This recipe comes from the Kitchen Army Nutrition and Receipt Book, a World War II-era book published by the Sydney Nutrition Committee of Sydney, Nova Scotia. The cookbook was written “to improve nutrition of Canadians and to emphasize its importance in the national war effort.”
I’m not so sure I believe the Nutrition Committee’s claims about the nutritional value of their recipes, as this dessert doesn’t seem very healthy by today’s standards. About the most that can be said for it is that it does contain a lot of fruit. Whether it’s truly nutritional or not, that’s not going to stop me from making it!
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 beaten egg
- 2 cups flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup butter
- Cream together the shortening and sugar.
- Add the beaten egg and mix well.
- In another bowl, sift the flour, salt, and baking powder.
- Add the flour mixture alternately to the creamed mixture with the milk, mixing just until combined. It will form a thick batter.
- Pour the batter into a greased 8-inch round cake pan, spreading it evenly. Top with the blueberries.
- Mix together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter for the topping, rubbing in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over the blueberries.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Let rest for about 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan.
I will eat anything with a streusel topping, so I already knew I would love this recipe. I wasn’t prepared for just how good the blueberry layer would be, though – the blueberries cook down into a wonderfully thick, jammy layer. The cake layer underneath is plain, but still a perfect base for the toppings. The only change I might make to this recipe would be to add a little bit of vanilla extract to the batter.
The only problem with such a thick of layer of blueberries is that it’s difficult to tell when the buckle is done baking; the blueberries are so liquid that using a cake tester doesn’t tell you much. I left mine in for an additional 5 minutes because it still seemed wet, but actually ended up overbaking it slightly. So, unless your oven is very slow, trust the recipe and take out the buckle after 1 hour and 15 minutes to avoid overbaking it. The streusel topping should just be starting to turn golden at that point.
I served slices of my buckle warm with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream on the side – absolute perfection.
Sydney Nutrition Committee. (1943). Kitchen army nutrition and receipt book. Sydney, Nova Scotia. https://archives.novascotia.ca/cooking/archives/?ID=1103&Page=201314597