Grains

Graham Cracker Layer Cake

August  3, 2015
6 Ratings
Photo by Posie Harwood
Author Notes

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.

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. —Posie (Harwood) Brien

  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Makes two 8-inch round layers
Ingredients
  • 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
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, and baking powder and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition.
  5. Mix in the vanilla.
  6. Add the flour mixture and the milk a little bit at a time, alternating between each. Mix thoroughly but be careful not to overbeat.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between your two prepared pans. Bake for about 25 minutes (or until golden brown and starting to pull away from the sides of the pans).
  8. Cool in the pans for at least 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely before frosting and assembling.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Rose Nape
    Rose Nape
  • Garrett Bingaman
    Garrett Bingaman
  • Beez Kneez
    Beez Kneez
  • Posie (Harwood) Brien
    Posie (Harwood) Brien
  • Oat&Sesame
    Oat&Sesame

14 Reviews

Puddlesdp June 8, 2021
Baked exactly as directed. The cakes turned out, but a lot thinner than hoped. Not dense, great flavor and a fun addition to our dessert line-up. I will, however do as suggested and whip the egg whites and fold in. If that doesn’t add enough volume I will double the recipe.
 
Lesa A. June 6, 2021
I also doubled and baked in sheet pan. I covered the cake with my cheesecake mousse and top that with sliced fresh strawberries. Something special for a picnic. It was a big hit. I also bake another one in the sheet pan and covered with chocolate butter cream for our sons swim team..... they loved it! Thanks for such a great recipe!
 
Curry L. February 19, 2021
This was tasty! From one of the earlier reviews, I was afraid that the cake might come out dense, so I separated the egg whites, whipped them until stiff and folded them in before baking. I used salted butter too. Tastes just like a graham cracker! Now on to the ganache :)
 
mdavis744 August 20, 2020
Heads up that another site with this recipe lists the same recipe but with only 1/2 cup of flour.
http://www.backofthebox.com/recipes/cakes/delicate-graham-cracker-cake.html
 
toni May 8, 2019
I made this recipe exactly as written, but doubled and baked it in a half sheet pan. My end project is a key lime cake where this graham cracker cake is the base, the key lime custard is layered over, and bruleed seven-minute frosting is the top layer. This cake was perfect for this purpose. Further, it really does taste like a graham cracker crust.
 
Rose N. August 1, 2016
the original recipe i have from the Chicago Sun TImes calls for beaten egg whites to be folded into the batter.
 
Garrett B. July 11, 2016
This recipe flopped really bad. I followed the recipe exactly and the batter was super thick. When it baked, it didn't rise like a regular cake and all stuck to the pan and crumbled. Worst part....it tasted like a dry boring cake.
 
Beez K. January 26, 2016
Three cheers for this cake! I made this, filled it with a marshmallow filling, and a chocolate frosting! I it was just like smores - I think this cake would be good plain with ice cream or whipped cream.
 
Molly September 11, 2015
Would this be easily adapted to cupcakes?
 
Author Comment
Posie (. September 11, 2015
Totally! Just shorten the baking time I think (watch and insert a tester after 18 minutes or so), and everything else should be the same.
 
Molly September 11, 2015
Thank you!
 
Oat&Sesame January 3, 2016
I made these as cupcakes for New Years Eve. Turned out great! It made 14 regular sized cupcakes. I baked them using convection bake at 325F for about 14 minutes. Unique and yummy!
 
Jill F. August 16, 2015
this cake is simple and delicious. i made it with a chocolate marshmallow frosting to make a "s'mores cake" and it was great. so quick to throw together, moist and tasty. make it...
 
Jill S. September 12, 2015
Can someone post a recipe for the chocolate marshmallow frosting? I want to make this tomorrow night. Thanks!