How to Get the Flavor of Graham Crackers in the Form of Cake

August  9, 2015

If the grocery store isn't your favorite place, it should be. We're sleuthing for the best back-of-the-box recipes and every Sunday, Posie Harwood from 600 Acres will share our latest find. 

Today: A crazy trick to turn graham crackers into cake.

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This past weekend I baked a very deceptive little cake. The recipe read like a standard layer cake (eggs, flour, sugar, baking powder, etc.) and the final product smelled like a cake and looked like one, too. It was airy, delicately-crumbed, and slightly moist; it sprung back at my touch, just like a cake.

But then I took a bite, eyes closed, and tasted graham cracker. Was it magic?

I uncovered this brilliant bit of baking alchemy in some old Nabisco archives. The recipe promised a delicate graham cracker cake and I was intrigued. Full disclosure: I think graham crackers dipped in milk are the eighth wonder of the world.

More: Turn 1 box of graham crackers into 6 different desserts.

Upon further inspection, the recipe is nearly identical to a yellow layer cake. The difference is that almost all the flour is swapped out for finely crushed graham cracker crumbs. I worried that this would make the cake leaden, dense, and overly sweet. When I considered experimenting with graham flour, I thought "Ye of little faith!" and gave the original recipe a shot.

The result is incredible—as in, you literally won't believe how good it is. You get the exact flavor of a graham cracker in a light, tender mouthful of cake. 

I paired the cake with sdebrango's Whipped Chocolate Caramel Ganache because one, it makes me want to weep with pleasure, and two, I get to save some and eat it with a spoon.

Next time I make this cake, I'll try a marshmallow frosting with a dark chocolate filling for a very fancy take on s'mores.

Graham Cracker Layer Cake

Adapted from Nabisco

Makes two 8-inch layers

For the cake:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk

For the frosting:

1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
10 ounces chocolate
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Do you have a favorite back of the box recipe, or have you heard about a great one? Leave any suggestions in the comments, and I'll try them out and share them here!

Photos by Posie Harwood 

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  • John
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  • MonaSherry
I like warm homemade bread slathered with fresh raw milk butter, ice cream in all seasons, the smell of garlic in olive oil, and sugar snap peas fresh off the vine.


John December 29, 2015
Yummy, love this recipe.
vanessa September 15, 2015
would it be possible to bake this cake into cupcakes, instead? if so, are adjustments necessary?
Mary M. August 17, 2015
My Mom's recipe was a bit different, 1 cup shortening, half butter, 2 cups sugar, 5 egg yolks, 2 tea vanilla cream together, 1 RED box (not honey) graham crackers, rolled fine, 5 tea baking powder, 1/2 cup flour, 2 cups milk , 2 cups chopped walnuts and 5 whipped egg whites folded in at the end. I hope you try it , it is a recipe that is asked for every time I take it to a dinner party, your frosting is great and it does go with the graham crackers. The cake is moist and delicious, and it will get better day after day, if it lasts that long. Love your site. Mary
Cherie777gll August 16, 2015
I have a simpler recipe: Chocolate Graham Log Dessert. Maybe a little more time consuming, but tastes amazing. Please check it out as this is my first "share" at Food52. I will try this recipe as well. Sounds wonderful.
MonaSherry August 16, 2015
As a home baker who sells "home baked grandma stuff " to a local hipster shop this recipe made me crazy with joy ! I cannot wait to make this and let you know about the dozens of millennial a who will now crave graham cracker cake !
kxr173 August 11, 2015
Yum! I'm going to try this w/a key lime frosting for a cake version of key lime pie!
Melie D. August 11, 2015
One of our favorite family recipe from 1 can and 1 box!
1 can celery soup
1 grated cucumber
Dill seeds
Salt, pepper, paprika
White fish filet like cod or any others
Soda crackers - crushed

In an oiled pan spread a first layer of fish
Mixt all ingredients w enought cracker so it's not too runny
Cover the fish with mixture about 6-8 filet for the whole recipe
Sprinkle paprika on last layer of fish
Bake at 350 until cooked

Then with add another layer of fish filet
Bettye J. August 10, 2015
I also saute a can of sliced mushrooms with beef. Umm, Umm, Good.
AntoniaJames August 10, 2015
I'm not a big fan of Graham crackers (I always use a more interesting cookie when they're called for in a pie crust recipe), but I totally agree with you that Graham crackers crushed in a bowl with milk is delightful. I enjoyed it on occasion as a child (6 kids in our family, lots of competition for the one box of Graham crackers purchased per week), and my sons ate it as an afternoon snack countless times when they were in grammar school.
This cake intrigues me . . . . . ;o)
Sarah J. August 10, 2015
This is #1 on my list of things to make! Thanks for the recipe, Posie!
Bella B. August 9, 2015
It looks so flavourful!

xoxoBella |
Bettye J. August 9, 2015
Years ago one of our favorite weekend breakfast dishes was "Dried Beef on Toast." There were two manufacturers of dried beef, Hormel and Armour. One of them printed a recipe on the plastic bag the beef came in. It had you cut up the beef, brown it in butter, add flour and brown, then add milk, dried onion flakes, marjoram seasoning, and Worcheshire sauce. It was really delicious! Unfortunately, I have not been able to find "real" dried been in the grocery stores in years. What is sold today is "Ground and Formed Sliced Dried Beef," a totally different animal. I have been told it may still be available in Amish markets, but unfortunately there is none near me. Anyway, this is an example of a truly outstanding recipe from the back of the package.
Author Comment
Posie (. August 10, 2015
Whoa, this sounds so delicious! Putting it on my list -- thank you!