Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stella's Graham Cracker Cake

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. 

It is a dense, rich dessert, sweet but not too sweet  The genuine fudge frosting is the perfect compliment to the nuttiness of the graham cracker cake. This is one of those recipes that evokes nostalgic feelings of an earlier time, of kitchen traditions, and fond memories of family gatherings.  Happy Birthday Nancy, and many more!

Stella's Graham Cracker Cake


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). 

Fudge Frosting

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

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