Ruby-Gold Cake & Silvery Snowflakes: Warm Cranberry-Apple Buckle, with Sweet Vanilla Crumb, Kisses the Dawn…

Cranberry-Apple Buckle with Vanilla Crumb – Lace Plate by Virginia Wyoming

Why pine for springtime when winter mornings arrive with sparkling frost and sunlight pouring across the hillside like sweet honey? I savor the slow, quiet days of winter, and I’m in no rush for spring. For now I’ll linger in my cozy chair, indulging in garden fantasies, verdant catalogues, leisurely breakfasts and steamy cups of tea. Instant gratification has its place, but waiting can be exquisite pleasure. In fact, I truly believe that anticipation is one of life’s greatest delights.

In the fall of 2009, I visited Vermont artist Virginia Wyoming‘s pottery studio for a feature article here on The Gardener’s Eden. The moment I stepped inside the artist’s work shop, I was immediately smitten by her lace-patterned plates. They were sitting out on her work table, some still in progress. I loved everything about them: the color, the texture, the hand-formed shape. I wanted one desperately, but I made myself wait. I felt I needed to earn such a lovely reward. Of course, I thought about the lace plates quite a bit; stalking them online in her Etsy shop for an entire year. And then, just before the holidays, I returned to Virginia’s studio to collect a few treasures. Anticipation… Thank goodness, the lace plate was still there…

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Even From a Distance, Each Tiny, Frost-Coated Branch Stands Out Against the Hillside’s Blue Shadow

Morning Star Dust: Rustic Charm meets Sugar-Coated Glamour

Today —with the garden and surrounding forest covered in tiny, frozen ice crystals— I remembered that frost is what first came to mind when I saw Virginia’s lace plates. With their striking textural contrast —rough-hewn shape and delicate lace pattern— and wintery color, they recall the work of my elusive friend, Jack Frost. Delighted by the cool ice crystals and the warm morning light, and the similarity in Virginia’s plate, I decided to play with the theme in my kitchen.

Rustic Fruit Desserts by Vermont-native Julie Richardson, and co-author Cory Schreiber, is one of my favorite, recent cookbook acquisitions. Given my weakness for all things tart —as well as everything apple, pear and berry— I simply had to add this delicious collection of recipes to my kitchen library. The buckle I made today is actually a combination of two recipes from Rustic Fruit Desserts. In winter, I keep local apples in cold storage in my cellar, and cranberries in my freezer. I thought the two would combine well to make a nice breakfast buckle. Indeed. You really shouldn’t take my word though, you must taste for yourself. Mmmm. Anticipation…

Cranberry-Apple Buckle with Sweet Vanilla Crumb

From combined treasures found between the pages of Rustic Fruit Desserts

Ingredients:Cranberry-Apple Buckle:

1               Tablespoon unsalted butter at room temp

1 3/4        Cups all-purpose flour

2               Teaspoons baking powder

1/2            Teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2            Cup unsalted butter

3/4            Cup granulated sugar

Zest          Of one orange

2               Eggs at room temperature

1               Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/2            Cup sour cream

2               Cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)

1               Cup apples (cored, peeled and diced)

Vanilla Crumb Topping

1/2            Cup all-purpose flour

1/4            Cup brown sugar

1/4            Cup granulated sugar

1/8            Teaspoon fine salt

1/4            Cup cold, unsalted butter (cut into cubes)

1 1/2         Teaspoons of pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Butter a 9″, square baking dish and set aside.

To make the vanilla crumb topping: combine the butter, flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor or stand mixer: Pulse or mix on low speed until coarse crumbs form. Slowly add the vanilla and and mix briefly. Cover and set aside in the fridge.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer w/paddle (or use a hand mixer) cream the butter and sugar together with the orange zest on med-high speed until creamy and light (5 minutes). Slowly add each egg, one at a time –be sure to mix the sides in well– and then add the vanilla. Pour in about half the sour cream, then half the flour mixture. When blended, add the other half of the sour cream, and finally add the remaining flour. Mix well, making sure to stop and pull in all ingredients from the side of the bowl. Stop the mixer and stir in one cup of cranberries and one cup of apples.

Spread the mixture into the buttered baking dish. Pour the remaining cup of cranberries over the top of the buckle in one even layer. Remove the vanilla crumb topping from the fridge and sprinkle it evenly over the top of the cranberries.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a wooden stick pulls out clean when inserted in the center of the buckle.

Cool for a few minutes and serve.



Virginia Wyoming’s Pottery may be viewed and purchased online at her Etsy shop by Clicking Here


Article and Photographs are â“’ Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden

All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used or reproduced without prior written consent.

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8 Replies to “Ruby-Gold Cake & Silvery Snowflakes: Warm Cranberry-Apple Buckle, with Sweet Vanilla Crumb, Kisses the Dawn…”

  1. Sarah Godbold

    This recipe is definitely it. Don’t hate me but I can step out into my orange grove and pick a precious Valencia to zest. I take care of 80 trees here on our property in NW Florida. The cold has hit them rather hard but hopefully they will just be much sweeter even if not as beautiful.

    I long to get to New England and your words about anticipation helped me so much.

    Thank you again Michaela, Sarah

  2. Michaela

    @ Sarah – Oh Dios mio mi Amigo! Hate you? No, never. Although I may be turning just the teensiest bit green around the edges. Mmmm. V-a-l-e-n-c-i-a ! My goodness, but your state can be so sweet. 80 trees! Wow. Fantastic. Enjoy the sunshine and warm flavors in your backyard. I will be thinking of you now, each time I zip the zest from my citrus. xo M

  3. virginia wyoming

    I’m going to try the buckle with raspberries and apples. Thanks for showing it on my lace decorated plate. I’m with you in enjoying the snow. It is so gorgeous on our road today with the sunshine. Cheers, Virginia

  4. Michaela

    @ Virginia – Oh, but my dear friend Virginia… Your lace plate was the inspiration for my baking. Thank you for bringing such beauty into my life! xo M

  5. Guillermo

    This piece put a smile on my face this winter morning. A great read and the recipe has inspired me. I’m a terrible cook but I think I might be able to pull this one off! I’m glad you shared Ms. Wyoming’s Etsy shop as I hadn’t heard of it before and she has some great items for sale.

  6. Michaela

    @ Guillermo – Hello there my friend! I’m new to baking myself, but I’m having so much fun with it. The buckles and crisps in this cookbook are so much easier than fancier desserts. Plus, I’m a real push-over for fruity, moist cakes on winter weekend mornings. If you love breakfast as much as I do, you might want to check out Marion Cunningham’s “The Breakfast Book”. Marion is the goddess of breakfast and brunch, and her recipes are all super easy.
    And yes, I do love Virginia’s work (so much lovelier in person than in photographs!). I’m currently sipping hot tea from one of her beautiful, lichen-green mugs.
    Nice to hear from you, as always, G.! xo M

  7. Deb Weyrich-Cody

    Hi Michaela, I’m loving your new lace plate – the perfect backdrop for your obviously delicious, mouth-watering creation. (And such beautiful lace for a stencil Veronica! Hope you don’t mind if I “borrow” your idea.)

    Just finished reading your last Garden Variety post and all I can say is “Congratulations!” (I knew it, can’t wait to read your new piece in MSL.) xo D.

  8. Michaela

    @ Deb – I can’t get enough of Virginia’s work… the lace and crows especially!
    And thank you so much your kind words re: the MSL article. I hope you enjoy it. xo M

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