If you like this type of recipe, you might also like our boston creme donut holes filled with creme and topped with chocolate.
This eclair cake recipe is no-bake, meaning that you can make it without using the stove or oven! The first time I had it, my sister-in-law made it for one of her daughter’s birthdays. I thought it was an unusual choice for a birthday cake – until I tasted it! I instantly fell in love. It’s easy like our no bake banana split cake.
It’s such an amazing flavor. Just like eating a chocolate eclair donut, but in cake form. And, it’s so easy to make. It has the creamy-ness of the inside of an eclair, the graham crackers act as the outer layer of the donut, and of course, the chocolate frosting is just like the top of an eclair!
The only downside to this cake recipe is that you need to make it ahead of time. This is actually a blessing if you think about it. Make the dessert the day before you need it. No worries about adding a dessert to your list of to dos when you’re having a party or people over for dinner. It sets up nicely in the refrigerator, but needs 24-hours to come together.
Eclair Cake Ingredients
This is an eclair cake with graham crackers and vanilla pudding. The graham crackers soften since they are layered between creamy pudding.
graham crackers – this eclair cake uses graham crackers in between the pudding layers. They soften and become a delicious cake-like layer.
pudding – be sure to get instant pudding. We use the French vanilla flavor. You could really use any flavor you like, but the French vanilla is most like a traditional eclair donut filling. And, because it’s an instant pudding, you won’t have to cook it.
milk – be sure to use whole milk. This will add to the creaminess of the pudding and help it to come together. Be sure the milk is cold when using it for the frosting. The chill from the milk is necessary to get the pudding to set.
chocolate – you’ll need 2 oz. of unsweetened baking chocolate. Depending on the brand and amount of cocoa, you’ll get a lighter or darker chocolate frosting. Don’t use sweetened chocolate such as chocolate chips. You’ll get enough sweet with the powdered sugar.
How Do You Make an Eclair Cake?
Start by making the French vanilla pudding. Put both packages in a bowl and add the milk. Stir until the pudding thickens.
Gently fold in the whipped topping until it’s combined and smooth. Set aside for a moment while you get a 9 x 13 pan out.
Grease your pan and place a single layer of graham crackers on the bottom of the pan. You may need to break the crackers to get them to all fit flat on the bottom.
Then pour half of the French vanilla pudding mixture until it covers the graham crackers. Spread until smooth. Add another layer of graham crackers, then another layer of putting. Top with remaining graham crackers.
You’ll let this set in the refrigerator for 24 hours to set and firm up. Make the frosting after it’s set.
Chocolate Eclair Cake Frosting
This chocolate frosting is creamy and the perfect toping for the eclair cake! It pairs perfectly with the vanilla pudding and graham crackers. If you’re in a hurry, you can buy a jar of chocolate frosting and microwave it for a few minutes and pour on top, but trust me, our chocolate eclair cake frosting is so easy to make and tastes perfect that you’ve got to try it!
Melt the baking chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals. The chocolate won’t look melted. Stir until it’s smooth.
Add in the rest of the ingredients: butter (softened) milk, and powdered sugar. It’s best to sift the powdered sugar and add a cup at a time. Mix until smooth and frost on top of the chilled eclair cake. I like to use an off-set spatula to spread the frosting.
What is an Eclair Anyway?
An eclair is a long pastry, or donut, made with dough and filled with pastry cream, then topped with chocolate icing or ganache. Usually, the dough is piped in a long shape and baked until it’s crispy on the outside. Then a vanilla custard is piped into the inside of the pastry. And, it’s topped with chocolate icing.
It’s similar to a Boston Creme donut. An eclair usually has a more whipped filling and is longer. A Boston creme is a round donut.
pudding — make sure the pudding is set before you pour it on the graham crackers.
graham crackers – be sure you get plain graham crackers, or the honey flavor. I’ve made the mistake of getting cinnamon graham crackers for recipes, and while they are good, and won’t ruin this dessert, it won’t be the same.
Wait 24 hours — this step is key. If you rush it, you’ll end up with dry graham crackers and runny pudding. And, it will be very hard to frost the cake. After the cake sets overnight the graham crackers will be more cake-like and will have absorbed the pudding layers.
- Chocolate ice cream layer cake.
- Try our strawberry cheesecake layer cake. It’s no bake too!
- Boston creme donut holes.
- No bake peanut butter bars are just like a Reese’s.
- 2 3.5 oz packages Instant French vanilla pudding
- 3 cups milk whole
- 1 8 oz. whipped topping a container like Cool Whip
- 1 lb. graham crackers 1 box
- 2 oz. baking chocolate melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 tablespoons margarine softened
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons corn syrup
- 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 oz. baking chocolate, melted
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 3 tablespoons margarine, softened
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons corn syrup
- 1-1/2 cup powdered sugar
- Grease bottom of 9x13 pan. Line with graham crackers. Lay flat. You may need to break some into smaller pieces to fit the bottom of the pan.
- Mix pudding with milk. Beat 1-2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping.
- Pour 1/2 of pudding mixture over graham crackers. Place a second layer of graham crackers over the pudding mixture. Pour remaining pudding mixture over crackers. Top with a layer of graham crackers.
- Refrigerate 24 hours. Then frost.
- Frosting: Combine melted chocolate, vanilla, margarine, milk, corn syrup and powdered sugar (best if sifted). Beat until smooth. Spread over cake.