College was a very out of character time for me, food-wise. Freshman 15 anyone? The dining hall is not designed for restraint — when you’ve got a limited number of meals, you’re trying to maximize fullness so you don’t have to spend money on food later. There are two things that I specifically remember becoming obsessed with in college, which I had never touched before. Sugary cereal, specifically Lucky Charms (I had a Jerry Seinfeld moment) and cottage cheese with canned peaches in syrup. Whoa.

What amazes me is how much those peaches in syrup taste like peaches that have been baked into things. Somehow they seemed so artificial at the time, like they weren’t really peaches at all but some approximation of peaches, like watermelon-flavored candy (have you ever had a watermelon that tastes like that?). But, yes, they are real peaches. And when you cook peaches, they get silky soft and so, so flavorful. Kind of like the actually good version of those canned peaches.

I also love almond cakes so this recipe was too good to pass up. Word to the wise, though: add a generous pinch of salt. It’s missing from the ingredients list, and it’s necessary! The great thing about this is that I was able to use some over-ripe peaches that probably wouldn’t have been that awesome to eat on their own, and I think it would work with almost any other fruit. I’m thinking pears in the winter, sour cherries, even, call me crazy, grapefruit? OK that last one I can’t make any promises.

Food 52’s Simple Summer Peach Cake