Somewhere this beloved Southern cake took a wrong turn. The combination of pineapples, bananas, and pecans should be fantastic. Instead, recipes yielded heavy, bland cakes.
Why This Recipe Works
This classic Southern cake full of banana, pineapple, and pecans needed some revamping—its namesake may be lighter than air, but the original cake was heavy and greasy. Reducing the oil was the first logical step, and tweaking the leavener finished the job. Mashing the bananas proved a better approach than simply stirring in chunks, and toasting the pecans went far in improving flavor. To amp up wan pineapple flavor, we more than doubled the amount of fruit, boiling down the juices to concentrate flavor and prevent leaden layers. Finally, a tangy cream cheese frosting tops it off.
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