Cranberry Buckle

Cranberry Buckle Recipe

When the cranberries in this buckle bake, they split open just enough for their tartness to be absorbed by the cake batter. Half the berries are folded into the batter, half are sprinkled over the batter with the crumb topping, creating a red-jeweled delight. The crumb topping can be used on many recipes, including fruit crisp. Double or even triple the crumb topping recipe and keep the extra in the freezer so you can make a crisp at a moment’s notice.–Cory Schreiber

LC Buckling Up or Buckling Down? Note

We’ll take a slice of this sweetly tart mingling of muffin and coffee cake pretty much any time or way someone cares to place it in front of us, whether that means morning, late afternoon, early evening, or midnight. As breakfast or a last course. With coffee, tea, milk, or nothing. And yes, twist our arms, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of sweet whipped cream. Whether the recipe calls for buckling up or buckling down, we’ve no idea seeing as this little number has us turned so topsy-turvy. Best just see for yourself.

Cranberry Buckle Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 1 H, 25 M
  • Serves 8 to 12


  • For the cake
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest from 1 orange, preferably organic
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (for the love of all things good, use full-fat)
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • For the crumb topping
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  • Make the cake
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Butter a 9-inch square or round baking dish.
  • 2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
  • 3. Using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and orange zest together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition, then add the vanilla. Switch to a spoon and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Fold in 1 cup cranberries.
  • 4. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cranberries over the cake.
  • Make the crumb topping
  • 5. Combine the flour, sugars, salt, and butter in the bowl of a food processor or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Pulse or mix on low speed until the mixture is the texture of coarse crumbs. Drizzle the vanilla over the mixture and either pulse or mix briefly just until incorporated.
  • 6. Sprinkle 1 cup crumb topping over the cranberries on the batter. If you really, really, really like crumbs, dump the rest of the crumbs on the cake. If you want to save a little for another day, stash the remaining crumb topping in a resealable plastic bag for another buckle and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • 7. Bake the buckle for 45 to 50 minutes, until lightly golden and firm on top. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack before slicing and serving. The cake will keep, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Hey, there. Just a reminder that all our content is copyright protected. Like a photo? Please don't use it without our written permission. Like a recipe? Kindly contact the publisher listed above for permission before you post it (that's what we did) and rewrite it in your own words. That's the law, kids. And don't forget to link back to this page, where you found it. Thanks!

Recipe Testers Reviews

Anne Petito

Oct 31, 2012

This dessert is easy to assemble and makes for a beautifully presented dish. I had never worked with cranberries before, which drew me to the recipe, and this buckle showcases them wonderfully. The combination of the tart berries with the tender cake and sweet topping is moist and crisp and crumbly all at the same time, totally delicious either on its own or with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Kristina R.

Oct 31, 2012

This was a great recipe. I ate it both for breakfast and as a dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I used close to 2 cups of frozen cranberries. I loved the melding of moist cake on the bottom and the coffee cake–like topping. This buckle so was easy to whip up and took an hour to bake in my oven. I’ll definitely be making this again with other fruit, especially since I have a cup of the vanilla crumb sitting in my freezer calling to me.

Cindy Zaiffdeen

Oct 31, 2012

Loved this recipe! Made it for dessert one Sunday night. It was fantastic with vanilla frozen yogurt. The tartness of the cranberries went very well with the light sweetness of the cake itself. This was devoured by everyone at the table and the two pieces left the next morning made a terrific breakfast. Will definitely make this again; next time I’ll make sure I have more cranberries and double the recipe because I’m sure it would freeze very well.

Chiyo Ueyama

Oct 31, 2012

This is a great recipe to have—straightforward, reliable, and the buckle is delicious. Frozen cranberries worked just fine, which makes it a good year-round recipe on top of that. Another plus is that you can make the buckle the day before you serve it; we wrapped the leftover buckle tightly in plastic wrap, and found the cake moister the following day, and the vanilla crumb retained the wonderful crusty texture.


  1. Loved this recipe! Flavors complemented each other very well, the crumb topping with the touch of vanilla is the crowning glory. Posted a pix on my Facebook page, too! We shared this gem with neighbors for dessert after Thanksgiving…all asked for the recipe! My only recommendations would be to place the buckle in the top portion of your oven…the sides and bottom scorched a little even though the top appeared lightly golden and firm to touch. I will also start checking a few minutes prior to the 45 minute mark. Two thumbs up!!!

    1. Linda, how wonderful to hear! We so appreciate you letting us know and you sharing your tips. Here’s hoping you have some cranberries leftover for another buckle….

  2. Has anyone adapted this recipe to a 9 x 13 pan? Or could I double the recipe and put 3/4 of the batter in a 9 x 13 and the remainder in a cupcake pan?

    1. We haven’t tried it, Cheryl, so I can’t say with certainty that it would work. But I certainly like the way you’re thinking. Let us know, please, if you make these modifications.

  3. I tried the CRANBERRY BUCKLE recipe. It was heavenly, although I forgot to dump the rest of the crumb on the top of cake. I used a 9 x 13 pan so it was not very thick, which is okay with me. This time around I am better prepared and will make 2 cakes – 1 for home, the other to share with friends on Good Friday. Thanks for this great recipe! Hope my picture is good enough…..

    Cranberry Buckle Recipe

  4. Tastes great. I made it in a 9-inch round cake pan. It fit well. Took almost an hour to bake through. I made 1/2 the amount of the topping and that was enough. I found the body too buttery, so next time would cut down on the butter by 25 percent.

    1. Thanks for sharing, P Das. It’s always nice to hear how various home cooks tweak a recipe to their own liking—that’s the entire point of cooking, to make it as you like it. Baking is such a science, I’m a little concerned about cutting the butter by that much only because I worry the resulting texture may be a touch dry, but if you try it, please let us know so we can offer that option to readers if you feel it was successful.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Send it along. Covet one of those spiffy pictures of yourself to go along with your comment? Get a free Gravatar. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Rate this recipe!

Have you tried this recipe?
Let us know what you think.