This cherry almond buckle combines a soft and buttery cake with plenty of fresh, sweet cherries. Hinted with almond and lightly topped with a brown sugar crumble, this dessert is just as simple as it is delicious. There’s truly very little effort for a big reward– and isn’t that what summer baking is all about?
What Is a Buckle Dessert?
Fruit cobbler, crisps, and crumbles– though different, these specialties all fall under the same dessert umbrella. There’s also slump, pandowdy, boy bait, and more. A lot of these are cobbler-like desserts made with fruit and each are tasty in their own right. Serious Eats breaks down each into detail if you’re interested in reading more!
A buckle cake is an old-fashioned coffee cake or crumb cake studded with lots of blueberries or other various fruits. You mix the fruit into the batter and as the buckle dessert bakes, it “buckles” or warps around the fruit which gives the surface an indented and textured appearance. Though it’s topped with crumbs like breakfast crumb cakes, buckles are usually enjoyed for dessert. (Though there’s every excuse to serve this first thing in the morning!)
So isn’t this just a fruity crumb cake that we eat for dessert? Yes. And it’s awesome.
Cherry Almond Buckle Details
Flavor: This is a dessert where cherries shine because there’s not much else in the way. (You’ll love cherry crisp for the same reason.) Of course there’s also the impossibly buttery cake with hints of almond extract, plus a lightly cinnamon-spiced brown sugar topping, but even still… those cherries take the cake. Literally!
Texture: You may recognize this recipe because it’s based off of a popular favorite. Many readers absolutely adore our raspberry almond crumb cake and with good reason– the cake is extra buttery and soft with a layer of juicy raspberries and crisp crumbs on top. Today’s cherry buckle has the same texture, but we’re using more fruit and mixing the cherries directly in the batter. (Which is what we do when making this blackberry cream cheese crumb cake, too.)
Ease: This falls under our beginner recipes category. The batter is made from very basic baking ingredients like butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. The crumb topping is optional, but you might as well throw it on top considering how easy it is. Mix flour, brown sugar, and a touch of cinnamon together, then gently mix in melted butter until crumbly. That’s it. Deciding if this is for breakfast or dessert will be your hardest job.
Key Ingredients in This Cherry Buckle
Here’s everything you need to know about key ingredients used in this cherry buckle recipe. Give it a quick read before starting at home!
Flour: You’ll use all-purpose flour in both the cake batter and crumb topping. Some buckle recipes call for cake flour, but it proved much too light for the heavy cherries.
Baking Powder: The original crumb cake recipe uses both baking powder and baking soda. I skip the baking soda in this recipe because I didn’t want the cake to rise too tall. Really, the center of attention here is the cherries.
Sugar: Use white granulated sugar in the cake batter and brown sugar in the crumb topping. To simplify it, you could certainly use white granulated sugar in the topping but you’ll miss the brown sugar flavor. Do not use brown sugar in the batter because the baked buckle will taste too heavy.
Sour Cream: Cake recipes usually call for a liquid such as milk, but we’re using semi-liquid sour cream here. It keeps the crumb extra moist and tender– I wouldn’t swap for buttermilk because the dessert may end up tasting gooey. As a result of using sour cream, the cake batter is pretty thick. Do your best to fold in the cherries without over-mixing.
Cherries: I use and recommend fresh dark sweet cherries in this recipe. Pit them, then slice in half or quarters. You could easily use rainier or sour cherries with no changes to the recipe. You can use frozen cherries if needed, but make sure they are halved or quartered. Do not thaw. If using canned cherries, drain all liquid and chop in half before using. Do not use cherries canned in heavy syrup and do not use cherry pie filling because both are already sweetened.
Cinnamon & Almonds in Crumb Topping: These two add a little flair to the brown sugar crumb topping. I didn’t want anything to overpower the cherries, so I went light on both. We definitely enjoyed the crunch of the almonds on top and if you love a little texture, so will you.
*Special Baking Tools: I don’t use it often but when I need it, I am massively grateful that I have it… a cherry pitter. You will save so much prep time, effort, and mess. You’ll also need the correct size baking pan and I recommend an 8-inch square baking pan (here’s one I use and love), a deep dish pie dish, or a 9-inch springform pan for this cherry almond buckle. A 9-inch round cake pan is a little too small. A 9-inch square baking pan could work, but the buckle will be thin and thus require a shorter bake time.
(The pictured pie plate I’m using is from Target a few years ago and I can’t find it anymore!)
Cherry Almond Buckle
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Yield: serves 8
Follow this easy recipe to make a soft and buttery buckle cake that’s loaded with sweet cherries and topped with brown sugar crumbles.
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (120ml) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon almond extract*
1 and 1/2 cups (335g) halved or quartered fresh cherries*
1/4 cup (31g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50g) packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup (22g) sliced almonds*
Make the batter: Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.
In a large bowl using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs, sour cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. The mixture may look curdled; that’s ok. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients until smooth. Do not overmix. The batter will be thick. Carefully fold in the cherries and do not overmix. The batter will likely have streaks of pink; that’s ok. Spoon and spread into prepared pan. Set aside.
Make the crumb topping: With a fork, mix the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. Stir in the melted butter until crumbs form. Do not overmix because the mixture will turn into a paste. Keep it crumbly. Sprinkle the crumb mixture and sliced almonds evenly on top of batter.
Bake for 36-42 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The buckle is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you find the top of the buckle is browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
Remove from the oven and set it on a wire rack. Cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Those cherries are pretty hot.
Cover leftover dessert tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Because of the fresh fruit, this dessert tastes best within the first couple days.
Baking Pan: I recommend an 8-inch square baking pan (here’s one I use and love), a deep dish pie dish, or a 9-inch springform pan for this cherry almond buckle. A 9-inch round cake pan is a little too small. A 9-inch square baking pan could work, but the buckle will be thin and thus require a shorter bake time.
Sour Cream: Full fat sour cream is a key ingredient in this batter. I don’t suggest subbing the sour cream with a liquid. Plain full-fat yogurt is the best replacement.
Almond Extract & Almonds: Feel free to skip the almond extract and/or sliced almonds on top. If skipping the almond extract, I recommend adding about 1 teaspoon of lemon zest for some extra flavor. And if you’d like to top with another nut, chopped pecans or walnuts are excellent here.
Cherries: I use and recommend fresh dark sweet cherries in this recipe. Pit them, then slice in half or quarters. You could easily use rainier or sour cherries with no changes to the recipe. You can use frozen cherries if needed, but make sure they are halved or quartered. Do not thaw. If using canned cherries, drain all liquid and chop in half before using. Do not use cherries canned in heavy syrup and do not use cherry pie filling because both are already sweetened. If you’d like to substitute the cherries, we’ve tested this with the same amount of blueberries (fresh or frozen– do not thaw) and they work wonderfully. For extra flavor, feel free to add 1 teaspoon lemon zest when you add the vanilla extract.
Keywords: cherry almond buckle
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