Shangri-La and Cracker Cake

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Grandma Florence and Grandpa Martin were married at a manse in Prince Albert, SK on July 4, 1944. Grandpa’s sister Matilda and her husband Doug went along as witnesses and what always makes me giggle, also on the honeymoon (in the same tent no less!).

The group travelled to Waskesiu (a resort village in Prince Albert National Park) in Grandma and Grandpa’s 1928 Chevrolet for their honeymoon. Grandpa recalled that at that time “if you went to Waskesiu, boy, that was something!” They didn’t make it to their destination on the first evening on account of having so many flat tires. You couldn’t buy tires at the time because of the war being on. You had to take the tire off and patch it on the road. They had sleeping bags and slept under the pine trees. Grandpa said, “it was beautiful, lying in the wide-open prairie, and we were on our honeymoon, why it was just like Shangri-la!”

They spent a week at the lake. The first night it rained and poured, and everything got wet. The water ran into their tent, so they rented cots to get off the ground. Beer was rationed so they would bring in a truck and everyone knew right away that the beer truck was in town. The beer was put in a brown paper bag and everyone lined up to get their four bottles of beer. Grandpa, always the trickster (and beer lover), changed his cap and shirt and lined up again to get another four. The hard liquor was rationed as well, and you had to use coupons to get that – you could only buy the hard stuff once a month.

Photo by Viktor Birkus

Grandma said they kept busy hiring a charter boat on the lake and trying their hand at golf, though they only went halfway around, that was enough for her and the only time she ever golfed. One night there was a dance where the guys “rolled up their one pants leg and danced to beat heck – that was the fad. That’s one that didn’t come back in style.”

The Cracker Cake dessert was one that Grandma made many times for her family. Now I had always imagined that the recipe was inspired from war time, with the rationing and canned foods available, but after a bit of research I found out that Cool Whip was created in 1966. So this recipe came to Grandma quite a few years after her honeymoon in Waskesiu. Whatever the origins, I’ve been eating and making this dessert since I was a kid, and its luscious interior combined with flaky layers and a sweet cherry topping are a hit every time.

How to

Whip the pudding mix and milk together.

Fold in the whipped topping.

Layer the pudding mix and then the crackers.

Top with the pie filling.

Enjoy!

Slice of finished cake with fork
Incredible Cracker Cake
Print Recipe
Incredible Cracker Cake
A flaky sweet dessert
Slice of finished cake with fork
Keyword cracker cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Keyword cracker cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Slice of finished cake with fork
Instructions
  1. Whip the pudding mix and milk together until smooth and thick. Fold the whipped topping into the pudding.
  2. Spread 1/3 of the pudding mix onto the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Place a single layer of crackers over the pudding. Spread 1/3 of the pudding mix over the crackers. Place another layer of crackers. Spread the remaining pudding mix over the crackers.
  3. Top with the pie filling. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
 

3 Comments

  1. Great post, Kara – I’m looking forward to more. Loved the story about your grandparents – those are the kinds of details that are so interesting and make the past come alive. Yummy food pics!

     
  2. Cracker cake reminds me of gramma every time! Great post Kara, and I LOVE the photos!

     
  3. Kathy Ponath

    Loved the story Kara – all the little details and anecdotes make that time come alive. My grandparents, parents and my husband and I all honeymooned at Waskesiu. It really is a special place and the setting for so many memories.

     

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