I baked this cake in honor of the fact that I am officially done with diets. Hopefully forever.
As I wrote here I have tried pretty much every form of controlling my body known to (wo)man. Starting with disordered eating in my teens all the way through the latest vegan, paleo and keto crazes.
We’re talking ALLLLLLLL the diets. And the un-diets. And the cleanses. And the “lifestyle overhauls”. Always seeking to be thinner. Smaller. To take up less space.
But I am done with that.
I am done feeling ashamed that I’m not a size 4. I’m done feeling like a failure because I don’t fit the beauty standard laid out by the diet industry. And fashion magazines. And mainstream advertising. I am done waging war on a body that keeps me healthy and strong. That allows me to experience the joy of playing tennis and lifting weights and hiking in the forest. I’m ready to start treating my body like the miraculous gift that it is.
Oddly, Instagram is largely to thank for this new-found liberation. I’ve started following fitness bloggers who value strength and self-acceptance over thinness. (Whassup @shethrivesblog and @anniemiller.co!) And brands that use models of all shapes, sizes, colors and ages. (Hello @chromat and @universalstandard!) And plus size models who show me that you can be sexy and self-confident at any size. (Yes @jenniferatilemile and @jessicavanderleahy!) And anti-diet crusaders who have made me rethink my attitudes toward how I feed and care for myself. (Thank you @susanhyatt and @thefuckitdiet!)
Following all these women who choose to celebrate the female body in all its amazing forms has helped me realize I don’t need to change a single thing about my beautiful body.
And neither do you.
I know that if you are currently feeling the body shame I felt for years, this message is going to sound like a pile of blissed-out bullshit. I have been there. I mean let’s be honest: I’ve lived there for most of my life.
But something has shifted in me lately. Maybe because I’ve gotten older and a little bit wiser. Maybe because I’ve been spending a lot of time in Europe where I feel more balanced and at ease with myself. Who knows. I’ll take it however it comes.
If some part of you thinks you might want to make peace with your body, I highly recommend you check out the bloggers and Instagrammers I linked to above. Taylor Gage and Caroline Dooner have been especially valuable to me on my path towards greater self-love and acceptance.
And wherever you’re at on the path towards loving and cherishing yourself, celebrating yourself with a cake is never a bad move.
Peach Plum Buckle
- 225g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus extra for the pan
- 250g (1 cup plus 4 tablespoons) sugar, divided
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 215g (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 70g (3/4 cup) almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 firm-ripe peaches, sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 225g (8 oz.) plums, pitted and halved (if small) or sliced cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (if larger)
*Notes: I love, love, love this cake! I've been making versions of this one since way back in 2006. I almost never make recipes twice. So I guarantee you it's a good one!
- I made this version with cherry plums because we have a cherry plum tree in our front yard. I had never heard of cherry plums until we moved into this house so I don’t think they’re particularly common. I’ve made this with tons of different kinds of plums though and it’s always delicious.
- You can use any variety of stone fruit you like: peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, cherries, sour cherries (mix these with a little extra sugar if you go that route). Whatever.
- This cake magically gets better and better as it sits. I leave mine covered with a tea towel on the counter and on days 2 and 3 it is PHENOMENAL. (Did I mention I love this cake?)
Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat it to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment. Butter the parchment. Then flour the pan, tapping out the excess flour.
Cut the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds with a paring knife. In a small bowl rub the vanilla seeds into 1 cup of the sugar until they are well distributed. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt to remove any lumps. Using a stand mixer, beat the butter until fluffy. Add the cup of vanilla sugar. Beat until well blended. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.
Transfer the batter to your pan (it will be VERY thick). Spread the batter evenly in the pan then arrange the fruit over the batter, pressing it down slightly.
Bake the cake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 80-90 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Run a small knife between the cake and the pan to loosen it. Then turn the cake out onto a large plate. Remove the parchment paper. Place another large plate or serving platter on top of the cake. Using both hands, hold both plates firmly together and flip the cake again, plum side up. Cool completely before serving.
Makes 8-10 servings
Adapted from Bon Appetit