It goes without saying that every birthday celebration needs sweet treats. And on our birthday, February 29th—a leap day!—we like to look back on the history of one our favorite desserts: New Seasons’ legendary banana cake. It’s a creamy, dreamy delight made with fresh-sliced bananas, moist layers of fluffy cake, and mascarpone whipped cream.
In a food-obsessed city like Portland, our banana cake is arguably in the ranks of some of the city’s finest confections. It’s so good and well-known that the recipe was even shared in The Oregonian in 1999 (yes, the print edition!). Yet, we can’t quite take all the credit for the deliciousness. That starts with Kienow’s, a Raleigh Hills bakery and grocery store that filled local shoppers’ baskets for 90 years.
When Kienow’s closed in 1999, many feared the banana cake would go with it. But our founders contacted the property owner and cut a deal, trading a lease amendment for that sweet, sweet dessert—and the rest is history. Aside from making some small recipe tweaks here and there to really make it our own, the banana cake is just as flavorful (and sought-after) as it’s always been.
Picking up a piece at your local New Seasons bakery is a bona fide Portland tradition—one we’ve proudly kept alive.