Fresh Fruit "Cake" // Not Without Salt


The passing of May marks the end of birthday season for us. There was parties, way too much sugar, new photos taken and time spent in the memories of the old ones.

And there’s reflection.

“You’ve been a mom for 8 years!” Someone reminded me when I told them how old Baron is. Eight. Years.

I want so badly to be able to put into words what that means. To be able to offer up some intensely wise parenting advice that my younger self would have soaked up in the midst of tear filled days, from both baby and myself. But every word seems to fall short. Maybe it’s like the time I tried to paint a photo of Gabe in one of my watercolor classes in college. He ended up looking more like a monkey than the handsome man he is. My professor could see my frustration. “It’s hard to paint what you are too close to.”

I can’t sum up much of anything relating to parenting because I’m still very much in the midst of it.

There may no longer be diapers but there are scraped knees from just learning how to ride a bike. There are tears from the frustration of homework and so many tough questions and decisions that come from parenting three very different little people.

I do know that parenting is the best kind of hard.

Fresh Fruit "Cake" // Not Without Salt

Fresh Fruit "Cake" // Not Without Salt

Fresh Fruit "Cake" // Not Without Salt

The sort that makes you better. In an uncomfortable, awkward and painful sort of way.

It’s heart bursting joy and gut wrenching sadness. Quite often those polarizing emotions are felt at the same time.

I have my children to thank for teaching me how to be vulnerable. To be okay with pieces of my heart existing outside of my body. Is this a good thing? I think so. I can’t fake that I have anything in control. They keep me humble and make me proud.

I love better. Deeper. Both myself and these little people.

They’ve led me to grace time and time again.

Being a mom is the hardest thing I’ve done (am doing) and yet when a dear friend texts a picture of her new baby I melt into a puddle of joyful tears because it’s the best kind of hard.

Fresh Fruit "Cake" // Not Without Salt

Fresh Fruit "Cake" // Not Without Salt


Watermelon and Peach Fresh Fruit Cake

I almost didn’t post a picture of this “cake” on Instagram. I didn’t like the light, or the background, or the angle, or… But the response warranted this post and reminded me not to fear imperfection. A lesson I’m learning again and again.

When I asked Roman what he wanted for dessert he said, “watermelon and peaches.” His desire for fresh fruit and my desire for a tiered cake birthed this sort-of cake. He and his friends ate it with the same sort of abandon they would have had it been chocolate.


1 small watermelon (for a 6 to 8-inch cake)

2-3 peaches, thinly sliced

1 cup fresh blueberries


There really isn’t much of a recipe. The size of your cake depends on the size of your watermelon.

Cut four 3/4 to 1-inch layers and ran a knife just on the inside of the rind. Stack the layers on top of each other and trim up the edges to make sure they are the same size.

In between the layers are thinly sliced peaches.

Plunge a skewer through it all so the layers hold together and sprinkle with fresh blueberries.

I wouldn’t be opposed to vanilla ice cream or some sort of sorbet served alongside the slices but really the kids didn’t need it.

60 Responses to “Watermelon and Peach Fresh Fruit Cake”

  1. J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats

    So pretty. I saw a fruit cake made up of a watermelon with coconut cream frosting but I like how this is all just fruit and layered beautifully. No sugar rush/crashes after this cake 🙂

  2. Olivia @Primavera Kitchen

    What a beautiful cake. Healthy and delicious. I loved reading your post. I am not a mother yet but being a mother is the most amazing, rewarding, beautiful, heartbreaking experience in life 😉

  3. Naomi

    What a beautiful reflection on motherhood. The older my children get and the more I have, the less advice I have for anybody. It has been/is such a humbling journey. Looks like a cake that fulfills my requirements-easy, fast, healthy but still delicious!

  4. Kathryn

    So beautiful and utterly delightful. Whilst we don’t have kids yet, this is the kind of post that makes me so excited for that journey.

  5. Lisa @ Simple Pairings

    I love this – simple, yet so much better than an ordinary cake. I have such sweet memories of all the non-standard desserts my mom made for my birthdays (which I started helping with as I got older)… tie-dye cakes, cheesecakes, gummy worms in oreo ‘dirt’ cupcakes, etc. Never a boring dessert, and never a boring memory.

  6. Donna Timm

    What a lovely fresh dessert! I think you could have this as a centerpiece for some gala event–be it birthday party, bridal shower, baby shower, lunch with the girlfriends….! Devonshire cream might be just the ticket for a topper. LOVE IT!

  7. Giulia

    I saw the photo on Instagram and loved it! Glad you posted it there and glad you wrote about it here. Yes, it is the hardest but also the sweetest time with our kids, thanks for sharing your story.

  8. heidi

    I’ve been seeing so many of these fruit cakes on the internet, but yours is one of the first ones I’ve seen without some sort of frosting. This looks lovely. Beautifully styled.

  9. Emma

    I am 6 months out of my wedding day and I am thrilled to even begin to think about being a mom. In the same thought it is the scariest most important responsibility and I am not sure I can be so selfless. This is a beautiful perspective on motherhood and parenting. Imperfection is a beautiful thing. Simplicity is timeless.

  10. sara forte

    you are such a gracious example of a mother to me. You admit you don’t have it all figured out and I think its important for kids to see that humility in someone they respect. Important for other mothers to see as well! At least myself. Here’s to loving deeper and being beautifully wrecked and built up by these tiny people.

  11. Dawn Zook

    Ashley, this is so colorful and appetizing. And wistful! Thanks for sharing the story, and your life.

  12. Jess

    I find your recipe quite unique. This gives me an idea, maybe people could stack other types of food too and call it a cake. Anyway I am an author of a cooking eBook and this site is very nice.

  13. Justin Miller

    This would make a great visual centerpiece for the food table at a 4th of July BBQ and family get-together. I think I am going to do just that with this recipe. What a unique and visually-appealing creation!

  14. Rachel

    Wow! That fruit cake looks delicious! I’d love to try it! 🙂


  15. Emily from Quorn

    What an amazing summer party idea! Love it.
    Hope you can come our to our event in August! We would love to meet you and see what you think of our products.

  16. Pat

    Was just thinking, in two weeks it will be my turn again to bring dinner for my quilting circle! I’m making this for dessert! We have 6 ladies, in age from 92 down to 53-a super group of friends! They will love this cute cake! Thanks for posting!

  17. Julie

    I love this,what a great idea! I may use sliced kiwi for 1 layer for the color contrast or do like kiwi slices layered for a “cupcake”.

  18. janelle sadecki

    I just want to thank you for this idea. My husband went sugar free on aug. 2, 2014. The reason was to loose weight. He has lost 50lbs since and i have lost 35lbs, we are definitely not the exercising type so going sugar free was the way we went. Yesterday was his birthday and i made this for him. It was a big hit. I did however add strawberries to the top.


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