How to Make Chocolate Eclair Cake

Make this no-bake chocolate eclair cake to impress friends and feed the masses during the hottest months. Mixing pudding, milk, sour cream, Cool Whip and graham crackers provides a rich, creamy dessert that sets in about four hours.

Freshly-made chocolate eclairs with a side of berries.

First, let me be honest. This Chocolate Éclair Cake is not actually a cake. You do not bake it. You do devour it once it sets though. Think of it as a variation of tiramisu, the popular Italian dessert. Instead of ladyfingers, this dessert uses graham crackers. The pudding, cream, and chocolate topping layer, it has in common with tiramisu.

This recipe has become a family favorite in this household. Since making it requires no oven use, you can serve this delicious dessert during the hottest days of summer without working up a sweat in the kitchen.

Make it first thing in the morning and it will be ready to serve at lunchtime. It requires only 20 to 30 minutes of preparation time, but about four to six hours to set in the refrigerator. A family of four will have enough for everyone to have two servings. It makes enough for eight to 10 servings.

Recipe Versatility

Because it requires no baking and no rising, this makes a terrific choice for those who diet or who must eat a special diet. This recipe uses no flour and no eggs. While the original uses regular, full fat, and sugared ingredients, the recipe easily alters without changing the taste.

You can substitute fat-free sour cream, pudding, milk, frosting, whipped topping, and graham crackers. If you need to make this for a diabetic or sugar-free diet, you can substitute sugar-free pudding, frosting, whipped topping, and graham crackers.

Since the crackers are the only glutinous ingredient, you can easily replace them with gluten-free graham crackers. The versatility of this recipe makes it a winner for every household. While it resembles a tiramisu, the taste comes closest to that of Boston Cream Pie.

Perhaps the best thing about this recipe is you can make it nearly anywhere. It requires no special culinary skills, no special equipment, and, as mentioned, no oven. As long as you can refrigerate it for four hours, you can make it.

Recipe Facts

Although the recipe uses graham crackers, the finished product has no crunch to its texture. During its four to six hours in the refrigerator, the crackers soak up the creamy pudding filling and moisten to become cakelike. They typically soften to the point that you can cut the cake into pieces using a spatula. For this reason, you cannot cut short the set time in the fridge. This recipe provides a really easy way to make a delicious dessert that everyone loves. It is an ideal recipe for the following cooks:

  • An elementary or junior high school-aged child,
  • A novice cook,
  • A chef in need of a quick to make dessert.

Make the Frosting First

You have three choices for the frosting.

  • Make it yourself – a tasty homemade chocolate frosting.
  • Buy regular chocolate frosting at the store.
  • Buy whipped chocolate frosting at the store.

If you do not know how to make icing or you need to make the cake really quickly, choose store-bought icing. Although it only requires powdered sugar and milk plus a lot of patience, icing can prove tricky to make. If you make a sugar-free version, pick up the Splenda powdered substitute for sugar. Since it is made from real sugar but removes that part that is problematic for diabetics, it measures exactly as sugar would.

The recipe works better if you use whipped frosting. If there is none available in the store, pick up regular frosting then place it in the microwave for five seconds. Stir the frosting. Repeat the process. The icing should take on the consistency of whipped frosting. Homemade icing and whipped frosting are the simplest to spread. Once you have the frosting ready, you can make the cake.

Chocolate Eclair Cake Recipe

Gather your ingredients. Remember that you have sugar-free and gluten-free options to use.

The complete set of ingredients to be used in the recipe.

  • 1 box graham crackers, regular, sugar-free or gluten-free,
  • 3 cups of milk, whole or 2 percent or fat-free
  • 2 3.4 ounce boxes of instant vanilla pudding mix, regular or sugar-free
  • 1 cup sour cream, regular or fat-free,
  • 1 eight-ounce package of Cool Whip, thawed according to package instructions, regular or sugar-free,
  • 1 16 ounces can of chocolate frosting, regular or sugar-free.
  1. Mix the pudding and milk for two minutes with a wire whisk in a large bowl. The pudding mix should dissolve completely.
  2. Mix in the sour cream and whisk until blended completely.
  3. Fold in the whipped topping until it blends completely. A rubber spatula works best for this
  4. In a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, line the bottom with a layer of graham crackers. This may require breaking the ones on the end to line the pan precisely.
  5. Using the rubber spatula, spread the pudding and sour cream mixture onto the graham crackers. Use about half of the mixture. While an even spread is important, you also must be careful to not dislodge any of the crackers on the pan’s bottom.
  6. Create a second graham cracker cake layer by laying the crackers on top of the pudding mixture.The prepared ingredients are arranged in layers.
  7. Spread the other half of the pudding and sour cream mixture on top. Once you have it spread evenly using the spatula, you start on the next layer.
  8. Add another graham cracker layer on top of the pudding.
  9. Top the uppermost layer of graham crackers with the whipped chocolate frosting using the spatula. This may take some time since you need to ice the layer without moving any of the crackers.The layers are then topped with a chocolate layer.
  10. Use a cake pan cover or wrap plastic wrap or aluminum foil over the top of the pan. A pan with a cover is the preferred choice since you do not want the cover to touch the icing.
  11. Refrigerate the cake at least four hours. If you can let it sit overnight, do so.
  12. Once set, use a spatula to cut the cake for serving.

This cake stores well. You can keep it in the fridge for up to three days. You probably will not have leftovers though since both pudding lovers and chocolate lovers devour it.

A slice of chocolate eclair cake on a plate.

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