Layers of graham crackers, creamy vanilla filling, and homemade chocolate ganache make for a no-bake dessert for eclair lovers without the sweat.
What Is an Eclair Cake?
An eclair cake is a no-bake dessert made with layers of graham crackers, creamy vanilla filling, and topped with chocolate ganache. It’s a delicious and easy-to-make icebox cake that resembles the flavors of a traditional eclair!
While many other recipes call for vanilla pudding mixed with Cool Whip and canned chocolate frosting, this recipe is a bit more homemade while still being easy to make! 5-minute fresh vanilla whipped cream is added to the pudding mixture instead of Cool Whip, and 5-minute minute chocolate ganache replaces the canned chocolate frosting. Eclair lovers beware…this recipe is irresistibly easy and delicious.
Love no-bake desserts? Try Grandma’s Butterscotch Pudding Icebox Cake!
Ingredients for Eclair Cake
- Graham crackers – you’ll need a standard box of graham crackers for this recipe!
- Cold milk – I use non-fat milk but you can use any type of dairy milk. I have not tried this recipe with non-dairy milk but as long as you choose one that is flavorless, it will likely work (except for soy milk).
- Instant vanilla pudding mixes – look for the word “instant” on the front of the pudding mixes. I like Jell-O brand (this is not an ad).
- Bittersweet chocolate chips – bittersweet chocolate chips make the best chocolate ganache topping. You can also use semi-sweet chocolate chips but the topping will be softer. You might want to reduce the heavy cream amount a bit to compensate.
- Heavy cream – heavy cream will help create the ganache and the homemade whipped cream that’s mixed into the vanilla pudding to create a semi-homemade vanilla eclair filling.
- Butter – a small knob of butter creates a rich, luxurious, glossy ganache that’s perfection.
- Vanilla extract – vanilla extract is added to the homemade whipped cream to intensify the vanilla flavor of the pudding.
Eclair Cake Recipe Variations
Looking to offroad a bit? Here’s some suggestions to shake up this eclair cake recipe:
- Flavored graham crackers, like chocolate or cinnamon
- Chocolate pudding mix, for a chocolatey filling
- Cool Whip instead of homemade whipped cream, to add into the vanilla pudding in a pinch. Add in about a cup of Cool Whip to the set vanilla pudding.
- Instead of homemade chocolate ganache, use a can of chocolate frosting!
How to Make Eclair Cake
Full instructions in the recipe card; this is just an outline!
Mix together both pudding mixes and 4 cups of cold milk, following the instructions on the back of the pudding mix box to set.
- Whipped cream.
Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, add ½ cup cream and vanilla extract. Use whisk attachment on medium speed to whip cream to stiff peaks.
Add whipped cream to vanilla pudding and stir to combine.
- Layer 1.
In a 9×13” pan, place a layer of graham crackers on the bottom of the pan.
- Layer 2.
Add about half of the vanilla eclair filling, spreading out evenly.
- Layer 3.
Add another layer of graham crackers.
- Layer 4.
Add the rest of the vanilla eclair filling.
- Layer 5.
Add a final layer of graham crackers.
In a separate bowl, add chocolate chips and butter. Microwave in increments of 30 seconds, stirring every increment, until the chocolate melts. Add 1 ½ cups of cream. Stir until ganache forms.
- Layer 6.
Add ganache to top of the graham cracker layer.
Refrigerate for 1-2 hours if you prefer the grahams to still be a bit crispy, or 3+ hours for soft grahams.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Store eclair cake, covered, in the fridge.
Eclair cake is best enjoyed within 4 days. Over time, the pudding filling can start to separate and the grahams soften, which is completely harmless but may look more “messy” over time.
I do not recommend freezing eclair cake.
Serve eclair cake chilled or left at room temperature for up to an hour. Serve as-is or garnish with fresh berries, Homemade Vanilla Whipped Cream, ice cream, coffee or hot chocolate, or mint leaves.
More No-Bake Desserts You’ll Love!
- Easy Microwave Peanut Butter Fudge
- Chocolate Pie (With Shortbread Cookie Crust)
- No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
- 9×13" pan
- Hand or stand mixer
- 1 standard box plain graham crackers roughly 14.4 ounces
- 4 cups cold milk
- 2 standard boxes instant vanilla pudding mix like Jell-O brand
- 2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pudding: Mix together both pudding mixes and 4 cups of cold milk, following the instructions on the back of the pudding mix box to combine and set pudding. Note: if pudding mix box lists a different amount of milk, add the amount of milk specified on the box instead of 4 cups.
- Whipped cream: Using a hand mixer or stand mixer in a separate medium bowl, add ½ cup cream and vanilla extract. Use whisk attachment on medium speed to whip cream to stiff peaks (about 2-4 minutes until whipped cream stands straight when the beater is lifted).
- Eclair filling: Add whipped cream to vanilla pudding and stir until completely combined.
- Layer 1: In a 9×13” pan, place a layer of graham crackers on the bottom of the pan, breaking graham sheets as necessary to cover the entire pan.
- Layer 2: Add about half of the vanilla eclair filling, spreading out evenly over the top of the grahams.
- Layer 3: Add another layer of graham crackers so all of the filling is covered in grahams.
- Layer 4: Add the rest of the vanilla eclair filling, spreading out evenly over the top of the grahams.
- Layer 5: Add a final layer of graham crackers, covering the top of the eclair filling completely. You may not use all of the grahams.
- Ganache: In a separate bowl, add chocolate chips and butter. Microwave in increments of 30 seconds, stirring every increment, until the chocolate melts. Add 1 ½ cups of cream (does not need to be warm). It may look like too much cream, but keep stirring until ganache forms.
- Layer 6: Add ganache to top of the graham cracker layer, spreading out with a spatula.
- Chill: Refrigerate for 1-2 hours if you prefer the grahams to still be a bit crispy, or 3+ hours for soft grahams (how I like it). Slices will be messy but divine.
- You can use semisweet chocolate but the texture of the ganache may be softer. You may want to use ½ cup less heavy cream.
- I use non-fat milk but any milk should work. I have not tried non-dairy milks but assume they will work (except for soy milk).
- You don’t need to use heavy whipping cream. Either heavy cream or heavy whipping cream works.
- Over time, the pudding mixture may start to separate and the grahams will soften. The filling will still be delicious, but just less uniform.