Whole Grain Blueberry Buckle

In my last post, I talked about how I love decadent desserts, but that I’m also making an effort to be a healthier person. Well, sometimes I forget that you can be a healthier person and still bake lots of great treats. Case in point: this coffee cake and also the entire cookbook that this coffee cake is from, Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce. Up until now I’ve just thought of my whole wheat flour as a substitute: “I’ll add some whole wheat flour to these muffins to make them better for me.” But this cookbook has made me look at whole grain flours in a whole new light. Whole grain flours have something that white flour doesn’t have: taste. And because of that you can use them in your baked goods to make that something has tons more flavor and depth than anything made with plain white flour.

This coffee cake is made with whole wheat pastry flour and spelt flour. I went on an online shopping spree and bought about 8 different flours after I got this cookbook, but I didn’t need to special order the flours in this recipe. I’ve been using whole wheat pastry flour for quite a while now and I had no problem finding spelt flour at my grocery store. Spelt is like a milder, sweeter version of whole wheat flour so it’s the perfect flour to start with to ease yourself into whole grain baking since you don’t need to worry about getting used to the taste or texture of it.

Whole Grain Blueberry Buckle

This recipe immediately stuck out to me because of my love for all things breakfast and streusel as well as my current blueberry obsession. The coffee cake has two layers, each topped with lots of blueberries and then the whole thing is topped with streusel. It’s called a “Buckle” because as the it bakes, the batter pushes up through the streusel causing the cake to buckle. The cake is really tall and dense, but the crumb is moist and tender. It’s not overly sweet which lets the sweetness of the spelt flour and the blueberries really shine though. It may not be particularly pretty, but the taste more than makes up for it.

My only change would be to use more blueberries next time, since it’s such a tall cake I think the more blueberries you put in the better it will be. You can also make this with Huckleberries if you can find them; the original recipe is in fact called “Huckle Buckle” for that reason, but after doing a quick google search of that term and seeing the first result I decided to be safe and call this Blueberry Buckle instead. (You’re might be tempted to go googling now so fair warning: NOT SAFE FOR WORK.)

This is a simple recipe to whip up on the weekend or it can easily be prepared the night before and baked first thing in the morning. I would describe this cake as wholesome, though not particularly healthy in a low fat/calorie kind of way. It’s a trade off that I think works out. You get the good for you stuff like blueberries, whole grains and yogurt but you still get the normal stuff that makes everything delicious like plenty of butter, sugar and cinnamon.

Whole Grain Blueberry Buckle

Blueberry Buckle

adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce

Breakfast, Brunch | Servings: 8-10

Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 1 hour | Total time: 1 hour 20 min

Ingredients

Streusel Topping

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp. cold unsalted butter
  • 1 egg

Coffee Cake

  • 1 1/4 cups spelt flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup whole milk (1% or 2% should be fine. I used 1% with a few tablespoons of heavy cream added to it.)
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt (I used 2% Greek yogurt)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups blueberries or huckleberries (do NOT skimp on the berries)

Process

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (F). Spray or butter a 2 1/2 quart baking dish.
  2. First make the streusel topping: In a large bowl, sift together the flours, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. If you have any larger bits left in your sifter add those back in.
  3. Cut up 3 tbsp. of cold butter into 1/4″ pieces. Add them to the bowl and rub the butter and flour mixture together with your fingers so that it breaks up into smaller pieces, until the mixture is course like cornmeal. Do this as quickly as possible.
  4. Whisk the egg and use a spatula to scrape it over the top of your dry mixture. Mix it in with using your hands, squeezing handfuls of the dough together. You want to wind up with larger blueberry sized chunks mixed with finer crumbs.
  5. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flours, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon and salt (again pouring back in in the leftover bits). Add the softened butter and mix on medium speed with the paddle attachment until combined.
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, egg yolks and vanilla. Pour into the mixer bowl and mix everything together on low speed until smooth.
  7. Pour half the batter into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle half of the blueberries. Top with the remaining batter and spread it around evenly. Sprinkle on the rest of the blueberries and then add the streusel on top.
  8. Bake for 55-65 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through. My baking dish was a bit smaller than called for, so my cake needed about 10 extra minutes. Make sure to stick a toothpick in the center to test that yours is done! It should also be golden brown and spring back when lightly touched.
  9. Cool in the dish. Eat warm or at room temperature.

You can prepare this the night before, store it in the fridge and then bake the next morning. It will need a few extra minutes to bake.