This no-bake eclair cake is the perfect dessert to make when it’s too hot to turn your oven on, or when you just don’t feel like baking.
This is a dessert that I had a lot growing up—for whatever reason, it stands out in my mind as something that was made at church get-togethers. It’s funny the little things we remember.
Eclair cake is a spin on the classic French pastry. Eclairs are made of a (baked) choux dough filled with pastry cream, and then topped with a flavored icing (often chocolate). The cake version is layers dough/crust and pastry cream all topped with a chocolate ganache.
This eclair cake is a no-bake version, so it’s not made with the classic choux dough. If you’re looking for an eclair cake that more closely resembles a classic eclair, try this recipe from Food52.
Related: 15 Easy No-Bake Desserts
This eclair cake recipe is the easiest version I know—but it’s still very delicious. I recently made this for a group of friends and I’m happy to report this cake got rave reviews.
In addition to being easy to make, I also love that you can make this cake ahead. It’s best to make this at least eight hours before you plan to serve it, and up to 24 hours.
So, you can make this cake the morning before or even the night before a big dinner party.
What is eclair cake made of?
- Crust – Graham crackers, vanilla wafers, or Biscoff cookies are my favorites to use.
- Pudding – I use both French vanilla and cheesecake-flavored puddings.
- Whipped cream – You can use Cool Whip or make your own whipped cream.
- Chocolate ganache – Chocolate chips and heavy cream OR you can use chocolate frosting
Although my version here is super simple, there are ways to make this recipe even easier as noted above in the ingredients list.
However, I think the version you will find below (in the printable recipe card) is the perfect mix and creates a truly delicious eclair cake while still being a no-bake dessert.
Other no-bake desserts you will love:
- No-Bake Chocolate Silk Pie
- No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie
- No-Bake S’mores Icebox Cake
- Chocolate No-Bake Cookies
- No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake
The filling is made of instant pudding and homemade whipped cream. I like to use one French vanilla and one cheesecake pudding mix. If you can’t find cheesecake pudding mix, you can simply use two vanilla instead.
If you are looking to flavor your eclair cake, this is an easy way to do it—simply substitute one or both of the instant pudding mixes for a flavor like banana or strawberry.
No-bake eclair cakes are most often made with graham crackers for the crust layers. This is a great option as they are already square or rectangle shaped, so they are easy to work with. But, two other options I like are vanilla wafers or Biscoff cookies.
If you are wanting to serve your eclair cake sooner than eight hours, or you want to make it and serve it immediately (or within an hour or two), be sure to use something for the crust layer that is soft in texture. A good option is pound cake cut into thin pieces.
Once you have the filling made, you simply start the cake with a layer of the crust, then filling, crust, filling again, and then a top crust. Then, you pour the chocolate ganache over the top before refrigerating.
If you use a store-bought chocolate frosting instead of ganache, you will want to make sure the consistency is as spreadable as possible. You may need to microwave (in a microwave-safe bowl) for a few sections so it will easily spread over the top.
The hardest part about making this eclair cake recipe is serving it from the pan! Lol. This is such a soft, pudding like dessert it can be a little tricky to remove that first piece. But it’s worth it as this is such a crowd-pleasing dessert.
If you make this eclair cake, let us know what you think in the comments!
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- 2 boxes instant pudding (French vanilla and cheesecake flavors (3.4 ounce boxes))
- 3 cups milk
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream (divided)
- 1 box graham crackers, vanilla wafers, or other cookies (see notes)
- 1 ½ cups dark or semi sweet chocolate chips
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the pudding mixes and 3 cups milk. This will make instant pudding.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip 2 cups of heavy whipping cream for 2-4 minutes to make homemade whipped cream.
- Fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture, until just combined.
- Line the bottom of the baking pan with graham crackers (or other cookie of choice).
- Add half the whipped pudding mixture, spread evenly.
- Add another layer of graham crackers or other cookies.
- Add the second half of the whipped pudding mixture, spread evenly.
- Add another layer of graham crackers or other cookies. Set aside while you make the ganache.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine 1 cup heavy whipping cream and the chocolate chips. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until just combined.
- Pour the chocolate ganache over the top layer of the eclair cake. Spread evenly.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Serve cold.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated, using Spoonacular, for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.
This recipe is pure high-school nostalgia for me, lol.
Do you use the large or small boxes of the Jello pudding mix?
Hi! You will want to use the 3.4 ounce boxes.
My friend makes this cake and makes it even simpler by microwaving chocolate icing that you buy premade and pouring it over the top. Not that microwaving chocolate chips and cream takes very long at all, but there you go. Great recipe!