Jack Clark is one of my all-time favorite Cardinals, and I had a huge crush on him during his mid-80s heyday. I suppose it was his brooding intensity and home run prowess that drew me in as a pre-teen and helped me overlook the unibrow. Even though he looks kind of like Tony Soprano these days, I still find him sexy (or maybe it’s because he looks like Tony Soprano).
I can’t make excuses for some of his self-destructive and Pujols-destructive antics over the years, but I will always have a soft spot for him. So when I came across the recipe for “Clark’s Cake,” I was eager to try it out. It’s the only recipe that Jack’s wife Tammy contributed to Cooking with the Cardinals.
Here’s the recipe as written by Tammy Clark…
1 box white cake mix (Duncan Hines or Pillsbury)
1 cup sugar
1 can (6 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
1 box (4 oz) instant vanilla pudding
1 cup sour cream
1 12 oz container Cool Whip
Make cake according to package directions in a 9″ x 13″ pan. While cake is cooling, heat sugar and pineapple until sugar is dissolved. Pour over cake. Prepare pudding as directed on box. Add sour cream; mix together. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Pour over cake. Spread Cool Whip over top; sprinkle coconut on topping, if desired. Refrigerate.
This was super-easy to make. Cooking with the Cardinals was written in 1985, and one issue I’m experiencing with these older recipes is that the package measurements today aren’t always the same. I used a 5.1 oz pudding and didn’t remove the extra 1.1 oz, so my cake got a little sloppy with too much pudding. But can one ever really have too much pudding? You can see in the photo that the pudding almost oozed over the edges of the pan.
I felt the cake was pretty tasty and rather light, but I can’t say I loved it so much that I would make it again. My boyfriend really enjoyed it, as did a neighbor who called it “Delicioso!” It is a good cake to bring to a summer BBQ and tastes sort of like a pineapple upside down cake or maybe a pineapple trifle. The sour cream gives the cake a hint of a cheesecake flavor. I think it tasted better the day after I made it, so it’s definitely a cake you could make a day before your party. It tastes better than it looks.
The name “Clark’s Cake” is certainly not very descriptive. I’d call it “Clark’s Pineapple Power Cake” with the tag line: “Crush that pineapple the way Jack crushed the baseball!”
Jack and Tammy met in a pharmacy and married in 1979. They have three kids: Rebekah, Danika, and Anthony.
In this Rick Reilly profile from 1991, Tammy said that when Jack got riled up, his eyebrows got darker. I guess his eyebrows got pretty dark when they divorced in 1992. This Riverfront Times story from 2005 talks a lot about Jack’s hard times and his return to baseball, as he was the hitting coach for the River City Rascals at the time. He was the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2001-03 and managed the Springfield Sliders in 2009. In recent years, he’s done some radio broadcasting and a lot of autograph signings.
I prefer to think of Jack’s glory days. Let’s relive this moment and enjoy some cake!