La What Now?

Since the 1960s, baseball teams and players have been publishing cookbooks. I collect them and try out some of the recipes that major leaguers have shared with their fans over the years. Photos, recipes and comments included.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tropical Delight Cake by Tony La Russa - from "Home Plate: The White Sox Favorite Recipes" (1983)


2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup honey
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour [I used regular whole wheat flour]
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 1/2 cups unsweetened, crushed pineapple, with juice
1 cup diced dates
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup dry milk powder
1/4 cup wheat germ

Mix all ingredients together.  Pour batter into an oiled and floured tube pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.  Cool.  Frost with Banana-Nut Cream Cheese Frosting [see below].

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 small ripe banana, mashed
8 tblsp. butter
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy.  Beat in honey and banana.  Add vanilla and nuts.  (Keep refrigerated.)  Chill to spreading consistency.  Decorate frosted cake with raisins [I used a dried fruit mix of dark raisins, white raisins, currants, cranberries and blueberries].

If I'm going to cook through the 1983 White Sox cookbook and name this blog after Tony La Russa, it makes sense to kick things off with his recipe.

La Russa became Sox manager midway through the 1979 season, replacing Don Kessinger.  La Russa was the latest in a managerial merry-go-round that saw four different managers come and go in the previous four seasons, but his hire would stick.

By 1983, La Russa had shaped the team into a contender and clinched his first division title.  After a slow start, the Sox went on a 59-26 rampage in the second half and won the AL West by 20 games.  La Russa won multiple Manager of the Year Awards, and went on to become one of the winningest managers in history.  But it all started with the White Sox.

This cake is pretty easy to make, once you have assembled all the ingredients.  Not sure how many of you keep things like dry milk powder or wheat germ in the pantry, but they should be available in your local grocery.  The tube pan was borrowed from my bemused mom.

Once everything was gathered up, it was a matter of mixing the dry and wet ingredients, then combining them and pouring everything into the tube pan.

The frosting is pretty intense.  I mean seriously, what comes out of the oven after 40 minutes is a nice fruitcake that isn't too dense or sickly-sweet.  But then you frost the thing with what is essentially a banana cheesecake.  Mercy!

This would be a good dish to serve up at holiday time, if you want to try something different.  I wouldn't recommend making this cake on a regular basis.  Tony himself kept pretty slim throughout his baseball career so I'm guessing he didn't indulge in Tropical Delight Cake too often.

FINAL SCORE - it's a White Sox Winner, but make it a rarity, like an AL West Division title.

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