An easy-to-make, fruit-filled, irresistable vegan blueberry buckle. Buckle is a cross between cake and crisp, and it’s perfect for summer!
There are so many sweet ways to show off summer’s bounty of fresh fruit. This vegan blueberry buckle is one of my favorite desserts for June and July, when blueberries are in season. It’s also simple to make, easy to freeze, and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.
Tomorrow is July 4th weekend, and friends of mine are hosting a get together. They’re wonderful cooks and hosts, and I wanted to bring them a seasonal dessert. I had very ambitious plans to make a slab pie, in spite of the fact that it would demand a lot of pastry rolling.
Life got in the way. After a few days of being low and run-down, I knew I had to change plans. This is something I’ve learned to do recently, adjusting my cooking plans to fit my life and my energy. In the end, switching plans was for the best, because this delicious vegan blueberry buckle was the result.
I got a copy of Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson’s Rustic Fruit Desserts earlier this year. It’s a wonderful book, full of seasonal recipe tributes to iconic American fruit desserts. It’s not vegan, but many of of the recipes can be veganized.
Schreiber describes a buckle as “cake batter poured in a single layer, with berries added to the batter…once baked, the cake has a ‘buckled’ appearance. Think of a buckle as halfway between a cake and a fruit crisp. Buckles are great for breakfast!”
I used Schreiber’s expert guidance as I whipped up this my vegan blueberry buckle. Buckles are typically topped with some sort of streusel, or crumb, which means that they resemble cake and crisp at the same time. (Think coffee cake, but with an emphasis on the fruit.) They’re the best of both worlds, and they’re so easy to make.
I’ve learned about a whole new world of dessert traditions as I make my way through Rustic Fruit Desserts. Until now, I thought that fruit dessert really meant pie or crisp. On the contrary, there are so many different ways to bake with fruit. Here are some of the inventions I’ve learned about, aside from buckles:
A baked fruit dessert that’s topped with either a biscuit or a cake topping. I’ve made the biscuit version before, but cut in rounds (as in this peach cherry cobbler) and dolloped in a rustic style (this classic vegan cherry cobbler). I love cobbler.
The same idea as a cobbler, except that the dessert is cooked on the stovetop! In a cast iron skillet, usually, that’s covered. The idea is that the biscuit (or dumpling) topping “slumps” into the fruit as it cooks. The “grunt” is the noise that this dessert supposedly makes as it cooks.
I’ve never tried a slump, but I love the bits of biscuit that get softened by fruity cooking liquid in a cobbler, so I’m excited to try!
A baked, fruity concoction that’s made with layers of sweetened, buttery bread crumbs. Yum! I’ve never made a brown betty, but it doesn’t take much to sell me on the idea of a bread-based dessert.
It took me ages to figure out the difference between a crisp and a crumble. They’re both baked fruit desserts with streusel toppings. The difference in names seems to be in part a question of local terminology. According to the King Arthur website, crisp is used more commonly in the US, crumble more commonly in the UK.
Other resources that I’ve found also indicate that crisps contain oats in the streusel topping, while crumbles don’t. I’m more of a cobbler and buckle person than a crisp/crumble person, personally, but I love the latter for their ease. I especially love making vegan crisp with juicy apples and pears in the fall.
A few things to keep in mind while making your vegan blueberry buckle:
You can use either fresh or frozen blueberries in the buckle! Using frozen ones will allow you to enjoy the dessert year-round, even if it’s a treat to make it with fresh berries in summer. If you don’t have blueberries, try raspberries or chopped strawberries instead.
I like unbleached, all-purpose flour best for this recipe. If you prefer to use some whole grain flour, you can use whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour. These are my favorites for incorporating some whole grain goodness while also achieving a light, tender texture in the cake portion of the buckle.
If you need to make the buckle gluten free, try using a gluten-free flour baking blend that you’ve used before and trust!
Sometimes having a single component of a dessert ready ahead of time makes a big difference! You can make the streusel topping of the vegan blueberry buckle up to two days ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge. And simply crumble it on top of the rest of the buckle when you’re ready to bake.
Speaking of storage, store the buckle in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days after making it. If you’d like to store it in its original baking dish for transporting to a gathering, you can do that, too! Alternately, you can freeze slices of the buckle for up to six weeks.
The buckle can definitely be served cold, but I think it’s especially nice when it’s warm and topped with vanilla ice cream. Simply pop it in a 350F oven for 10-15 minutes to reheat.
I haven’t tried my vegan blueberry buckle for breakfast yet, per Schreiber’s invitation! But it’s not a bad idea at all. As I said, this isn’t a very big departure from coffee cake, which is another thing that I love to make with summer fruit.
If you want to make this an à la mode dessert, but you don’t have any vegan ice cream at home, you can try serving it with a nice big scoop of my vegan cashew whipped cream. It’s a topping that you can whip up easily if you have some raw cashews at home!
There will be plenty of opportunity to make pie this summer, but for now, I’m so happy to have a delightful vegan buckle on my hands. Enjoy, and long weekend to you all. Later this week, a new (savory) breakfast recipe that I’m super excited about.
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I was hosting dinner last night & had totally forgot to plan a dessert! An hour before dinner, I threw this together and it came out so beautifully! Guests were asking which bakery it was from & couldn’t believe it was homemade.
*subbed olive oil for avocado oil
*did a mix of blueberries & blackberries
Can I use canola oil instead of avocado? Will it make a significant difference?(How come you chose avocado?)
Yes! I like the neutral flavor and high cooking temperature of avocado, but canola will work perfectly well here.
This sounds great! Could I just double the recipe, If I wanted to make it 13×9?
Hi Jennifer! I think that would work, though in fairness, I haven’t tried it, and baking can always be a little tricky when you make changes. Let me know if it’s a success—I hope it will be!
OMG Gena!!! This is the most delicious cake. I’ve been doing a lot of vegan baking during the pandemic and tried several blueberry recipes, and this is by far my favorite. Soooo good! I only had 1 cup of blueberries on-hand, so added 1 cup of finely diced apple. I subbed applesauce for the oil in the cake, and used coconut oil instead of vegan butter in the topping. I also threw in some chopped walnuts. Turned out perfectly! Nice and moist, with a crunchy top and lovely pop of flavor from the blueberries. I look forward to trying this recipe with blackberries next time. Thanks so much for a winner!!!
So glad you enjoyed it so much, Franny! I love it, too 🙂
This recipe is a winner! For the adults at my daughter’s first birthday party, I multiplied it by 6 to put into three large glass casserole dishes, and it worked perfectly. Another time, I simply doubled the recipe to put into one large glass dish, and used a mix of fresh and frozen berries, and it came out perfectly once again. It really is a crowd pleaser. I think the lemon zest really adds a lot, so don’t omit it (or if you really can’t find fresh lemons, I would use a tiny bit of lemon extract in addition to the vanilla). I also like how the recipe uses easy-to-find ingredients. I plan to make it again this weekend for my in-laws. Can’t wait to try it with a different type of berry!
Love hearing about how you’ve prepared the buckle! Glad you’re enjoying the recipe 🙂
I just made this and it smells delicious. It’s going to be difficult to wait an hour to taste it. But the batter and crumb topping are yummy pre-bake 🙂 I will post a picture on IG. Thanks for the great recipe!
I cooked mine in a toaster/convection oven so it was done a lot sooner, but this was amazing! And my omnivore family liked it too. Thank you so much for this recipe.
That’s great to hear, Natalie!
Greetings! Would this work with fresh, diced strawberries? Would I need to thicken them with syrup and/or starch? Thank you!
I think they would work as they are!
This was delicious! Thank you so much for such a great recipe! The only change I made was to change the oil to applesauce and it turned out perfect.
Yay! So glad you enjoyed.
Wow i love this idea! Definitely going to try this, it looks amazing 🙂
Do you think this would freeze well?
I think the blueberries might get a little soggy as it defrosts, but it would definitely still taste great, and the texture of the cake itself will be fine.
I find it freezes very well. Each time I make it,I keep half out and freeze the other half. Even a month later, the frozen half is still ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!
Well, this recipe is a wonder! I tried it yesterday and it turned out PERFECT!!!! I love it so much! It tastes exactly as it should, not too moist, not too dry! My mum loved this! Thank you so much for this recipe Gena!
I am so glad, Tia!
Welp this was fantastic!!! I made a healthier crumble topping with 1/3 cup almond meal (leftover from homemade almond milk, which I used in the batter), 1/2 cup of oats (love oats!!!), sucanat (also in the batter) and plenty of Miyoko’s vegan butter. I am already thinking of lots of variations, like a fall one that swaps the oil for canned pumpkin in the batter, adds pecans to the crumble, and uses cranberries instead of blueberries. Thank you so much for this awesome recipe!!!
Love hearing about your variations, Kristin, and so glad you enjoyed it!
Hey! Can I use frozen blueberries??
Loved this recipe-just what I was looking for. I’ve already printed it off and will use it over and over…at home though, I don’t want to share it! 🙂
What an incredible recipe! I made it for a picnic for 5 people. It was all gone within 30 minutes. Since I didn’t have any “neutral tasting oil” I use 3 TB coconut oil. I also added 2 TB flaxmeal. I made a second batch the next day which was just as delicious. Thank you 🙂
I’m making this PRONTO! The problem is not to eat it whole at once!Thanks for the share!
Thank you for introducing me to the buckle!
I have made this twice now with a few tweaks each time – it has turned out amazing and is very forgiving!! Made a mixed berry version for the 4th of July and more recently tried using frozen raspberries and regular WW flour (I added an egg to that version since it was going to be denser, but that made it not vegan).
Definitely going to keep this recipe in my pocket for easy desserts, warm or at room temperature – it was also lovely with coffee for a midmorning snack 🙂
I went blueberry picking yesterday and made this fantastic cake. I followed the recipe exactly, used all purpose flour, and it came out perfectly. Would love to try this with other berries.
So glad you enjoyed! I’m excited to try it with other berries, too, and maybe plums.
This was excellent. The only change I made was to use a 1/3 cup of applesauce in place of the oil. It worked wonderfully. Thanks for the recipe.
I’m so glad that you enjoyed it, Cyndi!
So happy to hear you gave yourself a little TLC when you needed too girl, so so great! And this blueberry buckle looks AMAZING. So “buttery” and berry-licious, exactly how I want to enjoy my berries this time of year. Plus anything that warrants the addition of a scoop of ice cream is automatically a favorite ;). Hope your spirits are high this (short) work week and already are getting jazzed for the weekend friend! BUG HUGS.
I can very much relate to trying to learn to be flexible when your cooking plans don’t turn out! This looks delicious as well xo
Pretty in love with these buckles! All about the rustic/simple dessert- I tend to get overwhelmed last minute and wish I picked a simpler item when cooking for a crowd. These look as tasty as they do festive!
My blackcurrants are in full ripening mode at the moment, and this looks like an interesting variant on my crumble slice, so I’ll be making it at the weekend:) I’m glad you are looking after yourself. Do take care x
Except for the part where i have to turn on the oven this sounds fantastic…! Hahaha, my AC just isn’t as strong as yours must be 😉
I’ve flagged this to make later in the summer when i visit CA and there are backyard blackberries to use and less intense weather to deal with