Cakes have been a long standing tradition in celebrations, and how they have evolved over the years is super interesting to me. From time period to time period cakes and ingredients have changed based on what was available and what was trendy at the time. One thing that hasn’t changed is the methods that we use to make them and the love that surrounds why we make them. This recipe has been in my recipe box for at least 13 years if not longer. It came from hubby’s great grandmother, and where she got it, I have no idea. I do know my mother in law made it once, I again am assuming around 13 years ago, for her mother’s birthday (hubby’s grandmother). His Nana gave me the recipe written on a plain white recipe card with a special note to me on the back. I am thankful for this card and the fact that she shared it with me.
I decided it was the perfect time of year to dig that recipe out, as my in-laws just moved back to the area and we were gathering together for the first time in years to celebrate Mother’s Day. I thought what a better tribute to the past mothers’ of the family than by serving one of their own cherished recipes. I would assume this recipe dates back prior to WWII and not during that time period, since a lot of the ingredients are things that were scarce during that time.
I absolutely love the idea of using the graham crackers, I grew up on them and served them to my own kids as their first ‘cookies’. Maybe that’s why I’ve always been intrigued with this recipe. I didn’t make it for so many years and am now kicking myself for that. I always heard a lot of talk about it being so complicated to make. Maybe that’s why I held off for so long? And in all honestly, the cake is not complicated, it does however have several steps and if you are not used to baking from scratch I can see why it may seem a little complicated. I kept the recipe exactly the way hubby’s Nana gave it to me. And it turned out perfect! Even my brother in law loved it until he found out there were nuts in it- but he ate it anyway, which says it was an A+!
I believe this cake would be an amazing addition to any dessert buffet, tea with friends, bridal or baby shower as well as Sunday dessert. It’s special enough to save for big occasions yet classic enough for welcome to the neighborhood!
- 23 or 1 package of Grahams (we used one full package)
- ⅔ cup all purpose unbleached flour or whole wheat flour
- 2½ tsp baking powder
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 eggs separated
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¾ cup milk
- ½ cup butter
- 1¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 TBSP honey
- 2 TBSP butter
- 2 TBSP powdered sugar
- 1 egg yolk beaten
- a dash of vanilla
- If you prefer to not use the raw egg you can leave it out or replace this filling with vanilla pudding if you prefer.
- Prepare (2) 8" round baking pans with butter and flour. Cut wax or parchment paper to fit the bottom of both pans.
- Finely grind the package of graham crackers
- Beat egg whites until stiff - set aside to fold into batter later
- Cream: ½ cup butter and 1 cup sugar
- Add: 3 egg yolks beaten until light and fluffy and ¾ cup milk & vanilla
- Add: finely ground graham crackers
- Add: baking powder & flour
- Once combined carefully fold in egg whites by hand.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes (original recipe said 20 but mine wasn't near done!)
- Combine the softened butter, powdered sugar, egg yolk and vanilla and whip until creamy. Place between cooled cake layers.
- Beat cream with the honey until light and fluffy, top the cake with the whipped cream.
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