Blueberry Buckle

There’s one cake that my three children—now all grown—still ask for on their birthdays; it defies decoration, but they’ll tell you that other cakes don’t hold a candle to my mother’s blueberry buckle. They’re right, of course. I also like the fact that our family version came originally from the 1960 "Better Homes & Gardens Dessert Cook Book." One bite—and like Proust’s cookie, it transports me back to my childhood and to the first glimmering intimation that baking could indeed be a marvelous thing.

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 beaten egg
2 cups sifted enriched flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fresh blueberries*

And prepared separately:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup enriched flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter or margarine

*It’s easier now than it was in 1960 to find blueberries year round. You can, of course, remember to freeze some at the end of summer—or substitute frozen ones (use slightly less than two cups).

Thoroughly cream shortening and ½ cup of sugar; add egg and mix well. Sift 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt: alternating with milk, add this to creamed mixture. Pour into greased 11 ½” by 7 ½” pan, and sprinkle blueberries over batter.

Combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour, cinnamon, and 1/4 cup butter until mixture is crumbly; sprinkle over blueberries.

Bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes. Cut in squares. Top with whipped cream (my mother’s note explains that she prefers fat-free Cool Whip) or—my preference—vanilla ice cream. Of course, it’s perfectly fine without any extra topping.


- CS