Recently my friend Catherine Golden and family honored their mother Nancy with a celebration marking her 85th birthday. Catherine made the family's heirloom dessert, a graham cracker cake with real fudge frosting. The original recipe is decades old, and came from the family's beloved cook, Stella. Catherine brought back a slice for me from the festivities in Buffalo.
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated (whites stiffly beaten)
1/2 cup shredded walnuts (finely chopped)
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk
Cream butter, sugar, egg yolks, and milk. Add to chopped walnuts, graham cracker crumbs, and baking powder. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.
Bake in 2-layers in a 350 degree F oven until it tests done with a toothpick inserted in center (check at 35 minutes).
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 oz. bitter chocolate
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Melt chocolate over a slow fire.
Add milk and sugar and boil until a few drops form a soft ball (in cold water).
Add butter and 1 tsp. vanilla.
Let stand undisturbed a few minutes.
Beat until cool enough to spread.
Frost middle layer and entire cake.
85th birthday sign credit: http://www.candysnob.com/archives/pictures/516045_85.jpg
Photos of cake: Catherine Golden