Lemon-Raspberry Buckle

A cross between a crisp and a cake, this moist and tender raspberry buckle is a perfect summer dessert.

By Amy Traverso

Aug 23 2022


Buttermilk in the batter makes this cake especially tender.

Photo Credit : Amy Traverso

Crips and cobblers, buckles and brown betties. These old-fashioned fruit desserts have stood the test of time for good reason: Simple and delicious, they’re a perfect way to highlight fresh fruit in season. Crisps and cobblers may win the popularity context, but buckles, which are rustic cakes studded with fruit and finished with crumb topping, are worth a second look. Being fruity and cakey at the same time, they please both cake aficionados and pie partisans. Also, they require less fruit than pies and crisps, which is helpful when working with pricier ingredients like raspberries (you can further reduce the cost by using frozen berries instead of fresh).


10 servings

For the Topping


1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into small cubes, plus more for greasing pan


Preheat the oven to 350°, and set a rack to the middle position. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan (or equivalent).

In a small bowl, use a fork to stir together the brown sugar, flour, pecans (if using), and cinnamon. Scatter the cold butter over all, and use a pastry cutter or fork to work it in until the mixture looks like wet sand and the largest pieces are pea-size. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Cake


8 tablespoons salted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 cup buttermilk (see Note)
1 large egg, at room temperature
Zest of 1 lemon
2½ cups fresh or frozen raspberries (if frozen, do not thaw)


Using a standing or handheld mixer with a whisk attachment, cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until the mixture is fluffy and has a very pale texture, about 4 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a third bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix briefly, then add half the buttermilk-egg blend and mix again. Repeat, adding another third of the flour mixture and the remaining buttermilk-egg mixture, then finish with the remaining third of the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Stir in the lemon zest.

Spread the batter evenly into the baking pan (it will be quite thick). Sprinkle the raspberries over the batter. Sprinkle the crumble topping over all.

Bake until the top is golden, the sides are just beginning to pull away from the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then serve warm from the pan.

Note: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, just add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white wine vinegar to 1 cup milk and let stand for 10 minutes before using.