Where do you go for comfort? Is it a coffee shop, corner table, foamy latte in a chipped mug? I picture you taking a long run: Following the same well-traversed turns and trails, your thoughts slowly slipping away as the miles pass, yielding to sweat and exertion and the tinny music on your headphones.
Or you drive to the beach. Strip off your clothes, sprint into the frigid waves, and feel the cold shock you awake.
Maybe you go home. Cook yourself spaghetti. Top it with a fried egg and a snowy shower of Parmesan cheese. Slip into soft sweatpants. Turn on a movie.
I match people to their own comfort-seeking habits. My mom used to buy miniature sesame breadsticks from the bulk bin and dip them, one by one, into bright yellow butter from our Jersey cow. My friend Andrew measures out comfort in a stiff pour of Tanqueray and tonic. The guy next door spreads himself on the same spot on his stoop to read his newspaper in a patch of sun everyday.
Me? I pour a glass of milk, break a graham cracker apart into strips, and hold it under until it almost dissolves. Repeat.
This cake doesn’t soothe in the same way, but it tastes exactly like graham crackers, and I think almost anyone will find something comforting in taking a bite of delicately crumbed cake and discovering the sweet, nutty flavor of a graham cracker.
The perfect imitation is surprising: You almost have to look down at your fork and make sure of what you’re eating.
I made the cake with a whipped chocolate caramel ganache frosting, which is a Food52 recipe that I highly recommend. It’s a bit of a beast to make, requiring many bowls and your utmost attention, but I promise it is worth it.
Graham Cracker Layer Cake
Adapted from Nabisco
**Use whatever frosting recipe you like best. This cake will pair with vanilla, caramel, chocolate, peanut butter..and so on. But if you want to try the frosting I used you can find it here.**
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
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, and baking powder and set aside.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition.
- Mix in the vanilla.
- Add the flour mixture and the milk a little bit at a time, alternating between each. Mix thoroughly but be careful not to overbeat.
- 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).
- Cool in the pans for at least 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely before frosting and assembling.