is the tartness of the cranberries contrasting with the sweetness of the cake that envelops them. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  33. I love buckles and making one with cranberries has been on my list! It looks so good and colorful. Perfect for the holiday season.

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    1. Hi Amy, you definitely need to try a cranberry buckle -- really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  34. A good dollop of cream or a nice scoop of ice cream will definitely be great on the buckle! Yum

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    1. Hi Raymund, not only would that taste great, but it'd look great too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  35. I love cranberries and I love buckle. This dessert would be right up my alley. Sounds so delicious.

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    1. Hi Dawn, buckles are wonderful, aren't they? Love the topping on them! Thanks for the comment.

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  36. I'm always up for a good buckle, but I've never made one with cranberries. Sounds perfect and very seasonal. I haven't put fruit in the topping yet either - can't wait to try that tip out!

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    1. Hi Laura, cranberries are really good in buckle. You need to buckle down and make one! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  37. how very yummy! love how you added crunchy with the streusel topping to a moist cake like sweet cranberry dessert. A wonderful holiday treat

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    1. Hi MJ, it's really a great dish -- loads of flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  38. I love that you used cranberries for this tasty treat; we don’t like super sweet desserts and the cranberries would add a lovely balance to it.
    Eva Http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com/

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    1. Hi Eva, I think you'd like this recipe just as written. The cake part isn't overly sweet, but sweet enough to balance the cranberries. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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