Cranberry Vanilla Breakfast Buckle

published May 8, 2022
Cranberry Vanilla Breakfast Buckle Recipe

This fruit-filled coffee cake will satisfy your sweet tooth any time of day.


Prep15 minutes

Cook1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes

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Credit: Nico Schinco

I was first introduced to the berry-​filled world of buckles by my husband, as his mother’s is a breakfast cake to end all breakfast cakes. Not having grown up in a home of buckles, I hadn’t a clue as to what to expect when experiencing my MIL’s for the first time. If you, too, have been buckle-​less until now, no worries: I got you.

A buckle is essentially a whimsical name for a fruit-​filled coffee cake, but one in which the batter bakes up and over the fruit, giving it a “buckled” appearance. I like mine, like my mother-​in-​law’s, with a crumble topping, so that is what you will find here, along with loads of tart, juicy cranberries and a vanilla-​infused, tender crumbed-​cake. The batter is thickkkkk and so takes a looooong time to bake, but yes, it is worth it, and yes, you can substitute a different berry in your buckle (including blueberries — ​and if you do, my husband will happily take a slice, as “bloobs,” as we affectionately call them in my house, are his favorite).

Cranberry Vanilla Breakfast Buckle Recipe

This fruit-filled coffee cake will satisfy your sweet tooth any time of day.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes

Serves 8

Nutritional Info


For the topping:

  • 1 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 1 cup

    all-​purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup

    unsalted butter, cold and cubed

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

For the cake:

  • Cooking spray or softened unsalted butter for the pan

  • 1/4 cup

    unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

  • 2/3 cup

    light brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1/3 cup

    heavy cream or whole milk

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2 cups

    cranberries, fresh or frozen, roughly chopped

  • 1 1/2 cups

    all-​purpose flour

  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting


  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-​inch square cake pan with cooking spray or softened butter. Line with a long piece of parchment paper that extends up and over two opposite edges of the pan.

  2. To make the topping, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Rub in the butter, using your fingers, drizzle in the vanilla, and continue to rub until the mixture holds together when squeezed. Refrigerate while you make the cake.

  3. To make the cake, whisk together the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl for about 30 seconds. Whisk in the egg and then the heavy cream. Sprinkle the baking powder and salt into the bowl, one at a time, vigorously whisking after each. Gently fold 1 1/2 cups of the cranberries into the wet ingredients, along with the flour, with a flexible spatula, just until the last streak of flour disappears. Don’t overmix. The batter will be very thick. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining cranberries on top. Pinching the chilled topping between your fingers to form crumbs, evenly cover the cake with it.

  4. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, rotating the pan at the halfway point, until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out with only a moist crumb or two.

  5. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, or until you can safely lift the buckle out by the parchment overhang without burning yourself. Run a butter knife around the edges if it resists. Let cool to room temperature before dusting with confectioners’ sugar, slicing into squares, and serving. Keep the buckle, wrapped, on the counter for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes

Reprinted with permission from Snackable Bakes: 100 Easy-Peasy Recipes for Exceptionally Scrumptious Sweets and Treats by Jessie Sheehan. Photographs by Nico Schinco. Published by Countryman Press, copyright © 2022.