[Photograph: Carrie Vasios Mullins]

Imagine a Venn diagram with two overlapping circles. The first circle is coffee cake; the second, a fruit crumble. In the space between the circles you'll find buckles.

Making a buckle is easy. First you make a simple coffee cake batter, then you fold in a good amount of fruit. Next, pour the batter into a pan and sprinkle over a swath of buttery crumble topping. The name comes from the fact that as the dish bakes, the batter sinks (or "buckles") over the fruit.

Living in California, we just saw the season's first strawberries arrive at the market. They weren't especially sweet (I'd give it a week or two for them to be best eaten out of hand) so I decided to use them in a light dessert. Somewhere between a cake and a crumble, the buckle was the perfect choice. The berry flavor is really lovely against the lightly sweet vanilla cake and the gingery crumb topping.

About the author: Carrie Vasios Mullins is the editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. She likes to peruse her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar. You can follow her on Twitter @carrievasios


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