some of you might know that it has long been a dream of mine to own a home with a yard where i can grow all my favorite things. every time i walked by a home with a fig tree in the yard, i felt pangs of regret that this was not my reality. i remember a particularly inspiring yard in an old neighborhood with pear, apple, persimmon, and fig trees that made me desperately long for a yard of my own.
don’t get me wrong, townhouse living was RAD: someone else mowed the lawn, cleaned the gutters & dealt with the rodents whilst i tended little pots of herbs, a small cherry tomato & loads of houseplants. but of course, i knew that it was just for a season until i could get my credit score to a more responsible number.
and then it finally was time! my partner & i decided to start looking for a home. we knew what we wanted, and so we kept an eye out for properties that might meet our needs. then, low and behold, we saw THE house. we scrambled to get a mortgage broker & realtor. we toured the home. we LOVED it. we wrote an offer that evening. literally less than a week from seeing the house online, we had our offer accepted! OHMYGOD we were going to be homeowners!
during the home inspection, i chatted with a neighbor whose family members currently owned the home, and discovered that our property contained…wait for it…a pear tree, an apple tree, a fig tree, thornless blackberries, and raspberries. UMMMM SCORE!!!! i’m sure you can imagine my intense delight. i hadn’t known about any of this when we made the offer, as it was december and the yard looked pretty dead.
once we moved in, we discovered a cherry tree, grapes, and blueberries as well. guys, i am in HEAVEN over here.
…oh yeah, and a few weeks after we put the offer on the house, we found out that i’m pregnant! baby boy is coming in just a few short months.
it’s been a BIG year to say the least. and we are just SO thrilled for this season of fertility.
also, can i just say that if you have a dream or a goal you can absolutely work HARD, send a TON of positive energy into it, and MANIFEST THAT SHIT. the universe delivers!
so now after a few months, a watermelon-sized belly, and lots of frustrating kitchen reno moments involving IKEA cabinets, not being able to find studs in walls where they should be but somehow just aren’t, and discovering that our adorable hand-built cottage is pretty much crooked, i have successfully harvested enough blackberries from my OWN YARD to bring you this delicious blackberry buckle recipe! it’s been a long time coming. but, you know, LIFE happens and i wouldn’t have it any other way.
summer blackberry buckle (you can use any kind of fresh summer berry for this, but i think blackberries are the best! i wouldn’t recommend frozen berries as the extra moisture will make for a soggier cake & a longer baking time.)
for the streusel
- 1/2 c almond meal, lightly toasted in a dry skillet
- 1/2 c brown sugar
- 1/4 c + 2 T all purpose unbleached flour
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/4 t nutmeg
- 1/2 t cinnamon
- 1/4 c melted butter
- mix all streusel ingredients in a small bowl & set aside. the mixture should resemble moderately damp sand.
for the cake
- 1 3/4 c all purpose unbleached flour
- 2 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/4 c butter, softened and half melted
- 1 c sugar
- 1 egg
- zest of one lemon
- 2/3 c buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 level (or slightly less than level) pints of fresh blackberries
- preheat an oven to 350 F. grease & flour a 9″ square baking dish.
- combine the flour, baking powder & salt in the LARGE bowl of a stand mixer. set aside.
- in a large glass measuring cup or bowl (i use a 4 c pyrex & it is perfect) whisk the butter & sugar until combined. add the egg & lemon zest and whisk until smooth & fluffy.
- beat in the buttermilk slowly. it’s ok if it looks a bit curdled!
- place the bowl with the dry ingredients in the stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. set the mixer to low speed, and slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry (see why the measuring cup works so well?).
- mix on low speed for about 1 minute, or until the batter is smooth, creamy, and no dry spots of flour remain. you can use a rubber spatula to check the bottom of the bowl if you’d like.
- make sure your berries are completely dry. if not, toss them in about 1 T flour before proceeding.
- gently fold the berries into the batter. *alternately you can wait and spread them in an even layer on the top of the the batter like i did*
- using a rubber spatula, pour the batter into the prepared pan (it will be thick!) and smooth into an even layer.
- using your hands, sprinkle the top with streusel mixture to create an even layer of clumps. yum, it’s gonna be so crispity and delicious!
- bake at 350 F for 45-55 minutes, or until it is golden brown on top and the center of the cake no longer jiggles when gently shaken. cool for at least 30 min before serving (and probably topping it with ice cream!).