Cherry Nectarine Almond Crumble & Birthday Beaching


Summer is for sun-soaked sand. It’s is for sipping on fruity iced drinks and tackling the books that pile up over a busy year. Summer is for cherries. Mom always has a bowl of them sitting on the kitchen island, another perk to being home again that I fully cashed in on.


I was blessed enough to enjoy all of these things during one last hurrah at the end of summer… in many senses, the end of an era of summers. Next year I’ll be staying in Europe, hunting for internships, then for a job, or perhaps wandering nomadically full-time. Real life is rushing at me relentlessly, and in many ways I’m eager to lock horns with it—but the lifelong student mindset of built-in summer breaks will be hard to part with. The off-season will become a luxury instead of a birthright, but here’s to hoping that I’ll just appreciate it that much more.


For nearly a decade I’ve been celebrating the end of summer with one of my dearest friends. We’ve shared middle-school crushes, bad science teachers, and innumerable playdates. We share a psychoanalytic eye, a weakness for wordplay, an August birthday. Each summer we part towards increasingly distinct paths, but always with the comfort of knowing next summer’s rendezvous will feel just like that first sleepover.


Perhaps above all, we will always share a special love for pretty baked goods and dainty cake buntings. As we reclined on the beach with our deliciously legal 21st birthday drinks in hand (see my previous post on Pimm’s for the recipe to these pretty mason-jarred beauties), I couldn’t have imagined a better way to celebrate—until we cut into her beautifully ombré-layered cake later that evening.




Cherry Nectarine Almond Crumble
(makes one 8×8)

• 2 cups cherries, pitted
• 1 organic nectarine, pitted and thinly sliced
• 1 ½ cup natural cherry juice
• 2 t arrowroot powder / tapioca starch
• 2 t vanilla extract
• pinch of salt

• 1 cup organic rolled oats
• ½ cup ww flour
• ½ cup almond meal
• ¼ t cinnamon
• pinch of salt
• ¼ cup neutral oil
• ¼ cup agave
• handful of raw almonds, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350ºF and place a pan on the bottom rack to catch any drips.
Toss nectarines and cherries together in a baking dish, layered and spread evenly.
Heat cherry juice in a saucepan until simmering. Separately, whisk together some warm water and thickener until dissolved well. Add this mixture into the simmering juice, stirring constantly to prevent clumps. Bring to a low boil and reduce until thick (about 15-20 minutes). Remove from heat, stirring in vanilla, sugar, and salt. Pour over the fresh fruit sitting in the baking pan.
Mix together dry topping ingredients, then stir in the oil and agave until the right consistency is achieved—sticky enough to clump, but dry enough to crumble evenly over the fruit mixture. Top with a handful of roughly chopped almonds before popping into the oven.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Divine when spooned out warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.



Also in the wake of turning 21, I officially joined the 21st century by making myself a Twitter handle. I’ve been postponing the inevitable for years, but now that a career in the design world is becoming more and more of a reality, I figured it was time to man up and do it. Feel free to follow along as I embarrass myself with misdirected hashtags and clumsy digital fumbling—I’ve added an icon near the top of the page or you can click through here @irina_wanders!




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79 Responses to Cherry Nectarine Almond Crumble & Birthday Beaching

  1. Your blog is beautiful, with quite amazing photography! Love the cherry nectarine crumble: two of my most favorite fruits in one place.

  2. Pimms on the beach, crumble and ombre cake? Sounds like the perfect birthday! It all looks super delicious…

  3. This crumble looks amazing, your pictures are so so so beautiful! And also happy birthday, I hope you had a lovely day! :D

  4. Happy Birthday!!!! I adore your blog, girl, your photos are STUNNING!

  5. There’s a beautiful cake, a crumble, amazing iced tea and beach reading. Can this post get any better?

  6. oh how I miss the summer breaks from school.. yes, life won’t be the same indeed. Happy Birthday – that cake looks so good and so does the crumble. I really have to try my hand at them!

  7. This is one of those post you just want to crawl inside your screen and join in the fun! Any thoughts of posting that beautiful cake recipe? It is so impressive. And your crumble has a lovely juiciness about it.

  8. liz says:

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog. You have a lovely one here. The cherry nectarine almond crumble looks very delicious and the cake too, though I didn’t see the recipe for the cake. Wish you a wonderful day!

  9. Wow, all I can say is you take the most amazing pictures ever. This is a gorgeous post! Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog; I’m following you on Pinterest now and can’t wait to see more posts!

  10. Your beautiful photography always make me want to grab my camera and head out for a day of doing nothing but taking pictures! Your crumble looks so juicy and delicious! Nectarines are my fav.

  11. That ombre cake is gorgeous! and I’d like that drink right now please…

  12. The photography is breathtaking, as per usual, but the bloggy intro bit made me tear up! I’m not ready to part with built-in summers and lock horns with “real life” yet! It’s so disconcerting to think that for many of us, this summer was the last in Jacksonville. Waahhhhh!

  13. Caz says:

    Happy Birthday Irina! This is an amazing post full of beautiful photography. The cake looks so pretty and the crumble looks absolutely delicious. I can’t get enough cherries this summer. Glad you enjoyed turning 21.

  14. Happy Birthday! There’s nothing like sharing a day with your oldest and best friend :) That ombre cake is so gorgeous!

  15. Happy Birthday!!!! I don’t know what looks better, the stunning cake, the juicy crumble, or the beach!

  16. Dan dan says:

    really irina could you have been any less considerate. who uses Farenheit these days?! haha

  17. Norma Chang says:

    Happy 21st birthday and many happy returns. Your crumble is absolutely tempting.

  18. Oh, Irina, your pictures just sing glorious songs to me! Happy Birthday. Enjoy it. You are only 21 once!

  19. 21 is a fabulous age! There’s so much to look forward to. Happy Birthday Irina! The crumble looks and sounds absolutely amazing and so are your photos. Beautiful!

  20. Irina, gorgeous photos! You’ve captured them in a beautiful way! Where in Europe will you be staying? Sounds like a lovely plan for next year! My boyfriend and I always plan for our trips/travels about 6-8 months in advance, it’s crazy, but it is always nice not to worry about last-minute plans. The cherry nectarine almond crumble looks so gorgeous, I love the table linen (cherries). Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! xx

    • wandercrush says:

      Thank you so much, Rika! My university is in London, but who knows where I’ll end up during the summer?
      Wow that is quite advanced planning indeed—but I bet your plane ticket prices reflect that ;)

  21. Happy Belated, Irina, have a lovely weekend and enjoy being 21!

  22. Joanne says:

    Happy belated birthday!! That ombre cake is almost too beautiful to eat. But it’s a big almost. :P

    Also – that crumble IS summer. Epitomized.

  23. Love your photos! I like that you put cherries and nectarines together into one beautiful crumble :)

  24. Never thought of pairing cherries with nectarine…so divine!


  25. Monica says:

    Well, here’s to great friends, summer, and cold drinks! That cake your friend made is definitely gorgeous. Hope it was a wonderful birthday (certainly looked that way…).

  26. Your crumble looks delicious and your photographs are lovely.

  27. Start to finish, this was a beautiful event….how gorgeous are those ombre layers and that crumble is making ME crumble…love that it has the sweet and tart thing going on…YUM!

  28. Sissi says:

    Happy Birthday, Irina! The cocktail seems a perfect introduction to the world of adult drinks. I love the crumble too. Cherry and nectarine is a combination I have never tried.

  29. Happy Birthday! Great way to celebrate – lovely crumble. Great pictures, too. Anyway, thanks for this.

  30. Vivienne says:

    You make me long for summer with your beautiful writing and photography :)

    Happy belated 21st! Beautiful memories you and your friend will look back for years to come! Oh and that cake looks magical!

    Make the most of those long breaks as you’ll be missing those one day for sure :P

  31. Monet says:

    Ah, now if only I could just jump through my screen and into this lovely world you created in this post! The beach, seasonal fruit, and a beautiful cake to celebrate a new year. Thank you for sharing!

  32. I love old friends who make you feel like no time has gone by since last time you seen them. Happy Birthday too.
    That crumble looks just delicious, I cant wait for my fruit trees to start fruiting.

  33. Trisha says:

    Happy belated birthday – looks like a wonderful day full of mouth watering things. The crumble and the cake look wonderful. But it’s that drink that really got my mouth watering… reminds me of pimms. LOVE drinking from a jar!!


    • wandercrush says:

      Thanks so much, Trisha. Good call, it is Pimm’s! I lugged back to bottles from the duty free shop on my to the States from London, and it lasted all summer thankfully ;)

  34. Carmen says:

    Beautiful! I just love your photography.

  35. A very Happy Birthday, Irina!! Love the ombre cake with cute bunting and the Pimms was a great way to cheers into adulthood ;)


  36. Happy belated Birthday! Great way to celebrate – pimms, cake and amazing crumble. Woooop!!

  37. Erika says:

    Ooh when was your birthday? I wonder if we’re twins :) (Mine was the 26th). Another gorgeous post (love that photo of the book on the beach) and delicious-sounding recipe! Thanks for reminding me that I most definitely want to make an ombre cake soon!!

    • wandercrush says:

      Thanks Erika :) Mine was actually the 4th—my friend’s is on the 21st so we did the joint celebrations later and I’ve been a slacker when it comes to putting posts up amidst all the hectic moving. Happy belated to you, though!

  38. shu says:

    IRINA. That looks beautiful! Nectarines are so gorgeous. I sometimes cut them and just stare at the beautiful red, yellow blend of colours. Love what you did with the crumble. And yes, those goddamn crazy jars of pimm’s. Ah what a perfect birthday!

    • wandercrush says:

      Cheeeeers, Shu! Yeah I was initially expecting to get the pretty prep photos from the cherries, but as soon as I cut into that nectarine I knew plans had changed.

  39. Pingback: Stuffed Portobello Burgers & Birthday BBQ // .wandercrush.

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