brown butter nectarine blueberry buckle

hi, how was your thanksgiving?

How was the turkey, the stuffing, the sides, the company, the memories? Was it just me, or did it also sort of scare you that Thanksgiving 2017 rolled around so quickly? 

I went back home to LA for Thanksgiving this year. Baited a couple friends to pick me up from the airport at 10 PM (ty!), spent time with my family, and slept and ate a lot. I set up the Christmas tree at my sister's, made cheesecake and chocolate cake (ty, smitten kitchen for the lovely olive oil chocolate cake that will eventually make its way here). I think I slept in until 11 one day, and it was great. also, it was like 95 degrees the day before thanksgiving?! my family took a photo next to a christmas tree at the outdoor shopping area wearing t-shirts and shorts. who would've thought that clothes meant for the summer would make its way back in late november?

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ah, the irony. i actually made this cake back in the summer when berries and stone fruits were in season. oh well, socal things. there was probably traffic during both moments, too. 

the nectarines and blueberries were a good combo, but i think the brown butter ties the entire thing together. it's in both the cake and the streusel, but just enough to not overpower the fruit. this "buckle" (but really, it's a cake) is made of a layer of moist cake (think coffee cake texture) made with brown butter, a layer of fruit, and a cinnamon-spiced streusel made with more brown butter. enjoy it on its own, as there's enough flavor from everything to not need ice cream or whipped cream, perhaps with a cup of hot coffee.

baker's notes: i used nectarines and substituted some of them with blueberries. feel free to experiment with different fruit combinations! i'd imagine nectarines/peeled peaches with other berries, or apple and pears would be good combos.

brown butter is when you melt the butter until the milk solids start to caramelize. it's what makes the cake, but if you really don't have the time or desire to do so, then i suppose regular boring melted butter would work as well. i know, it's an extra step, and trust me-lazy baker me completely understands-but believe me when i say it's worth taking that extra step. i'm not going to ask you to take an extra step if you don't need to. scout's honor. 

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brown butter nectarine blueberry buckle

makes one 9-inch cake
adapted from smitten kitchen

3/4 cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of allspice (optional)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup whole milk or buttermilk
1 1/2 pounds sliced nectarines and blueberries; see baker's note above
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Reserved butter from cake (above)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt

brown the butter: set aside a small bowl. melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. it's helpful to use a light-colored saucepan so you can see the brown bits as it melts. the butter will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden, and start to brown and smell nutty. stir frequently, and don't take your eyes of it once it melts!! it brown and burns quickly- pour the browned butter into the bowl you set aside. let it cool at room temp or in the fridge if needed.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line the bottom of a 10-inch round cake pan, springform pan, or cast iron skillet with parchment paper and butter the paper and rest of the pan generously. set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and allspice in medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup cooled browned butter (set aside remaining 1/4 cup for the streusel) and sugar. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in milk or buttermilk. Stir dry ingredients into the wet mixture. mix until just combined, and spread the batter in prepared pan. Toss nectarine wedges with lemon juice and arrange them in a single layer on top of the batter. if using, sprinkle blueberries over the nectarines.

for the streusel, stir together remaining 1/4 cup brown butter, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt together until large clumps form. sprinkle the nectarine-topped batter with crumbs.

bake the buckle until top is golden brown and tester inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs, about 40-45 minutes. let cool in pan for 5 minutes, flip onto a cooling rack, and eat!!!