Graham Cracker Pudding Cake

No special occasion in my family would be complete without my Nana Alice’s Pudding Pie, with its graham cracker crust and layers of vanilla pudding, chocolate pudding, whipped topping, and chocolate jimmies.  It is cold, creamy and delicious.

This Graham Cracker Pudding Cake pays humble homage to Pudding Pie.  Graham crackers line the bottom of a baking dish and are covered with pudding.  The layers are repeated until a final layer of graham crackers is covered in a smooth and shiny chocolate ganache icing.

The recipe can be absurdly simple if you use instant pudding.  I love the flavor of the Trader Joe’s version almost as much as I love its retro packaging.

After several hours in the fridge, the pudding has worked itself into the crackers, making them soft, cold, and extra sweet.  The chocolate hardens into a dense, semi-solid layer with a lustrous sheen.


This is my new absolute favorite “hard” chocolate icing.  Look at how beautiful it is…

I saw the initial version of this recipe a few weeks ago on The Kitchn, billed as “Boston Cream Pie Strata”, with custard instead of vanilla pudding.  If you love yourself some BCP, you may want to try that version instead.

I do not care much for custard, so I am sticking with the pudding.

I can promise you this recipe is a keeper.  I am looking forward to making it often and mixing up the fillings.  I bet it would be great with berries in the summer!

Graham Cracker Pudding Cake
Adapted from The Kitchn and Not Your Mother’s Casseroles by Faith Durand

4 sleeves of graham crackers, around 20 oz.  (the heartier the better)
4 cups vanilla pudding
1/4 cup (half stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • Prepare 4 cups of vanilla pudding using your favorite recipe or according to package directions.  I used less and after it had set overnight, you could no longer see the individual cracker and pudding layers.  Next time I will use more to (hopefully) keep they layers more defined.
  • Line a 9×13 baking dish with a layer of graham crackers, then top with 1/3 of the pudding.  Repeat twice more, and top with a final layer of graham crackers.  Set aside.
  • To make the icing, combine butter and cocoa powder in a small saucepan and bring to a light simmer over medium-low heat.  Allow it to bubble for 1 minute.
  • Whisk in the milk and cook for another few minutes.
  • Remove heat and whisk in the powdered sugar.  Once smooth, whisk in the vanilla.
  • Immediately pour the hot icing over the top layer of graham crackers and smooth with rubber spatula.
  • Carefully cover with a lid or aluminum foil and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 2 days before serving…chilled, of course!

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Categories: Cakes & Icings, Pies & Tarts

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12 Comments on “Graham Cracker Pudding Cake”

  1. March 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    Not at all what I was expecting when I read the title. This is creative. And yes, look at that sheen!

  2. March 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    jimmies.. teehee you new englander. this sounds very tasty, i saw the ganache in the pic, and then you confirmed it. nom nom

  3. March 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    When I pulled up the page and saw a photo of the cake and its description I let out a little gasp. This looks absolutely divine and sounds ridiculously easy. I think I might actually have all the ingredients on hand in the kitchen. Yum!

    • Aimee
      March 15, 2011 at 9:31 am #

      Molly – it’s so easy and so yummy! Hope you gave it a try!

  4. March 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    Oh my Aimee- this looks INCREDIBLE! I want a piece….like now. haha-only sorta kidding

    • Aimee
      March 15, 2011 at 9:33 am #

      Fi, I will make this for you anytime!!

  5. March 11, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    This looks awesome! I can think of many people in my family that would be happy eating this dessert! Thanks for the recipe! Love your photos! :)

    • Aimee
      March 15, 2011 at 9:32 am #

      Thanks, Jane! I think it’s a crowd-pleaser. I know I will be making it A LOT this summer when I need something cold. :)

  6. March 12, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    Sounds so yummy. I love recipes that are easy but look like you slaved over the stove. Thanks for sharing.

    • Aimee
      March 15, 2011 at 9:33 am #

      Whenever I can create that illusion, I have succeeded! Thanks, Mardell!!

  7. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic
    March 15, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    Oh my this looks delicious!! My sister and I used to bake graham cracker cakes all the time, I should revive it and use this recipe soon!

  8. March 17, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

    Looks so very yummy! Thanks so much for sharing.

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