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Just because…

I have a ton of those little French plums hanging out in my kitchen
They won’t last forever
Summer is nearly over and I’m feeling a little wistful
I’m hungry
I’m seeing these all over and I want to join in

So… buckles. I don’t think it’s just me, these are kind of everywhere lately. If you’re unsure what a buckle is, it’s sort of the middle ground between a cobbler and a coffee cake. Perfect for when you don’t quite have enough fruit to fill a pie or cobbler, and don’t necessarily want a lot of cake.

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It is, among other things, National Just Because Day, a day that gives one a reason to not have a reason. I have plenty of reasons to make what I’m making today, but I think “just because” fits with how I’m feeling right now.

You know, just because.

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French Plum and Raspberry Buckle*

Cake Batter:
3/4 (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
3 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
Small pinch nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

2 c. French plums, halved and pitted (if these are unavailable, apricots, small plums, or more berries
can be substituted
1 c. raspberries

Sugar Topping:
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cubed, very cold
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375F. Butter an 8″ pan and set aside.

For the batter:
Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula between each addition. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl then add to the butter mixture. Mix on low speed until just combined. Fold in the fruit- very gently- then pour into the prepared pan. Spread evenly and set aside.

For the topping:
In the bowl of a food processor (or with a pastry blender), pulse all of the ingredients until a fine cornmeal-y texture develops. Sprinkle evenly atop the cake.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a deep golden color forms on top and the middle of the cake springs back when gently pressed.

Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before removing from the pan and serving. Consume with reckless abandon.

*Borrowed heavily from a recipe found in this book here, which is one of my most all-time favorites.

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