I’ve always been intrigued by the tendency for people to discover interest in foods that at one point seemed uninspiring or just downright un-tasty. I imagine this is a result of 2 things: new perspective (that comes from a more developed, sophisticated palate), and plain old nostalgia. Once you’ve been exposed to the culinary wonderland out there, your taste buds become more discerning and you start to think to yourself, “maybe that cake that my mom used to bake back in the day was better than I thought…the combination of banana and pineapple seems so much more exciting now than it did when I was 6, when all i really wanted was boxed yellow birthday cake with chocolate frosting.”
Hence my renewed interest in the Banana-Pineapple Cake from the 1984 Holiday Cooking issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine. My mom made this for almost any occasion that required a celebratory cake, exactly the way the recipe called for – in a Bundt pan, using over-ripe bananas and an 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple, and dusted with powdered sugar. As a 6-year old, this translated to: not a layer cake like the picture on the Duncan Hines box, annoyingly “healthy,” and a poor man’s icing that left this sad cake virtually naked.
Today, this cake looks heartwarmingly old-fashioned, the banana-pineapple flavor combination feels surprisingly unique, and the powdered sugar seems beautifully and appropriately understated. Last week, I made this cake straight from page 16 of the 23-year old, grease-splattered magazine, and tasted it in a whole new way.