Old-fashioned dessert like “buckle” makes me smile. I cannot think of a more appropriate name for a tender buttery cake that buckles under the weight of juicy baked fruit. There is fruit baked within the cake and there is fruit baked over the top of the cake. When it comes out of the oven, pieces of fruit lazily sink to various depths of the dessert. The top is dotted with pockets of fruity tartness. It is a feast to the eyes and the taste buds.
Of course, you can argue that buckle is no different than a shallow coffee cake with more fruit. I would actually describe it as such to people who may not be familiar with the vocabulary. After all, most people opt for things that they know when there isn’t necessarily someone standing by to recite a complete explanation. Regardless of what you call it, the Cranberry Buckle I enjoyed for breakfast this morning was most seasonally appropriate and absolutely irresistible.
This type of pantry-ready dessert is an everyday indulgence. I rarely need to pick up any extra ingredients from the store. It is so simple to make that I didn’t even need to energize myself with morning coffee before setting to work. This makes it all the more puzzling that I put off attempting this recipe for months. Every time I was about to make this buckle, something came up and my baking plan was averted. I knew the recipe would be special and for many weeks, it haunted me. Chalk it up to holiday fatigue but I could not rouse myself to bake these days. What a nice change this morning when I woke up full of energy and eager to bake! The cranberry buckle haunts me no more.
The recipe was published at Leite’s Culinaria a while ago. It comes from Cory Schreiber’s Rustic Fruit Dessert and I agree about its rustic quality. Even though the dessert looks unassuming, there is plenty going on to make it memorable. Sour cream cake is tangy but its richness is counterbalanced by the tart cranberries. The cake has a crunchy sweet crumble topping with hints of cinnamon. It is airy yet hearty. I enjoyed the cake warm out of the oven, unadorned. But it is equally at home with a blanket of velvety crème anglaise or a scoop of smooth vanilla ice cream. If only it can last longer in my kitchen! Just a day at the office and all I am left with is a pan full of crumbs.