A good chocolate eclair is one of life’s simple pleasures. The delicate pastry is filled with a sweet creamy filling flavored with vanilla and then topped with a chocolate glaze or drizzle. Whoever thought up the chocolate eclair is a hero in my book. If, like me, you’ve been obsessed with chocolate eclairs since childhood then this no-bake cake version of the beloved treat is a no brainer.
This recipe is a refrigerator cake, which means all you have to do is layer the ingredients and then let the fridge do the work for you. The filling in this case is made from vanilla pudding and frozen whipped topping. From experience I can say that white chocolate instant mousse, in the same aisle as the pudding mixes, also works really well here.
The pastry taste comes from graham crackers, which are layered with the filling. They absorb some of the moisture and flavor of the pudding for a cakey taste in every bite.
Then the whole thing is topped with ready-made chocolate frosting. The chocolate on top is the perfect finishing touch for this dessert.
The only caveat here is that, as with all refrigerator cakes, you’ll need to really let the cake set up in the fridge before digging in. It can be near impossible to wait for such a yummy treat, but if you attack it too early you’ll end up with a mess. It will still be tasty, but will lack the layers that the fully refrigerated version has. For best results this dessert should be refrigerated between 4 and 8 hours or more.
Nothing can replace a good bakery eclair, but this chocolate eclair refrigerator cake is hot on the heels of the classic pastry. And, it’s the easiest “baking” you’ll ever do!
Chocolate Eclair Refrigerator Cake
8h prep time
- 2 3.4-oz packages instant vanilla pudding
- 3 1/2 cups milk
- 1 8-oz container whipped frozen topping, thawed (or fresh whipped cream)
- 1 14-box graham crackers
- 1 16-oz can dark chocolate frosting
- In a large bowl whip milk with pudding mix until completely smooth. Fold in dessert topping or whipped cream.
- In a 9x13-inch baking or serving dish create a single layer of graham crackers in the bottom. Pour half the pudding over the top and spread pudding smooth and even with spoon or offset spatula.
- Top with another layer of graham crackers and then pour the rest of the pudding on top of that. Use a knife, rubber spatula, or offset spatula to smooth top pudding layer.
- Gently spread the frosting over the top of the pudding. Refrigerate for 4-8 hours (or overnight) before serving.
Recipe adapted from Culinary Hill.