Wilhelm Family Baker's Torte

Sendik’s Food Market is one of the few sources of quality old fashioned bakers cheese. As difficult as it is to find bakers cheese, it’s even harder to find recipes. Many of these old family
recipes are treasured and passed down from one generation to the next.

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting with Mary Wilhelm at Germantown.  She was shopping for bakers cheese to make her family’s favorite torte. She not only shared the recipe with me, but also the story of the recipe. Mary also graciously agreed to allow me to tell you the story and print the recipe.

Mary’s Grandmother, Eleanor Wilhelm, as a young wife, was expecting company and decided to make this “Refrigerator Torte,” a recipe that the family believes she found in a magazine. Mary’s father, Jerry, was 7 years old the first time Eleanor made
this and he loved it. In fact, it became his favorite.

Jerry always asked for the torte on his birthday. When he became an adult, his bride, Charlotte, learned how to make the torte.

Charlotte continued the tradition of making the torte for Jerry’s birthday every year until the year of his passing at age 72 years old.

Mary told me that her Mom always makes a “triple” batch because everyone knew that there would be torte for Jerry’s birthday and friends would stop by to get their piece of the treasured treat. Charlotte and Jerry owned “Jerry’s Beer and Liquor” in West Allis, and many of their customers became dear friends.

Today, Jerry’s family and friends continue to celebrate his birthday on July 25th with a triple batch of this Refrigerator Torte when they all get together.

A treasured gift was created within this family thru a recipe, a
simple torte that had been printed in a magazine many decades
ago. I am sure that the author never imagined how this recipe would impact a family. Isn’t that what is so amazing about the art of cooking? Food brings families together and creates traditions and memories that last generations. In today’s hectic world, it’s such a gift that we can use cooking and food as the glue that holds our families’ spirits and minds together, providing treasured memories for future generations.


1 sm pkg Lemon Jell-O (The original recipe called for pineapple Jell-O, Jell-O brand has a pineapple flavor that will be available at Sendik’s )
1 sm can crushed pineapple– drained, reserving juice in measuring cup. Add enough water to equal 1cup of liquid.
1/2 cup milk; use whole or 2%
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1 lb Sendik’s Bakers Cheese
2 egg whites
1/2 pint whipping cream


2 cup gram cracker crumbs
1/2 cup to 1/4 cup Sugar (original recipe used 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup melted butter (Charlotte says “No substitutes. Must use butter!”)
Mix together gram cracker crumbs and sugar; add melted butter. Mix well.
Place in either a spring form pan or a 9×13 pan. Reserve some of the crust crumbs for the top.
On the stove top bring the pineapple and water mixture to a boil. Add Jell-O and stir until all dissolved. Cool
In a second pot on stove top; Bring milk, sugar, salt and beaten egg yolks, stirring constantly until thick. Remove from stove and allow to cool.
When both the Jell-O mixture and the milk mixture are cool. Add the milk mixture to the Jell-O mixture beating with electric mixer. Add Sendik’s Bakers
Cheese and continue beating until smooth. In a separate bowl beat egg whites until very stiff. Gently fold beaten whites into the Sendik’s Bakers
Cheese mixture using a hand whisk, be very careful not to over mix and break down the egg whites.
Now in another chilled mixing bowl using chilled beaters; beat the whipping cream until stiff. Now fold this in to Sendik’s Bakers Cheese mixture again
being very careful not to over mix, causing the whipping cream or egg whites to break down.
Now assembly: Spread crushed pineapple evenly in pan on top of gram cracker crust. Pour Sendik’s Bakers
Cheese mixture onto of the pineapple, spread evenly. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Refrigerate to set overnight.

Cheese | February 14th, 2009