Musical pairing – Blueberry Hill by Fats Domino

August.  It’s now August.  And at the end of this week, I’ll be boarding a plane that will fly me to Pennsylvania to meet a group of people I’ve only ‘met’ on Twitter to attend a one-day blogging workshop.  And I’ll be flying without The Professor – the first time I’ve done that since 9-11.  And to add insult to injury, I will be renting a car, then driving about 23 miles in a State that I’ve never been in, to a house I’ve never seen, meeting people I’ve only met on Twitter – did I mention that?  I’m sure they’re nice in person because they’re nice on Twitter, but still . . . never. actually. met. them.  And I’m directionally-challenged.  Because everyone who knows me, knows that any way I happen to be facing is North.  You can begin praying now but especially on Friday and then really pray in earnest on Saturday.  And if you don’t hear from me by Tuesday of next week, can someone please call The Professor and let him know I’ve gone missing?  Thank you.

The Professor had a baby-sitter named Betty when he was a little guy; she lived in his neighborhood and was a good friend of his parents.  He wasn’t called The Professor back then, but he helped Betty in her garden and he cooked in the kitchen with her.  This Blueberry Buckle was one of his favorite cakes she made – fresh summer blueberries and a crunchy streusel topping – who wouldn’t love this buckle?  But do you know why it’s called a ‘buckle’ and not a ‘coffeecake, streusel, cobbler, brown betty’ or other type of cake?

Well, this type of coffeecake (also known as a ‘crumble’) is a single-layer cake with berries, usually blueberries, mixed directly into the batter (as opposed to being a separate layer, like a crisp or cobbler).  But it’s the top of the buckle that gives it its name, a sort of crumb-cake layer that gives the dish its ‘buckled’ or ‘crumpled’ appearance.  Oddly enough, the use of ‘buckle’ as the name for a type of pastry is quite recent, dating only to the 1950s so named by Elsie Masterton in her cookbook ‘Blueberry Hill’.  Who knew?

Slightly Adapted from Betty Gunkle


1/4 Cup Butter, softened
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
3/4 Cup Milk
Zest of 1 Lemon
2 Cups All-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 Cups Fresh Blueberries

1/4 Cup Butter, softened
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
pinch of Nutmeg


Preheat oven to 375 degrees; butter and flour 9-inch square or round pan.  Whip butter and sugar together until light and fluffy; add egg and milk, mix well.  Add lemon zest, flour, baking powder and salt; mix well.  Fold blueberries in by hand.  Mix topping ingredients together until crumbly.  Spread cake batter in prepared pan, sprinkle topping over batter and bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean.

SMITH BITES NOTE: A springform pan is nice if you want to place cake on stand.


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  3. My favorite cakes are always these old-fashioned, fruit-based, and not too sweet ones. This looks so very delicious, Debra, with its perfect pairing of blueberries and lemons and gorgeously airy texture.

  4. first time at ur space,u write so well, time i prepare buckle i gonna try ur recipe


  6. Thanks for the trip back in time. It brings back sweet memories of Betty, our kids, and many delicious gifts of blueberry buckle. We must get Betty here to view the blog site!

  7. I’ve always wondered how and why this traditional cake came by the name “buckle;” Wenderly’s wonderful comment above suggests an answer I hadn’t considered but that makes great sense. When it comes to cakes, I fall head over heals in love with ones such as this: unfrosted, not too sweet, simple, and incorporating seasonal fresh fruits. Many thanks for sharing this gem with us!

  8. This was so good this morning! And fool-proof. We’re renting a house at the beach, and there wasn’t a handmixer here. I only had a potato masher and a fork to cream the butter and sugar, and it still came out perfectly!

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  10. Gorgeous photos! Wow. And it looks DELICIOUS 🙂

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  13. Glad you made it to and from the event safely (and on time too)!
    It was fantastic and speaking of fantastic, this looks amazing! Your photos are just beautiful!
    Mow I have to go outside in the dark and sing to my blueberry bush in the hope it will decide to provide more berries so I can make this!

  14. Oh, I feel for you! Last year I took my first solo trips, flying by myself from Florida to Seattle and then Florida to San Francisco. I was a nervous wreck both times, but I made it. I was so proud of myself! I’d die if I had to rent a car in a strange city and actually find my own way around! You are a brave woman, and I know you’ll do fine. Hope you have a wonderful time!

    BTW, that cake looks awesome!

  15. I agree you should take the crumble with you and eat when you feel anxious. Wait, that’s not good advice at all. Don’t eat while you’re driving! Make sure your rental car has GPS. I hope you have a wonderful time. I can’t wait to hear the update!

    • Marly ~ I will be taking my GPS (Lilly) with me on this trip – address already loaded, printed out Google directions complete w/pictures, just in case! Am inspired by your road trip earlier this summer!

  16. Oh my gosh, this is perfect for me! Easy, beautiful and delicious! I’ve always wanted to try making blueberry buckle–now I have no reason not to.

    Drive safe–you’ll have a great time!

  17. I am so jealous you are going! Have so much fun! I want the full report:)

  18. What an adventure! Looking forward to reading all about it when you get back…if you get back…just kidding!

  19. Good timing… I just bought a huge container of blueberries at the store, because I couldn’t pass up local berries at a bargain price. Of course, the problem is that I need to make something with all those berries now. 🙂
    Hope you have a wonderful trip! It sounds like a wonderfully fun afternoon.

  20. My plan would be to take this cake with me; if I got lost…oh well, would pull over and just let ‘me’ eat cake.

    I’m OK directionally but think I have a BIG advantage. They are called mountains; Rocky Mountains to be exact. They’re to the west; find them…whew, I know which way I’m going.

    Have a great time…and I’ll be green with envy that I’m not there to meet you and everyone else. Or sad.

  21. A big thanks to Betty Gunkle and her buckle. This looks yummy!

    Can’t wait to meet you too – in real life!

  22. You are traveling to my old home state of PA! Have fun and I will be sure to check to see if you found your way there and back! I just made blueberry pie last night and still have a whole big bowl of berries left, so guess what I will be making today! This looks yummy!

    Have fun meeting your tweep friends!

  23. This looks like such a homey dessert. Something I would love to return to after a long week of work or an extended time away from home. I love using blueberries right now (they are so good!) and this recipe will have to make the rounds. I will be praying for you this weekend (but I’m sure you will have a safe and fabulous time!)

  24. Don’t worry, I’ll call for backup if you go missing. 😉

    Enjoy your time, can’t wait to read about it!

    And – love the buckle. Need to incorporate this into the breakfast routine. Looks wonderful with a double latte and side of crossword.


  25. Yummy! The word “buckle” in relation to this delish recipe, seems to mean that I will only need to loosen mine…(buckle that is). Looking forward to meeting you in person this weekend! Happy travels, I’m sure that you will do fine!

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