This moist Blueberry Buckle coffee cake, with its buttery streusel topping, plush texture, and unapologetic quantities of fresh blueberries was a breakfast legend back in my days working at a corporate office.
Our team took turns bringing breakfast on Fridays. We usually had leftovers, which would be left in the common area for scavengers (did anyone else prowl around her office, searching for free extra food?).
Except when my co-worker Michael baked his famous blueberry buckle.
Not only would our team silently, not-so-subtly try to beat each other to the slices with the max amount of topping, if even a crumb remained at the bottom of the pan, someone would run their plastic fork all around the bottom to catch every morsel.
I think it was the walnut streusel that got to us.
Or could it have been the moist, tender cake crumb, which is so filled with blueberries, you’ll find one in every juicy, sweet bite?
Although I’ve left office life behind, fortunately my blueberry buckle grazing can continue uninterrupted. Michael was kind enough to share his recipe!
5 Star Review
“I love making your recipes because I know they are going to be healthy, easy to make, and absolutely delicious. This will be my go-to recipe now for coffee cake. I love the healthy swaps that you made and the walnuts on top add a wonderful extra crunch.”— Corinne —
What Is a Buckle (vs. Coffee Cake)?
- A buckle is an old-fashioned term for a single layer cake with fruit in the batter, such as blueberries or cut up strawberries, and a buttery streusel topping.
- The fruit gives it a “buckled” or indented appearance, which is how old-fashioned blueberry buckle got its name.
- The biggest difference between a coffee cake and a buckle is the fruit. A coffee cake can be any not-too-sweet cake that’s meant to be enjoyed with coffee. It doesn’t have to include fruit (these Coffee Cake Muffins, for example, do not).
- That said, a coffee cake (like this Apple Coffee Cake) can include fruit and often does.
- A coffee cake also does not have to include a streusel topping (my Grandma Dorothy’s Butter Bundt Coffee Cake does not), though it often does.
CONCLUSION: For all intents and purposes, since there is fruit and a streusel topping in this recipe, you can use the terms “blueberry buckle” and “blueberry coffee cake” interchangeably.
How to Make Old-Fashioned Blueberry Buckle
This is truly the best blueberry coffee cake (or blueberry buckle; pick your favorite term!).
It’s easy to make, has just the right ratio of berries to cake to crumb topping, and the flavor is lively with notes of cinnamon and lemon zest.
Tweaks to Michael’s original recipe (which as it turns out is from this cookbook), include my usual healthy substitutions: a little extra whole wheat flour, and I pumped up the nut-factor in the streusel topping, because I’m a sucker for the toasty walnut crunch.
- Whole Wheat Flour + All-Purpose Flour. I use a 50/50 blend which gives this coffee cake whole grain benefits (like more fiber and nutrients compared to white flour), without making it overly dense or heavy.
- Blueberries. Blueberry buckle is one of the best things to bake with fresh blueberries in the summertime. You also can make this recipe with frozen blueberries (no need to thaw them first).
- Granulated Sugar. This blueberry coffee cake is by no means overly sweet, so it’s perfect to enjoy for breakfast or an afternoon pick-me-up with a cup of coffee or tea.
- Milk + Egg + Butter. To ensure the coffee cake is tender.
- Cinnamon + Lemon Zest. Cinnamon is a coffee cake essential. Lemon makes it bright and is a scrumptious pairing with blueberry (be sure to check out this Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake too!).
- Walnut Streusel Topping. The crunch of the walnuts adds a wholesome touch and deep toastiness that makes this buckle especially satisfying.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Fold in the blueberries and lemon zest.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
- Fold together the dry and wet ingredients.
- Make the streusel topping.
- Scrape the batter into an 8×8-inch pan.
- Sprinkle the streusel over the top.
- Bake the blueberry buckle at 425 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool and enjoy!
- To Store. Store leftover coffee cake at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftover slices in the microwave or tent loosely with foil and reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F. For the best leftover experience, serve rewarmed slices topped with a little butter.
Meal Prep Tip
Prepare the blueberry buckle batter and topping up to 1 day in advance. Store the batter covered in the refrigerator in the pan you plan to bake it in and the topping at room temperature. Before baking, let stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. Sprinkle on the topping, then bake as directed.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Parchment Paper. Prevents baked food from sticking to the pan and withstands high oven temperatures.
- Magnetic Measuring Spoons. Make staying organized in a drawer a breeze!
- Glass Mixing Bowls. Stackable and highly durable.
Dive into this blueberry buckle’s toasty walnut lid and enjoy a big bite of tender, warm cake that bursts with berries and sweetness.
And should you be so generous as to bring this coffee cake to the office someday, don’t be surprised when your co-workers beat you to the piece with the most streusel!
For the Blueberry Coffee Cake:
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder I recommend aluminum free
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups blueberries fresh or frozen (If using frozen, do not thaw)
- Zest of 1 small lemon
- 1/2 cup, plus 1 tablespoon nonfat milk or milk of choice
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted, or canola oil
For the Crumb Streusel Topping:
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter diced
- 1/4 cup walnuts chopped
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8×8 inch pan with cooking spray, line with parchment paper, then coat once more. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Gently fold in blueberries and lemon zest.
- In small, separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and butter. Add to the flour and blueberry mixture. Stir by hand with a wooden spoon, just until combined. The batter will be very thick. Scrape into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
- Prepare the crumble topping: In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. With a fork (or your fingers), cut in the butter, combining until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in the walnuts.
- Sprinkle crumble mixture evenly over the top of the batter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- TO STORE. Store leftover coffee cake at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT. Rewarm leftover slices in the microwave or tent loosely with foil and reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F. For the best leftover experience, serve rewarm slices topped with a little butter.
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